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Heating With Wood

Vintage-Style Energy

Old Is New Again
The newer things become, the more they return to past things. And this has been true of heating with wood. From the first light of time, heating with wood was a natural survival technique for the need in which to stay warm and be comfortable in cold temperatures as well as a means with which to cook our food. The return to heating with wood is not a surprise at all. Until the early 1900’s most homes were heated with wood stoves and wood-burning fireplaces. Most meals were cooked on wood stoves and enjoyed by the fireplace.

Where Did All That Wood Come From?
With careful conservation methods, wood that was used for heating and cooking was never in short supply. It was grown and worked in heavily wooded areas or on designated tree farms. Much care was taken to insure that the wood stoves were properly venting fly ash so that fires were rare. Chimneys and flues received regular thorough cleaning by professional chimney sweeps.

In the larger cities, fireplaces and large open hearths would provide adequate heat from the wood, even in the large three-story Victorian homes. Wood for these large homes and businesses was brought in from different lumber yards. The lumbering process was so exacting that there was little in the way of any waste. Twigs, branches and all short pieces were used as fat wood in which to help a wood fire start to burn. Sawdust was also used in any number of ways: to patch holes in wood, as well as to line walkways and chicken coops. Whatever was left over, was always returned to the earth as mulch. Wood was carefully selected for heating purposes, as to not waste anything.

Vintage-Style Energy
Even though heating with wood may be a vintage-style energy source, it is successful as a means of energy. It does, however, require knowledge of the types of different woods that can be safely and cleanly burned. Hardwoods like oak, maple, beech and sycamore, as well as fruitwoods like apple, crabapple and cherry are some of the types of woods that make clean burning fuel for heating with wood. Among others, nut-woods like walnut, pecan, chestnut and almond also give off a divine fragrance while burning.

You should always choose hardwoods, fruitwoods or nut-woods that are aged. One good tip is to look for orchards that are in the process of removing dead woods. In most cases, the wood will be sold for firewood. Un-aged and green wood will retain sap, and therefore need to be dried before they can be used for heating with wood. Sappy woods will always create hazardous sparks and as a result burn faster.

Wood Stoves Today
Today’s wood stoves make heating with wood more efficient than those of the past. The venting systems for these wood stoves has been significantly upgraded to produce thorough efficient heating with wood. Aged woods for wood stoves are often sold in large lumberyards and hardware stores as well as by individual sellers of wood. This wood can usually be delivered to the home, for a fee. In most cases, these woods are already split and bundled. Wood is sold in stacks and cords for heating with woods in wood stoves. Cords of wood need to be protected from too much dampness or dry rot will occur fairly quickly.

Always be sure to stack your wood so that it is protected from ground moisture. Also, it’s a good idea to use a moisture-proof tarp to cover your wood pile or, use log holders and hoops.