Beech wood fires are bright and clear, If the logs are kept a year. Chestnut's only good, they say, If for long it's laid away. Birch and pine logs burn too fast, Blaze up bright and do not last. Elm wood burns like a church yard mold, Ev'n the very flames are cold. Poplar gives a bitter smoke, Fills your eyes and makes you choke. Apple wood will scent your room, With incense like perfume. Oak and maple, if dry and old, Keep away the winter cold. But ash wood wet and ash wood dry, A king shall warm his slippers by. Anonymous
|Why Heat with Wood?
Heating with wood is an American tradition. Yet woodburning in the 1990's bears little resemblance to the woodburning done from the dawn of man or even of wood burning done in the 1980's. Tremendous advances in technology have made the Jøtul stoves produced today one of the cleanest burning, most efficient, and longest burning heating appliances on the market. There are many reasons why one would chose to heat with wood: it's economical, it's environmentally friendly, it is a renewable resource, and it takes us back to a time when life seemed simpler and fuller. Lets take a few moments and explore each of these reasons.
Woodburnings' Social and Aesthetic Appeal
Since the dawn of man, humans have congregated around wood fires. The dancing of the flame in an infinite pattern, the sweet smell of burning wood, and the gentle radiant heat has always induced reflective contemplation and conversation. We are reminded of the pleasant memories of childhood and family. The woodstove has always been a focal point in homes.
Wood as a Renewable Resource
Wood is a near perfect fuel source in that each year it renews itself. Forest product companies have proven that by effective management and reforestation. It is as simple as "cut a tree..plant a tree.." The pruning, culling, and harvesting of overgrown forests not only provides fuel for woodstoves, it promotes the growth of healthy trees that absorb three times as much carbon dioxide as is released when wood burns.
Woodburning is Environmentally Friendly
We all have an obligation to prepare for the future by making informed energy decisions. Whether we put another log on the fire, order more fuel oil for the fire, or set the thermostat higher on the electric radiator, we must understand that the choice we make has an environmental impact on our lives beyond keeping us warm. It is important to our future that we consider all the consequences of the energy decisions we make.
One of the major factors we should consider is that of Renewable vs. Non-renewable sources of energy. Renewable sources of energy include wood, hydroelectric power, and solar. The Non-renewable sources of energy are the fossil fuels such as oil, coal, natural gas and electricity. Electricity is included as a Non-renewable energy source in that over 73% of electricity is produced from Non-Renewable fuels such as coal, oil and gas. The burning of fossil fuels produce high quantities of carbon dioxide gas that contribute to the "greenhouse effect". While the decay or combustion of "biomass" (primarily trees and other plants) also produce carbon dioxide, it has always been a part of a natural cycle. In that cycle the release of carbon dioxide gases is reabsorbed by the growing biomass. In the study "Power Surge: the Status and Near-Term Potential of Renewable Energy Technologies" they found that if biomass (woodburning) is used as a supplement to the fossil fuels, the atmospheric effect is essentially zero. In fact, they claim it may actually result in a slight improvement, a much better situation than if additional fossil fuels are burned.
While woodstoves of the past produced billowing clouds of smoke and particulate, the new EPA Phase Il stoves produce almost no smoke. The old conventional woodstoves emitted between 30 and 80 grams of particulate matter (smoke) per hour, while the new approved stoves have reduced emissions to between 3 to 6 grams per hour. That is a reduction of over 90% All Jøtul stoves meet and exceed the EPA Phase n standards and are among the cleanest burning stoves on the market! The EPA concludes that that control of the greenhouse effect could be achieved if more homes reduced their use of fossil fuels and relied more on wood and biomass for heat and energy sources.
Woodburning is Economical
When heating with wood, significant economic benefits are evident. Consider the comparisons in heating value. As a rule of thumb, a two-ton cord of hard wood yields about the same usable heat as 200 gallons of heating oil, a ton of hard coal, or about 4000 kilowatts of electricity. By comparing the cost of whichever fuel one uses with wood, you can figure the savings obtained by wood-burning. For example, 200 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil at $1.00/gallon costs $200.00. The same usable heat from wood would run $100 (1 cord of wood), a saving of $100! Of course, if you cut your own wood the savings can be even greater.
|The Right Wood Fuel
Buy or cut your wood six months to a year in advance and "season" it by stacking it under cover in a way that keeps the rain off and allows air to circulate easily through the pile. Seasoning reduces the moisture content in the wood, making it better for burning. It also makes wood lighter, so it's easier to carry.
Hardwoods, such as oak, maple, beech, ash, and hickory, make the best fuel. They burn more cleanly than softwoods such as fir or pine.
Burn only 100 percent wood. NEVER BURN: green, wet, painted, or treated wood; wood products that contain glue, binders or chemicals; trash or garbage; plastics; magazines, colored paper or gift wrap. These materials give off harmful chemicals, more smoke and pollution, and less heat. Do not burn coal in a wood stove.
|Starting and fuelling the
Use kindling to get the fire started. Large pieces of wood can be added after a bed of coals has formed. Leave the air controls open fully every time you add extra wood (for the first 20-30 minutes) to allow the wood to catch alight. You can expect some smoke every time that you add wood to the fire but this should not last. For complete burning you need a high temperature and enough air flow to allow the coals to glow brightly.
|Guidelines for Acceptable
The chimney may smoke for up to 30 minutes when first lit and up to 20 minutes on refueling. At other times there should be little or no smoke from a properly operated solid fuel heater.