One of the commonalities among people who live in the boonies is that many of us have wood burning stoves as our only source of heat. I have to admit that there’s no heat that is quite like the heat you get from a good wood fire. It’s just so cozy!
That being said, there are some things to keep in mind about keeping your wood stove environmentally friendly as possible. Today, I’ll share some tips with you about how you can make sure that your stove is functioning as efficiently as it can. I hope that you’ll find these tips helpful. If you do, please take a minute and leave me a comment below this article after you finish reading it. I would really appreciate the feedback.
The main thing to keep in mind when you are burning wood as a source of heat, your stove is releasing smoke into the atmosphere. If you’ve ever seen a chimney that was billowing heavy black smoke, you’ve seen an example of what you’re trying to avoid. On the other side of the coin, the smoke from a wood stove that is functioning efficiently will often be quite difficult to see.
Start By Burning The Right Fuel
You might be scratching your head right now and wondering what I could possibly be talking about. If it’s a wood stove, you just burn wood in it, right? Well, thats kind of true but there’s more to it than that.
The first thing you need to know about choosing wood for your wood stove is to only select dry seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is generally described as wood that has been drying for at least a year. Specifically, wood that has been cut, split, and stored in a dry and well ventilated location for at least a year.
If you’ve ever heard the term “green wood”, this is referring to wood that is freshly cut and hasn’t had a chance for the moisture in the wood to evaporate. Green wood is difficult, if not impossible, to burn in a wood stove. Not only is it difficult to burn, if you are actually able to get it to burn, it will burn at a lower temperature which means heavy deposits of creosote will build up in your stove’s chimney.
Creosote is extremely flammable and one of the leading causes of chimney fires! Not only is creosote dangerous for your chimney, if the wood you are burning in your stove is producing a lot of creosote, you can be certain that it’s releasing a high level of pollution into the atmosphere.
As you know, there are many different species of wood available to burn. Not every species of wood produces ideal firewood. Typically, the best option is to stick to burning dry, seasoned hardwood like juniper, oak, or madrone. In our area, the hardwood of choice is juniper and it’s actually our favorite type of wood to burn. We really appreciate the fact that it burns hot, long, and clean.
Other Things To Keep In Mind About Burning Wood
In order for your fancy EPA certified wood stove to burn in the most efficient way possible, it’s really important that you maintain the proper temperatures in the firebox. I’m not suggesting that you over fire your wood stove as this is very dangerous. I’m suggesting that you burn wood and adjust the air flow to your stove’s firebox to achieve the optimal burning conditions.
Some people try to make their wood last longer by closing off the air flow so that they don’t have to feed the fire as much. While it’s true that doing this may make the wood burn slower, it will also result in lower combustion temperatures, soot covered glass, higher emissions, and more creosote accumulating in your chimney.
With our Englander wood stove, we know that it’s burning properly if the glass stays clear and the firebox isn’t full of dark smoke. If either of these conditions are present, we know that it’s time to open the air control and let more air into the firebox which will usually bring the temperatures up enough to burn the soot off of the glass and remove the smoke from the firebox.
There’s no reason that you have to feel guilty about heating your home with wood. It’s possible to burn wood in an efficient wood stove without compromising your desire to live a green lifestyle.
If you would like to read why we chose to heat our home with wood, feel free to take a minute and read my article called, Our New Efficient Wood Stove Has Finally Freed Us From The Clutches Of Our Old Electric Furnace!