A wood-burning stove (also known as a wood stove) is a heating appliance made from iron or steel capable of burning wood fuel. Unlike a standard fireplace, a wood stove is typically contained entirely within the living space rather than inset in a wall.







Wood stoves come in many different sizes, each suited for another purpose.

Small stoves are suitable in single rooms, seasonal cottages, or tiny, energy-efficient homes. These models can also be used for zone heating in large houses where supplemental heating is needed.

Medium-size stoves are appropriate for tiny heating houses or mid-size homes that are intended to be energy-efficient and as inexpensive as possible.

Large stoves are used in larger or older homes that leak air and are located in colder climate zones.

To ensure the safe and efficient use of wood-burning stoves, inspectors can pass along the following tips to their clients:


  • Burn coal. Coal burns significantly hotter than wood, posing a fire hazard.
  • Burn materials that will emit toxic chemicals, such as wood that has been pressure-treated or painted, colored paper, gift wrapping, plastic, plywood, particleboard, or questionable wood from the furniture.
  • Burn wet wood. Generally speaking, it takes six months for cut, stored timber to dry out and be ready for use in wood-burning stoves.
  • Burn combustible liquids like kerosene, gasoline, alcohol, or lighter fluid.
  • Let small children play near a lit wood-burning stove. Unlike standard fireplaces, whose sides are primarily inaccessible, all sides of wood stoves are exposed and capable of burning flesh or clothing.
  • Let the fire burn while the fire screen or door is open.


  • use a grate to hold the logs so that they remain secured in the stove and the air can circulate adequately around them to keep the fire burning hot;
  • keep the damper open while the furnace is lit;
  • dispose of ashes outdoors in a water-filled, metal container;
  • check smoke alarms to make sure they are working correctly; and
  • periodically remove the stovepipe between the stove and the chimney so that it can be inspected for creosote. Homeowners may want to hire a professional to perform this service.

How to Reduce your Electricity Bills During Winter Months

If you are living in a cold area with severe winters, you must be annoyed with the high electricity bills incurred on account of keeping the home warm and comfortable. You get your heating unit serviced in time and placed heavy curtains in all the rooms. But still you find that your electricity bills remain steep during these 4-5 months. Here are some simple and very effective ways to keep your heating bill manageable during winter months.

Take advantage of whatever natural light you are getting

It is a fact that days are short and sunny weather conditions are rare during winter months. However, you must make the most of bright sunshine to keep your home warm as much as possible. Keep windows allowing natural sunlight inside open during day time and shut them after sunset. Trap the warmth of sun’s rays to increase the temperature inside the home.

Look at the insulation of your attic

When you send hot air inside your house, it tends to rise and go up. Much of the energy used to keep your home warm gets wasted as this hot air travels into the attic where it is of no use. Proper insulation of the attic is essential to make sure that it does not allow hot air to leak out. Make sure that you attic is properly sealed and padded up to prevent any leakage of hot air.

Adjustment of thermostat can help in saving electricity

You do not need heat when you are working or moving out of your home. Lower the thermostat to a range of 60-65 degrees for at least 8 hours in a day to help in lowering your electricity bills. Also, do not waste electricity on heating the rooms or areas that are rarely used during winter months. You can seal the guest room and the store room to stop heat from entering them. This will help you in controlling your electricity bills during winter season.

Use warm clothing and indulge in physical activities

You can make yourself warm without eating up a lot of electricity. You use warm and heavy clothing whenever you step out of your home but get rid of these clothes once you are back in your home. Keep wearing warm clothing items and indulge in exercises or workouts to naturally keep your body warm and comfortable. This way you will not remain dependent upon your heating unit to stay warm.

Perhaps the most frequent heating and cooling system maintenance problem home inspectors see is dirty furnace filters.  It’s easy to understand why people neglect this important maintenance task.  The system appears to work regardless of the condition of the filter.  So if it isn’t broken, why fix it?  Fix it because dirty filters cost you money by:

  • Making the system work longer to cool and heat your home,
  • Allowing dust and other contaminants into the ducts and furnace,
  • Contaminating parts and restricting air flow within the system,
  • Reducing the system’s service life.

In homes where the furnace is in the attic or crawlspace, the filter is often in the main return duct, which is usually located in a central hallway.  In homes where the furnace is in an accessible location such as the garage or a basement, the filter is usually located in the furnace cabinet.  If you have more than one system, you should have at least as many filters as you have systems.  Some homes have return ducts and filters in additional locations, such as the owner’s bedroom.

Here are some general rules about selecting and changing heating and cooling system filters.

  • Change disposable filters and clean washable filters at least once per month on the same day (so you won’t forget).
  • Locate and change every filter.
  • Use the correct size filters for your system (the size is printed on the filter).
  • Avoid using a filter with a high MERV rating (greater than about 8)  unless your system is designed to use a high MERV filter (most aren’t) because high MERV filters can restrict air flow.
  • Avoid installing washable filters when they are wet.
  • Look at your filter while the system is running; if it looks as if it is being pulled into the return duct or furnace then it is either too dirty or too restrictive or you may need more return ducts.
  • Buy filters in quantity so you will have them ready when you need them (they’re usually less expensive that way).

The Bottom Line

Changing your heating and cooling system filters when they don’t appear dirty may seem like a waste of money.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Changing the inexpensive disposable filters or cleaning a washable filter regularly will save you money and help the environment as well.

Information courtesy of the HomeOwnersNetwork.com