Wood For Heating – Why A Wood Heater Is Better Than An Open Fire

Although wood heating is banned in many urban areas they are still allowed in most country properties

A lot of people think that an open fire gives a better ambiance than a wood heater . . . but I much prefer a woodheater

Here’s why:

  • A wood heater is much more efficient which means you will burn much less wood. As well as greenhouse gas savings that means less cost, or less effort gathering wood.
  • One of the problems of any heater that warms the room by burning is that it needs a source of fresh air to achieve combustion……..this means drafts. The efficiency of the wood heater means that less air is required, so less drafts. Remember the fresh air is cold air sucked into the house by the burning.
  • Control of a wood heater is very effective so you can quickly turn it up or down. This means in winter we usually kept the heater alight from June to the end of August which saves a lot of fire lighting.
  • A fully loaded wood stove if turned down can burn for over 8 hours, unlike an open fire which will need more fuel every couple of hours . Great if you are going to be out all day and want a warm home to come home to.
  • The efficiency and effectiveness of the combustion in a room heater means that removal of ash is much less frequent, typically every couple of weeks.
  • No smoke around the house……especially when trying to light the fire.
  • Much less ash dust floating around the house.

A well designed wood heater with a large window will also give you a good view of those flames anyway.

The following link is to a page on the efficiency of various wood heaters that are available in Australia: Home Heat 

More Heating thoughts and 24 pages of Check Lists in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’


Firewood Storage

If you are serious about wood fired heating you are going to have to think about storage.

How Long Do You Need To Store?

Firewood should be seasoned, until it is thoroughly dried out.

For freshly cut wood that typically means for at least 2 years.

Wood gathered from the forest floor still needs at least a years storage.

Unseasoned wood  doesn’t burn as efficiently as seasoned wood.  The difference is noticeable, and some of the problems are:

  • The volatile components won’t ignite such as creosote.
  • The volatiles are deposited as a black mess (which is highly flammable once it dries) on the inside of the flue.
  • There will be too much smoke.
  • There will lot of steam going up the flue, Which carries a lot of the heat with it.

Storage Locations

As Enough Wood for a Year is around 10 cubic m you need to be able to store around twice that amount.

This can be split between 3 places:

  1. An open storage for the first years storage. (The timber will still dry even though it is being rained on)
  2. A roofed storage for the second years storage. (Make sure this, and the first years storage is well away from the house)
  3. A day or two storage next to the door.(I just use a wheelbarrow)

 What Not to Do

One of the things I sometimes see in those trendy magazines is firewood storage next to the fire. A bad idea in my opinion there is going to be a lot of spiders and other insects in the firewood.

See why Wood Heaters are Better than Open Fires