Taking a Look at Wood Stoves and Wood Pellet Stoves
alternative heat sources
I love the smell of wood smoke on a cool and crisp evening and in my present neighbourhood I get to appreciate that distinctive odour on a regular basis. This has been a mild winter nonetheless I have been giving thought to alternative methods to heat our home.
Presently, both oil and electricity are used to keep us warm on those normally long and cold winter nights. Unfortunately the electric heat is only in the bathroom which was an addition, a most welcome addition, to the house. I say unfortunately because the cost of electricity is high and if the whole house was heated electrically, my bill would be more than I am willing to pay.
However, cost while a motivator is not the principle reason I am looking at home heating alternatives; there is the environmental imprint to consider.
A woodstove was the first consideration, primarily because of the smell, but as I looked further than this, wood became a less attractive option. Wood has an upside the wood stove will operate without an electric source so even in a blackout you have heat. This is desirable in a cold climate, where the indoor temperature drops fast, when the power stops flowing.
When thinking about wood burning, it is important to consider the source where did the wood come from, how as it transformed from a living tree to a log to be spliced and burnt?
Has the wood been properly treated so that it will burn as cleanly as possible?
The next alternative heating source we looked at was the wood pellet stove. Now with wood pelts there is no wood to chop and haul. Pellets are available at a store nearby and the hopper which feeds the pellet stove will load about 35 pounds or so depending upon the model selected. Last year here in New Brunswick there was a pellet shortage and people were scrambling to find fuel.
A new company and possible one or two others have set up shop so this may not be a problem, but a steady supply is an important consideration.
It is possible to buy a wood pellet stove which will burn corn, and pellets made from material other than wood, and the wood used often that which forestry companies do not otherwise use.
The wood pellet stove is dependent upon electricity to get started so that takes us back to being without heat if we lose electric power in a blackout.
This brings me back to what may well be the central point in this decision and that is how our need for electricity is met. We have begun looking at renewable sources, sun and wind, mostly but that is another hub.