If you have been thinking about buying a woodstove and wondering, “Is a woodstove right for me?” or “Which stove should I get?” you have come to the right place. We will give you some things to think about before you make a purchase, and you should walk away with a list of questions to ask yourself. After answering these questions, it will be much easier to figure out if a wood stove is right for you and which stove will meet your needs.
There are many things to think about when looking to purchase a wood stove. We will start with the basics: What is your main reason for looking to purchase a woodstove? Are you looking to get off the grid? Do you want an alternative source of heat, something you can use daily for cooking and baking or something pretty to look at? Yes, there are many other reasons, but start by making a list of why YOU want a woodstove.
Then you need to think about “Where am I going to put the woodstove when I get it?” That will depend on why you are buying the woodstove. If it is for daily cooking, where in the kitchen is it going? Are you just building a house and can fit it in anywhere? Are you remodeling the kitchen? If you already have a home that you are not remodeling, what kind of space do you have? Is there enough clearance between the wall and the stove? Will the stove stick out too far from the wall and be in a walkway? Will it be easy to restock the stove when cooking, if needed? Where will the wood be stored in relation to the stove? For the cook in the house, will the kitchen pattern still flow with the location picked out for the stove? If there is no room in the kitchen, and you want to use it for cooking, how far away from the kitchen is it going to be?
If you are going to be using the woodstove for heating the house, is there a natural airflow pattern in the house that would help you in determining a good location for the woodstove? Do you have an open concept home? Will you be heating the whole house or just a room or two? Will the stove be centrally located? Will it be in the basement or on the main floor? What kind of clearance do you have in the area?
No matter where you decide to put the woodstove, you need to make sure you have ample space for the flue pipe to exit the house in that spot. Will it go through the wall or out through the roof? Check to see what size flue pipe is needed for the stove you are looking at. The chimney will need cleaning, so who is going to clean the chimney?
Now you know why you want a woodstove and where you are going to put it, so let’s look at some other things. A woodstove burns wood. How much wood I will need? For that answer, we need to, again, look at why you are buying the woodstove. The more you use the woodstove, the more wood you will burn. It takes more to cook, bake, and heat the house, than it does to just heat the house. The colder the climate outside, the longer the winter, the more wood you will need. The less insulated your house is the more wood you will burn. The larger the house, the more wood it might use.
Properly seasoned wood needs to sit for at least a year without getting wet. Where are you going to store the wood outside? Do you already have a place to store the wood or will you need to build a shed to put the wood in? How close is this structure or how close will it be to the house? Will it be easy to get to when the weather is bad (lots of snow and ice)? Who will be the one going out to get the wood? Who is going to split, chop, and stack the wood? Where are you going to get the wood? A sawmill? Your own lot? How much is the wood going to cost? Have you priced wood in your area?
When you bring the wood up to the house, where is it going? Do you have a spot inside next to or nearby the stove? Is it going to sit on the porch? Will you have to go outside every time you need wood or do you have a bucket or carrier to put the wood in that will come inside?
Do you have a dollar amount you were looking to stay under? Woodstoves can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Look at the spec sheet for each stove that tells you info like how large of an area it can heat, how much BTUs it puts out, the size of the unit, flue pipe size, clearance distance, estimated burn times, and other capabilities.
Cooking on or in a woodstove takes a little bit of learning, just as many things do. Would the cook in the house be able to adapt to an oven that does not have a constant temperature?
If you have kids in the house, have you thought about how to make sure they are safe from a hot stove, especially if you are using it 24/7 for heat. It will always be hot.
Is there a warranty that comes with the stove? Do they have a customer service number in case I have questions or issues with my stove?
Did you check with your insurance company to see how a woodstove will fit into the cost of your homeowners insurance? Some stoves may raise rates more than others.
Not all stoves are created equal. They all have different strengths (pros) & weaknesses (cons). You need to make a list and figure out why you want a wood stove, what qualities you want in a woodstove, what is your main purposed for buying one, and then find one that fits the reasons you have listed.
– Wrangler Jane.