ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Heating with Wood

Updated on January 27, 2013

The first year in our 1873 Michigan farmhouse we spent $1700 for Propane gas to heat the house. We live in Southern Michigan so the winters are not bitterly cold but the heating season extends from late October to early April, with a few extra weeks thrown in for unusual weather conditions. When the furnace gave out the second year I decided to purchase a Wood/Oil burning furnace. That was twenty years ago and I am still heating with wood but it is now called “Bio-Mass” a renewable resource. It is now trendy.

I live on ten acres which is 70% wooded and nearly all the wood I have needed over the past 20 years has been collected from my land thanks to Dutch Elm disease and the Emerald Ash Borer. The Ash borer has destroyed many large Ash trees on my property. I have at least 5 years of fire wood yet to cut, and will be left with mostly Maples and Oaks when the Ash are gone. My father heated with wood and I helped cut and haul it as a teenager. The nice thing about wood heat is that it heats twice. As they say, it heats your body when you cut, split and haul it and also when you burn it. It is hard work, especially with only a chainsaw and a pickup in my one man operation.

Wood heat is a nice warm, consistent heat. Even when the fan is not running, convection feeds the heat into the house so the temperature changes between furnace cycles are not as noticeable. If you can cut your own wood, it is inexpensive. If you have to purchase wood it can still be less costly than other fuels depending on prices. There is work involved because the fuel has to be fed manually, so there is a health benefit to the exercise you will get…or you could call it an inconvenience. I choose the first. The indoor furnace can sometimes release a slight smoky smell into the house, but in our rustic living environment, that is more of a scent than a smell.


The furnace I purchased was a Charmaster Chalet model which is an indoor forced air type. My house is about 1700 sq foot and it does the job nicely. I think if I had to do it over again I would probably purchase an outdoor boiler wood stove. The main advantage to that type of furnace is that you don’t have to bring wood into the house and you can avoid the mess and a little extra work in hauling. The outdoor boiler type of furnace usually uses a heat exchanger located in the plenum of a forced air furnace. The ideal would be to have the boiler feed radiators to avoid the noise and dust created by the forced air furnace.

Chalet Specifications

Dimensions: Length 48", height 52", width 28". Wood/gas combination width 54".
Weight: Wood/Controls and Wood/Oil - 740 pounds. Wood/Gas - 950 pounds.
Firebox: Steel Plate Front & Sides - 3/16", Rear - 1/4" Overall size: 24" long, 23" wide, 32" high, Firebrick lined.
Furnace Door Size: 11" x 13" extra heavy cast iron door with positive lock.
Cabinet: 20 gauge steel - fully insulated. Baked almond enamel finish.
Blower: 1/2 H.P. blower with optional 3/4 - 4 speed rotary switch included. Direct Drive - Sealed ball bearings.
Domestic Hot Water Coil: Standard
Chimney: 8" inside diameter Class A. Wood/Gas also requires 4" inside diameter Class B chimney. Chimney sold separately.
Oil Burner: Wayne 140,000 BTU Input standard. Safety feature - Cadmium Cell Flame Detector monitors oil burner flame and operation.
Air Conditioning: Acceptable
Automatic Thermostatically Controlled Draft: For wood burning. You select the desired temperature with a standard thermostat mounted in your home.

My Charmaster Chalet burns wood with a fuel oil backup. The wood and oil share the same combustion chamber and chimney. The wood part of the furnace has it’s own thermostat which opens and closes a damper door. I usually keep the oil thermostat set to about 60 and the wood to about 75 day/70 night. On a cold day I may need to fill the furnace 3 times, morning, mid-day and night just before bed. If there is a bed of hot coals the wood will start up on its own, if not I sometimes turn on the oil burner to get it started. After I replaced all the antique windows in my house I now burn about 20 face cords of wood per season and about $500 worth of fuel oil, depending on how lazy I am.

The Charmaster Chalet weighs about 750 lbs. I installed it myself with the help of one friend. Getting it into the basement was a chore. The installation was not otherwise difficult, but I would recommend having someone skilled in sheet metal work fit it into your existing duct work. It has worked reliably for 20 years now. I clean my chimney at least once a year and have only had to replace the solder connection that holds the emergency over heat dump in place. Every other year I replace the fuel oil filter and nozzle on the oil burner. I once replaced the electrodes. I suspect that someday I will be too old to cut and haul my own wood, but as long as I can stihl run my chain saw, I’ll keep this furnace.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • jimmar profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for reading. My furnace works well but I would probably opt for a boiler if I did it again.

    • Lateral3 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub jimmar.

      The experience of the seasoned practitioner using a well tried installation is always worth study for realistic expectations. I used to use propane; never again.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)