Heating with wood is one of the most traditional ways to heat your home in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Heating with wood is one of the most traditional ways to heat your home in Newfoundland and Labrador. It can take more effort, but having control over your own energy source can protect you from power interruptions and rising energy costs. If you heat your home with wood, you should do it as efficiently as possible.
Maximizing the Efficiency of Wood Stoves
- Woodstove Efficiency - An efficient stove allows you to get more heat with less wood, saving you work, time and money. Using a stove that is in compliance with the Canadian Standards Association standard covering wood stoves and fireplaces (B415), or a model that is certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will ensure your stove burns wood efficiently.
- System Design - The chimney is a critical component of a wood heating system. It is the engine that drives the system by producing the pressure difference, or draft, that draws in combustion air and expels exhaust outdoors. To work properly, a chimney must be installed up through the warm space of a house, rather than through a wall and up the outside. The venting system (the flue pipe and chimney) should be as straight possible.
- Preparing Firewood - As much as half the weight of fresh cut logs is water, so dry your wood completely before using it in your wood stove. Logs should be at least 3 inches shorter than the firebox, but it is advisable to keep a variety of lengths and split sizes on hand to build and maintain a good fire.
- Operate Stove Effectively - Start by stacking small pieces of wood on and behind the coal bed. For quick, hot fires, stack the wood in a criss-cross pattern. For longer burning fires in mild weather, use a tight "east to west" (i.e. sideways) stack, as they burn slower with low heat. For longer burning fires in cold weather, stack the wood "north-south" (i.e. end to end) for slow-burning, high-heat fires. Additionally, for efficiency and safety, regularly clean out the ash.
- Consult with a WETT Certified Professional - By consulting with a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) professional, homeowners can be assured their wood heating system operates efficiently and is designed and installed according to manufacturer specifications. In addition, to protect against the release of carbon monoxide, a dangerous, odorless gas that can result when fossil fuels burn incompletely, homeowners should have their heating system checked by professional technicians each year.
Wood Pellet Stoves
One trend in wood heating in recent years is the development of wood pellet stoves. These stoves burn small pellets that are manufactured from sawdust or small wood chips, which can be purchased from local suppliers or in many local hardware stores. The advantage of wood pellet stoves is they still deliver that same "wood heat" that many houses have come to prefer, while saving you time and work. In addition, they are more efficient than traditional wood stoves, meaning that, from the same amount of material, wood pellets can generate more heat and create less ash.