Anybody burn wood for heat? Advice please.

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WV
I use an outdoor boiler so am onside about creosote. If you use well seasoned wood, it gives of little creosote. This is usually burned off when you fire is hot. You probably should run a brush thru the chimney every year. Better still get a SS liner in your chimney.
 

Al

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Elizabethtown, Pa
I burned wood for 25+ years as supplementary heat. Its dirty, brings bugs into the house, builds up creosote, taking out ashes. It sure feels good to get the fire cranking so the room is 80 degrees in the dead of winter. Never again. Been burning propane for 25+ years.
 
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Nowthen, MN
Many times the wood may not be as "seasoned" as you think. This can have a big impact on the quality of your fire. Get yourself a moisture meter and test the moisture content of your wood. It should be less than 20%. Split some pieces of the wood you're burning in half and be sure to test the moisture on the freshly split face. Hardwoods like oak usually need to dry for 2 years or longer after being split before being ready to burn.
 
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In the shop
Bullwinkle: I get the comment from eljefino on burning what's on ground but I'd be leery of the creosote it can create. The oak at brothers place; most has been stacked and dried for 6+ years. the rock oak I hand split we stacked and will wait for next fall or the one after to burn
 

dlundblad

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Indiana
Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
When I'm home I'll get a fire going and after it burns down to coals I load two logs at a time in a cross cross fashion. When they burn down to coals but are still in a recognizable shape, I throw on another two logs. I find throwing on only one log causes it to burn out too easily. My stove is an airtight unit with a connection from outside air. I don't dampen it down. My temp will be 500 F when the stove has lots of wood in it burning and cruises along at around 400 F all day. I don't mind keeping the temp high as it lowers the chance of creosote build up. So basically it has two logs in the stove most of the time. I find I need to stoke it every couple of hours and will put in three logs if I leave the house. All this is predicated on it being colder than 15 F. If it's above that the stove just over-heats the house. I use ponderosa pine and fir. smile
I tried the cross-cross method this evening after removing most of the coals. 3x3 or so. With it choked down as much as I normally do, it's burning at about 11:00 on the gauge for now. Normally I just throw everything in longways and parallel.
 
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dlundblad

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Originally Posted by KD0AXS
Many times the wood may not be as "seasoned" as you think. This can have a big impact on the quality of your fire. Get yourself a moisture meter and test the moisture content of your wood. It should be less than 20%. Split some pieces of the wood you're burning in half and be sure to test the moisture on the freshly split face. Hardwoods like oak usually need to dry for 2 years or longer after being split before being ready to burn.
I'll have to give that a try. Ive been burning a lot of elm lately that's been dead for some time because of the Dutch elm disease. I wonder how much moisture something like this would contain. I do have some softer wood. I think it's poplar, but I only burn that once I have a hot established fire. Pretty sure it's still a little moist too.
 
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Ca
Wood heat for 17 years. Bought the chimney brush and poles, cleaned the flu annually. No problems.
 
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Fort Erie, ON
Originally Posted by dlundblad
I bought a stovepipe thermometer to make sure the fire is hot enough not to create creosote, but I'm having a hard time maintaining that temperature long term say 3 hours or so after filling when there's nothing but hot coals. When it gets to the creosote level on the thermometer after burning a few hours, would this create creosote or is that more of an issue when the fire is initially warming up?
I have an outdoor gasifying high-efficiency furnace and have been heating my house with it for several years. I also have a indoor high-efficiency fireplace that needs to be refueled within 2-3 hours. See Outdoor Wood Furnaces and Indoor Wood Fireplaces. Flames are basically burning smoke and smoke is volatile hydrocarbon fumes that have boiled out of wood. Creosote is therefore condensed smoke so, any time your fire is smouldering, you will have creosote forming on relatively cool surfaces. Once your wood has burned down to a coal bed (essentially pure carbon), there are no longer any volatiles to boil off so you should have minimal creosote build-up even if the stove-pipe temperature has dropped. Keep your firebox hot and supplied with enough air to fully consume the smoke. To reduce drafts in your house, make sure you have a combustion air supply from outside.
 
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Ohio
My old house had an airtight lopi and it was awesome. When we bought a new house I put in a pellet stove and have never looked back. $4 a day for pellets keeps the house at 72 and I put in an ecobee with a remote sensor that kicks the hvac on maybe 2-3 minutes an hour to keep the rooms away from the stove at 68. I'm in the country with fields all around and not a lot of windbreak, between pellets and propane it may cost around $150 a month to heat 1850 square feet. I burned wood for 18 yrs and had a professional sweep the chimney every year, I watched a friends house burn down who ignored his 1950's chimney. Keep a hot fire and sweep it once a year to be safe.
 
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Not here
Dlundblad You absolutely need to get a fire going and burn that beeeeech hot!!! Don't keep burning cold fires! Burn it and burn it hot! If you don't get it hot you are building creosote. Bad! Plan!
 

dlundblad

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Indiana
Originally Posted by bullwinkle
Originally Posted by 53' Stude
Originally Posted by Cujet
Of interest, the BTU content of wood varies significantly by type, but not by weight. Seasoned hardwood is considerably heavier than Sitka Spruce by size, but by weight they have similar BTU output when burned.
I would never ever burn spruce, pine or hemlock or ANY softwood. Only seasoned oak, cherry rock maple, locust or hickory
Ash is awesome to burn-if you can get it dry enough, any decent wood from a deciduous tree will burn and create at least some heat. I've been burning dried tulip/yellow poplar this winter, it's been fine, but ash lasts longer & generates more heat. With the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic in these parts, there is so much standing dead & recently cut down white ash available for free that I would likely be able to use it for years. Still have a dropped ash at my Mom's with a 4 foot diameter trunk waiting for me to cut up & split when the tulip is gone. As above, NO PINE, spruce, or other evergreens!
I thought it was cutting a dead ash, but it turned out to be poplar I think. The bark was yellow enough I thought for sure if was. Nope. Big, fat and light. I burn a few pieces when the fire is hot, but that's about it. It's pretty wet yet. Cutting wood is something I've really come to enjoy doing. Just wish I was a bit more pro active when the weather was nice. So far, it's been a mild winter so I'm counting it as a lesson learned. A year ago at this time I would have went through my whole stash by now as well as paid $600 for propane. Lol. We've probably only used 250 gallons if that so far this year.
 
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6,490
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New England
Pull the stove pipe off and make sure the stove outlet and and inlet into chimney are clear and not full of debris. Also when was last time chimney was cleaned or inspected. A blockage/restriction can make your fire run cooler.
 
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n.y.
I've been heating my house with wood since I was a kid I finally stopped when I recently retired, I cut my own trees split stacked etc , My favorite firewood is ash , it has a great btu output with a cut it today burn it tomorrow capability, its easy to cut and split burns very clean , my stove had a fire in it from October/November till April/May. Get a book you can take into the woods to help identify the various tree species, Bring 2 saws with you as you will eventually get the 1 stuck in the tree while cutting I advise to stay away from dead trees, the btu output is usually very low and it can be infested with bugs, Hickory is great but very dirty, leading to dulling your chains very quickly, If you do a search for arborist , the information found will be very valuable , enjoy your new hobby, I miss it https://www.arboristsite.com/community/
 
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