Woodburning Tip 1 (the right burning material): Only use natural, dry wood (<20% residual moisture, depending on the type of wood, it has been correctly stored for one to two years) or pellets or rather wood briquettes. If the wood is moist, not only the heating value is significantly less, but also the damaging impact on your fireplace and the panel insert as a result of dangerous emissions or smoke as well as soot can be tremendous. Paper, packaging material, and other waste products should not be burned.
Woodburning Tip 2 (correct use): Because every (open) fireplace model is designed individually, please observe the manufacturer’s recommendations in the user’s instructions of your fireplace. Generally: To assure that the heat-up phase is as short as possible, use small pieces of kindling and a commercial lighting fluid. When doing so, make sure there is sufficient air supply (for example by applying the lever for the air inlet). Once the basic fire bed has been developed to a sufficient extent, larger pieces of wood can be added. When doing so, make sure that the furnace is not filled too much.
Woodburning Tip 3 (Regular maintenance): A qualified specialist should perform a sound inspection of the system at least once before the heating period.
Calculating the Costs and Benefits.
In many cases, heating with wood will save you money, but this is not true for everyone. If you live in a forested rural area and can do some of the processing of the wood yourself, you can save some money — especially if you already have a truck or trailer and are handy with a chain saw and splitting maul. But if you have to buy split firewood and have it delivered to your suburban home, you probably won’t save much.
To get a rough idea of the cost savings, you can try various online tools, such as a fuel cost calculator. However, no calculator can give you a completely accurate figure for how much you will save. Most can’t figure in supplementary heating, in which only a portion of the conventional fuel cost is displaced. Nor can they take account of the time you would devote to all the tasks involved in wood heating.
After all, if you paid yourself a minimum wage for all the cutting, splitting, stacking, fire stoking, ash removal, and so on, the savings would quickly evaporate. So even if your main motivation is to save money, also consider if the other benefits appeal to you—the ones that seem to sustain the most successful users of wood energy. If you enjoy physical work and a routine, and if you would like to be more self-reliant and less dependent on fossil fuels then wood heating might be for you.
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GUIDE TO THE DIFFERENT BURNING QUALITIES OF WOOD
Type of Wood, Ease of Starting, Coaling Qualities, Sparks,
Apple Poor Excellent Few
Ash Fair Good Few
Beech Poor Good Few
Birch Good Excellent Moderate
Cherry Poor Excellent Few
Cedar Excellent Poor Many
Elm fair Good Very Few
Hemlock Good Low Many
Hickory Fair Excellent Moderate
Locust Poor Excellent Very Few
Maple Poor Excellent Few
Oak Poor Excellent Few
Pine Excellent Poor Moderate The Main Audubon Society recently charted the heat produced by a wood fire. They noted that the heat produced by a wood fire varies greatly with the kind of wood burned. Beech is considered the best wood for a fire. A cord of well-seasoned Beech will produce as much heat as 169 gallons of fuel oil; Sugar Maple and Red Oak produce as much heat as 166 gallons of fuel oil; followed by White Ash 154; American Elm 130; White Birch 124; and White Pine 94.