Our Newly Installed Wood Stove

Up until a few weeks ago, we’ve been completely dependent upon electricity to heat our home. We knew we wanted something we could rely on when the power goes out, plus we really want to reduce our electricity bill. So, my husband got an old wood stove from his grandpa’s abandoned house, and installed it into our existing fireplace.

At first I was hesitant about putting it in since our fireplace is a pre-fab, and not made of real bricks. But with the stove pipe going up into the chimney, I can’t see why it would be any more dangerous than having an actual fire going in the fireplace. The back end of the stove sits in the fireplace opening, and the front half sticks out. It actually worked out perfectly as the front feet rest nicely on the tile in front of the fireplace.

The first few times we used it were complete failures. Sure, we got a fire going. But there was absolutely NO heat coming off of that thing. I mean you could touch it and it would not be hot. You could stand directly in front of it and feel no heat whatsoever. We were so bummed out.

Fortunately, Jerry figured out our problem and a few solutions after a couple of days:

Dry, seasoned wood. What we’d started off trying to burn was freshly cut, “unseasoned” as they call it. It wasn’t dry enough to burn hot, so essentially we wasted a ton of wood those first days.

The lesson- chop a bunch of wood a year before you need it. Store it somewhere where it can be kept dry and off the ground. Jerry has since been hard at work chopping up any and all fallen trees he can get his hands on. Hopefully by next winter we’ll have a good stack of seasoned wood ready for us. Until then, we’ve been blessed with dry wood others had sitting around and didn’t mind letting us bring home.

Fans. Jerry figured out that if he sets a box fan on the floor blowing directly across the stove, and another box fan pointing down the hall toward the kid’s bedrooms, along with keeping the ceiling fan on, the hot air is nicely circulated and the majority of the house benefits from the little stove.

Block off rooms. We try to keep the kid’s rooms, office, and master bedroom closed during the day. We also hung a heavy blanket over the doorway of the drafty laundry room. I need to get a tension rod or something to hang a permanent curtain there. We could also use some weather stripping around the back door.

Once we figured out these tricks, the stove heated beautifully. It’s been so nice having it! Even with freezing temperatures outside, I’ve been able to turn the electric heat pump off completely and the house is still a comfortable 71*, as long as I keep the fire fed.

Eventually, we’d like to get a bigger stove. The bedrooms on the extreme ends of the house are still pretty chilly at night. But for now, it’s nice to know that we can heat the house with nothing but good ol’ fashioned wood! And the best part… other than the cost of a can of black stove paint, it was FREE!

Kendra
About Kendra 1117 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

32 Comments

  1. The EPA is now targeting wood burning stoves and fireplaces because of the environmental impact. Bogus but they have to have something to do……..R

  2. I am truly impressed. It is a lovely stove and after a bit of trial and error it seems to be working perfectly. Good for you guys!! I’ve put the word out that I am looking for a couple pot belly stoves or vintage wood kitchen stoves. We plan on storing them until we can install them in buildings we plan to build in the future.

  3. check up on the installation part. is there a plate on the back of the stove with the manufacturer on it? they have clearances for the front, back and sides. You might have to add some to the front. The fireplace doors can be taken off too. Ann from kY

  4. Kendra..will you please post more pictures of the stove….maybe some from the sides and the top? Jerry and I are thinking about doing the same thing in our house, and are looking at woodstoves! We’ve seen one at Tractor Supply, that is kind of like this one, only it has feet!

  5. Yup on making sure all the safety stuff is in place. We had to re-line our chimney (not cheap for the piping!) because the sucky old fireplace insert (might be similar to the one in the back of your photo) we had didn’t burn near as hot or long as our current, mostly awesome wood stove insert. Luckily hubby does that kind of installation thing job-wise, so he knows all the hoops and such to jump through so our homeowner’s insurance was a breeze. 😀 We also have fire extinguishers – one by each wood stove, and one up in each bedroom. Costco had coupons one year.

    Amen on the seasoned firewood. Many folks I know (ourselves included way back when!) started off the first goofy season with damp wood. A quick learning curve, eh? 😀

  6. Our home insurance sent someone to look at our wood stove. We had to move it out from the wall, buy a heat shield for the back and raise it from the floor. Another thing to keep the chimney clean is to buy the chimney cleaning logs. You are suppose to burn one about once a month. It burns out the creosote to prevent chimney fires. Chimney fires are very dangerous and can burn your house to the ground So that is an important thing to do. Some fire Dept will check stoves too. Also do you have a carbon monoxide dectector? That can be another problem with wood stoves. Amd pmce a year clean out the chimney or stove pipes Barbara

  7. Kendra,
    Check with your home owners insurance to make sure you meet their qualifications on this self installation. Yes, it is the pits to have to jump through the correct hoops (installation guidelines) but you would not want your insurance to deny payment in case of a fire.

    We have State Farm and I contacted my agent and she sent two or three pages that explain what constitutes safe installation and what never to do, etc. There was a form to fill out and turn it.

    My stove had a rear heat shield that allowed it to be installed closer BUT the bottom values posted on the stove made it too hot for a regular hearth. A hearth pad from the local chimney shop did not provide enough protection so I had to special order. There are formulas that deal with R values, etc. If you can do math, you can figure it out easy enough. Also there has to be so many inches of clearance in front of your stove when the door is open (the floor has to be protected).

    Make sure you have an adequate fire extinguisher and smoke/carbon monoxide detector too!

    Make sure you have met all criteria as your life depends on it AND your mortgage/home owners insurance depends on it as well.

    Now all that being said…I share your joy in this new adventure and it is a very prudent thing which you are doing for your famiy!
    Blessings,
    Shari

  8. So fun! We have a wood/coal stove sitting on our back deck rubbed down with oil and covered with a tarp. We can’t use it here.

    We’re looking at a house this week though that we would use it in. (Assuming the zoning office has good news for us regarding chickens, we’ll be going to see it on Saturday. We’ll see how it goes though… it’s been on the market a year now. Either it’s got something wrong with it, or God’s been saving it for us!) If we go for it, it’ll just be a matter of getting it installed from nothing… no fireplace there now. Then we won’t need to use the oil heat at all… and it will save some electricity from using the blower.

    Enjoy yours!!! That’s way warmer than we keep the house now. 🙂

  9. Your new wood stove looks great. We installed a woodstove two years ago and both my husband and I cannot express who much we LOVE it. The heat from a woodstove seems so much warmer plus the heat seems to warm everything like the walls and furniture. I hope you end up liking your stove as much as we do.

  10. Congrats on your stove! We love ours. It’s such a good feeling to know you can stay warm and cook some food in the event of a power outage. Plus it’s really helped our utility bill! If you come up with any ideas for snagging free wood I’d love to hear about them. All the wood we’ve used so far has been free thanks to a friend who was clearing some trees, but we’re running low.

  11. Here’s a tip- if you need a tension rod for anything very heavy (heavier than a sheet), use a shower curtain rod. They really hold up much better and are less likely to bend if a kid pulls on the curtain.

  12. Wonderful! Our wood stove has been our very best investment. It saves us hundreds every season … and everyone heads here in a power outage because they know we still have heat.

    So happy for you

  13. I wanted to offer this..

    Maybe you have already done it but it is very helpful to take down the trim around windows and doors and spray expanding foam into the cracks, let it dry, trim off any excess and then put the trim and moulding back, it will really help keep the drafts down, also we use that shrink wrap plastic on the windows during the winter..is it pretty..NO..but it does help keep the drafts down which means a lower electric bill for us.

    I keep the heat on 68, and we wear socks, sweats and extra clothes to keep warm. And at night, personally I don’t think there is anything better that a cool bedroom when your snuggled down into your bed covered with flannel sheets and a good quilt!!

    Dana

  14. My husband sells wood as a side business. Be sure to do a little research on the “type” of wood you are burning, also. Some wood will burn slower and hotter than others. Wood such as hedge might need to be mixed with another wood. Try to always use seasoned wood. Green wood will not burn well and causes buildup.

    The stove looks great. What a wonderful addition.

  15. We heat with a woodstove, and try to rely on our oil burner only for backup. There is a rocker switch on the furnace itself that we can set to run the fan only. I will run the fan only sometimes when it is really cold outside to even out the heat throughout the house. Just something to check into…

    Enjoy your new woodstove! There is nothing like having the family gathered around the warmth, each doing our own “thing”, but still together.

  16. Yay for you, Kendra!! We have been regularly burning wood (in our Pioneer Princess that I told you about in an earlier post) this winter and just basically turning on our furnace first thing in the morning each day to warm up the kids’ bedrooms and “even out” the heat in the house. We just got our gas bill for Dec.(which had colder temps than normal) this year. Normally, our gas bill (which includes both our hot water and heating costs)for a month that cold would have been about $200, but this time, due to mostly heating with the wood, the total bill was only $87!

    And in response to a couple of the other comments about pine–pine is good to chop very small and use for kindling to get the fire started, but definitely not what you want to burn as your bigger pieces of wood once you get the fire going. It burns too quickly and produces too much creosote to burn as your big logs. Also, Kendra–glad you learned about burning well-seasoned wood. Less-seasoned wood produces much more creosote in addition to not making enough heat, like you mentioned. And get a good chimney brush. You’ll want to check/clean your chimney every couple of months if you’re burning regularly–you don’t want to have a chimney fire from creosote buildup. Even if you’re burning well-seasoned wood, you will eventually get some creosote buildup that needs to be removed.

    Good luck!!

  17. Wow! You’re house is hot! I get complaints from my family if I set the thermostat over 66*. LOL Even that is pushing it some days. I guess we’ve adjusted to the cooler temps in IN finally.

    The wood stove seems really nice. Enjoy!

  18. You will love your wood burning stove. We installed ours in 2009. Six years after we lived in our home. We have to use propane to heat our home normally and it was so costly. Now that we have our stove we hardly ever turn on the heater. When the stove gets hot enough it gets our back bedrooms warm too. We have ceiling fans that circulate the air. We have a large stove but a small house. Wood burning stoves are the best!

  19. I’^e always been told to be careful about burning pine at all. It has a higher sap ratio and tends to burn hotter and pop more – hence, more of a fire hazard.

    We had to take our fireplace out, we li^e in an old trailer, and the floors were not holding the weight. 🙁 But we got it for free – and only had to install it onto my Dad’s property.

    My sister does heat her house with a wood burning sto^e. And her husband will not take our pines at all.

  20. I love our wood stove!we got a new one because they had a big sale at a store here called Tractor Supply. So we purchased it and now we will get money back in our taxes this year because of the wood stove being qualified for heating effeciantly. I love the thing! I love the smell in our home, fire coming from our chimney and the whole family unloading wood and stacking it in the basement in big piles to dry out it’s a fun family project and oh so cheap compared to oil!
    It’s such a warm even heat too Isn’t it? I remember with our furnace and heating with oil we would have cold spots where you would be chilly but not now … my goodness there have been nights that I have roasted because it was so hott in here! Good luck with yours !
    I smell our wood burning now! oh the memories!! 🙂

  21. In our neck of the woods, (California) the forestry will let you buy a permit to cut the dead pine for $10.00 a cord…just curious, what does a cord of wood sell for in your neck of the woods…?

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