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The Frugal Homemaker - Wood Furnace

Updated on January 3, 2014

Caddy Wood Furnace

Caddy Wood Furnace
Caddy Wood Furnace | Source

We heat our home with a Caddy Wood - Oil combination furnace. We also have a cook wood stove that we use as a supplementary heat source and for cooking. As I write this it's currently -19°C with a windchill of -25°C, mild compared to the last few days.

Our wood stove has been working around the clock since the beginning of November, and continues to amaze me as to it's efficiency. Years ago, before the wood furnace was installed, we relied on an oil furnace that just didn't do a great job when the temperatures dipped below -15°C. We used our Vermont Castings wood stove almost exclusively unless the weather dipped below the threshold where it affected our water pipes and froze the line. Having the wood furnace in the problematic space has solved this problem for the most part.

Weather Report


One of the main differences with the oil only furnace and the wood/oil combo is the constant steady heat we get from the wood/oil furnace. Our oil furnace kicked on, blasted some hot air then turned off and repeated this cycle as the thermostat dictated. The wood furnace is on 24/7 providing heat constantly even if the fan is not blowing, there is still heat being moved around without the fan.

Our oil provider said its not uncommon for folks to let the fan run all the time as there is constant heat due to the wood-stove like properties provided by the furnace. The wood side and oil side of the furnace have independent thermostats. You can set the oil side to kick in when a fire dies down or goes out when your not able to tend the fire.



Our home is more than 110 years old with its original windows. It's triple brick construction with probably more wood than drywall on the interior. Weatherproofing and winterizing is something we have been working on since we purchased our home 20 years ago. Until we accomplish what we hope for in winterizing our home to its potential, our wood furnace is helping to keep us warm and save on our annual heating costs. Acquiring wood for the season is a fraction of the cost of filling our tank two or three times.

During prolonged power outages like an ice storm or general bad weather that knocks the power out, having a back up source of heat saves us money in many ways. During the ice storm of 1997 we were able to stay in our home, heat the space well enough to remain comfortable with children under foot. I was able to make home cooked meals using up some of the food that would have spoiled otherwise. We didn't need to find a hotel or relocate, no need to board pets etc... As uncomfortable it is to go through a prolonged power loss, its manageable and preferable to stay home.

Heating Your Home

If you live in a cold climate, how do you heat your home?

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If you are in the market for a new furnace, make sure you take the time and research all your options, especially if you live in a cold climate. A heating system is a long term financial commitment regardless of how you'll be paying for it. Make sure you have the flexibility to meet the needs of your family and homestead.

The Frugal Homemaker a.k.a Grace


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