Wood burning stoves are sometimes unjustly criticized as inefficient or harmful to the environment; the truth is, this is only the case if the wood is not burned correctly. With a modern EPA certified stove and proper burning practices, a wood burning stove can be very efficient.
In the past, wood burning stoves polluted the air with copious amounts of smoke. However, the Environmental Protection Agency now requires that wood burning stoves meet very strict efficiency requirements, ensuring that the stoves will combust the wood more completely and produce considerably less smoke if operated correctly.
Wood burned properly should produce almost no smoke. Always use dry, split firewood that has been aged for at least six months, preferably hardwoods. Dry wood will generate a hot, clean-burning fire. Never burn household garbage or treated wood, as these can release toxic chemicals when burned. Start your fire with newspaper and dry kindling, and do not let it smolder. A smoldering fire will not burn as efficiently as a hot fire.
To keep your wood burning stove running smoothly, it needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained. Always clean out the ashes, and have a certified professional inspect your chimney once a year to check for any potential safety hazards or factors that may be causing your stove to burn less efficiently.
If you are using your wood burning stove as a supplement to your home’s heating systems, there are a few other steps you can take to increase efficiency and save some money on heating. When choosing your stove, select a model that is the right size to heat your room and home. A stove that is too large will smolder. You can also reduce your overall heating requirements by making sure that your home is properly insulated.