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Wood burning stoves for city homes?


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I am curious to know if anyone who lives in the city has converted their homes from gas heat to a wood burning stove type heat. It's to late for this year, but for next year I am throwing around the idea of installing one in my house. My house is 950 square feet.

 

If anyone has done this I am curious if the price of wood is cheaper (monthly or yearly) than regular gas heat. If we do this it would be to save a bit on our gas bills.

 

Anyone's experiences would be great to hear,, good and bad.

 

 

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Depending where you live, the wood will probably be less expensive. You will need to also look at your "payback" time Cost of the stove and chimney, plus installation).

 

Wood stoves are nice, however they are a good amount of work. You also have the fact that in the spring and fall you will have several weeks when you will need SOME heat, but it is not cold enough to run the stove (40 - 45 degrees outside).

 

You can not regulate the temperature of a wood stove the way you can with a regular furnace. With a temperature 30 degrees (or lower) outside, I can usually keep house, with the heat generated from the wood stove, down to about 73 - 75 degrees.

 

The other things you need to look at are storing (stacking) of several cord of wood, disposal of the ashes AND WILL THE CITY/TOWN ALLOW IT (air pollution).

 

As a backup heat source and/or as a supplement to your regular heat, I feel it is an excellent idea.

 

FWIW - My last house I used a wood stove in the living room as the primary heat source. The oil furnace was primarily for hot water and during the spring and fall when it was too warm to run the stove. I went from 1,400 gallons of oil for a year to 350 gallons a year and used 4 cord of wood to heat a 1200 square foot ranch style house.

 

 

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When oil was low, we paid 1000-1200 per year for oil. Last year, when oil was high, we paid $2200.

 

Our woodstove cost us $5000 in August.

 

So far this year we have spent $700 on wood and have burned about 1/3 of it in our storm this month.

 

Doing ok I'd say, smile

 

Ted

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Well, here they run about the same. Wood has been pretty pricey this season - $250-300 a cord (not kidding) It's been in the 20's all this week, and I know we've gone through a ton of wood. If you hit up Craigslist/Freecycle, you can sometimes get a good bit of wood for free in the off season - folks moving & getting rid of their woodpile, trees coming down, etc.

 

Just be 100% sure you can have the fireplace. A lot of areas in the cities and suburbs, it's a no-go. frown

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Something else to check into is how a wood stove may impact your homeowners insurance. Depending on the insurance company, some "frown" on it as a risk, and may increase your monthly premium, or, not cover damage if you encounter problems such as a chimney fire etc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My wife and I moved into our old house in April 2007 (we bought a foreclosure). It had a fairly new efficient forced air furnace...the only problem was that the house hadn't had a remodel since about 1920 or so (literally still had gas fixtures). There was literally no insulation in the attic (and we're in MN) and none in the walls. We ended up buying a wood pellet stove and installed it on the main level (of 3 levels). We heated the entire place for about $700 in pellets last year. Now, we're stuck because the price of pellets more than doubled between last year and this year. Now we're burning gas again because that's cheaper. I plan on putting in a regular wood burner in the basement next year (2010). The price to actually buy cords of wood in the city (here at least in St. Paul) is extremely expensive. I've found it anywhere from $250-350+ per cord (4x4x8). However, we have an unusable garage that we're going to stack wood in and then only use the woodstove for emergencies. My brother has a few acres with tons of trees that he wants taken down so we've agreed that we'll take the trees down together, split the wood, and stack it in my garage here. My insurance guy (American Family) will not raise the cost of our premium a penny with any wood-burning appliance. I just had to send him pictures to show that it was actually installed correctly with the proper clearances and it had to be UL listed, etc. He has been great to work with. Overall, I think you should weigh the option vs. how will you get the wood, how will you store it, and how much will it cost (to buy the wood if you have no trees to cut yourself). As a backup, there's nothing better (at least if it doesn't run on electricity with fans,etc). I still remember my mom firing up the wood burner when the power went out and dad was away driving truck.

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Check your zoning and city codes. Some places will not allow wood stoves, some will only allow certain stoves and some will not allow "new" stoves (grandfathered in homes with wood stoves but no new owners of stoves). The cost of wood depends on your area. Check craig's list because lot of folk advertise fire wood in CL and you can get a feel for the price.

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