As winter approaches, you might be looking to find an alternative heat source. For many homeowners, the answer is a wood stove. But are they worth it?
Yes! Wood stoves have many advantages, which we’ll outline in detail below. We’ll also share the fundamentals of wood stoves, including how they work and how to best operate them. Then, we’ll walk through some pros and cons so you can get a clear picture of what you can expect as a future wood-burning stove owner.
What is a Wood Stove?
A wood stove is a traditional, self-contained heating choice that offers warmth, ambiance, and even cost savings on your energy bill. Many designs and sizes of stoves exist, but how they work is the same. They use firewood as the primary fuel source to create a steady, radiant heat through wood combustion.
Wood stoves are fortified with a solid cast iron or steel firebox lined with firebrick. They require venting, which is specific to the location of the stove in your home. Some wood stoves come standard with a blower to move the air, others have it as an option. Some wood stoves — like that of the Quadra-Fire® brand — have additional bells and whistles like a four-point burn system and advanced energy technology to maximize its effectiveness.
What are the Pros and Cons of Owning a Wood Stove?
Wood Stove Pros
1. Adds Value
A wood stove can add value to a home. “Studies have shown that fireplaces, in general, are a selling point for a home, while wood stoves may help to increase house prices by up to 5%,” says Fireplace Universe. So, wood stoves are a good investment if you’re looking to increase your home’s resale value.
2. No Electricity Required
Believe it or not, wood stoves don’t need electricity! So, if you want to heat or brighten a space without an electrical hookup, wood stoves are your answer. This comes in handy, especially if the power goes out!
3. Heat Efficiently
Modern-day, EPA-certified wood stoves are efficient. “Efficiency refers to the ability for the wood stove to not only be able to extract the most amount of heat from every piece of wood, but to also be able to transfer that heat out into the room,” says FireplaceUniverse.com. FireplaceUniverse.com also notes that “manufacturers are having to meet more stringent regulations regarding emissions and so the main way to be able to achieve this is by making their stoves more efficient.”
4. Cost Efficiency
“Home heating costs continue to rise,” says Forbes contributors Deane Biermeier and Samantha Allen. Gas prices have increased by over $1 per year between 2021 and 2022, while the cost of electricity (per kilowatt) has risen 4.3% between 2021 and 2022. “Wood-burning stoves are filling a need to reduce those costs. The basic idea of burning wood for heat is old. However, that idea, along with modern advancements in wood stove efficiency, has resulted in lower energy bills for those that have them installed in their homes.”
EPA-certified wood stoves in a 2,000-square-foot space use between three to six cords of wood in a single season, depending on usage, climate, and heating requirements. This year, the average wood cord cost is $296, which brings the total to $888 — $1,776 for heating the space. And, if you’re using wood cut from your backyard, the fuel is free.
Alternatively, heating a home or space using electric baseboards averages $2,485 and $3,143 for a propane furnace (80%) according to the Energy Savings Group. On top of the price comparisons, switching to a wood stove as a heat source entitles you to a federal tax credit, which includes the cost of purchasing and installing select Quadra-Fire wood stoves. In 2022, wood stove owners will receive a 26% federal tax credit on qualifying wood-burning products, including unit install and labor. In 2023, the federal tax credit is 30%, capped at $2,000 per year.
Want more information? Learn more about the value of wood stoves and how they can help lower your overall energy bill.
5. Long Lifespan
If you’re wondering what the lifespan of a wood-burning stove is, the answer is 10 to 20 years, depending on proper maintenance, operation, and stove make and model. While the cheapest stoves may last only two to three heating seasons, high-quality wood stoves can last decades.
Wood Stove Cons
1. Requires Regular Upkeep
Wood-burning stoves require regular maintenance to optimize their use. In fact, a clean stove is a happy stove. Weekly, monthly, and annual stove maintenance is vital to preserving your stove’s beauty and function. Upkeep includes cleaning the venting, removing soot buildup in the stove, and making sure all stove parts are in working condition.
If this doesn’t sound like something you can commit to, you may want to think about a pellet or gas stove.
2. Takes Attention to Detail to Install
Make sure to pay close attention to the manual or guidance of the authorized dealer to install the correct pipe for your home. Learn more about the installation process in our user manual.
3. Requires Education
Wood-burning stoves are cherished by fire lovers for many reasons. A primary reason is the interactivity involved with a wood fire. This includes how to build a fire from scratch, learning when to add more fuel so the fire doesn’t go out, and choosing what type of wood to burn. Here’s a helpful resource for more guidance.
What are the Costs Associated with Wood Stoves?
Before cutting out space in your ceiling for a wood stove chimney, you should get an idea of the all-in cost. Here are some financial specifics:
- Installation: On average, it costs around $2,000 for wood stove installation, according to Angi.com. The total cost includes venting, non-combustible hearth protection, and installation labor.
- Fuel: Cordwood or logs for a wood-burning stove cost $175 to $580 per cord, on average. Most homeowners spend $700 to $2,300 per heating season on cordwood for a wood stove.
- Maintenance: The national average of a yearly wood-stove inspection is between $100 and $500.
How to Choose a Wood Stove
You might wonder, “Are there different types of wood stoves? The short answer is “yes.” There are many options when it comes to wood stoves. You should consider:
- The stove size as it relates to the space you want to heat, if the space you’re heating is prone to heat loss, and the climate you live in.
- The stove material; your options are cast iron or steel.
- How long the stove will burn a load of wood (make sure it will give you an overnight burn so you don’t have to wake up to add more wood)
- Additional features that make the stove easier to operate
- The brand you’re buying. You want to make sure you’re purchasing a stove from a reputable company. Look for reviews, customer testimonials, and ask around to validate that the wood stove brand you’re interested in is a good one.
Where Can You Purchase Wood Stoves?
Wood stoves are a beautiful addition to any home and have many benefits for the right type of owner. In review, make sure you weigh the pros and cons involved in buying and operating a wood stove and how to choose the best stove.
If you’re ready to take the next step, we are here for you. Quadra-Fire has many options for homeowners. Browse our gallery to gather ideas or connect with your local Quadra-Fire dealer to help you weigh your many options to find the perfect wood stove.