Quest for a Homestead: Heat Sources

Will it be a wood-burning stove?

Nice wood stove and firewood

There are so many options when it comes to heating a house.  But most people have houses, not one small circular room with a loft.  So, since I’ve never been in a home like the one we’re intending to build, the question becomes: what’s the right amount of heat for us, and the right tool to make it possible?

The romantic life of having a wood stove or fireplace is alluring, thanks to series like Little House on the Prairie. Remember that episode when Ma gets her much-desired Christmas gift, a stove, and Laura sold her own horse to buy it?  But the trouble with wood stoves and fireplaces are that they get hot, and we live in a place that doesn’t lean towards being cold – it’s hot, warm or reasonable most of the year, and last winter never came.

We joked that our house is so small you could heat it with a few candles.  It’s a very cozy design but still very open.  Several people warned that the loft will get very hot in summer since all the hot air will get stuck by the bed. That might be a problem, perhaps mitigated with a ceiling fan or the rooftop reading nook we’re considering building.

The best idea we’ve encountered is a recommendation to install a Japanese-style wall unit. Whichever choice we make, it needs to be as sustainable and efficient as possible.  More on this to come!

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A friend jokingly told me that heating with wood costs $50,000 – that’s $30k for the 4×4 clubcab pickup, $10k for the big trailer, then a cool grand for the chainsaw and related accessories, and $7k reserves for the hospital bill from the inevitable injuries you’ll sustain, oh and about $2,000 for a woodstove… Seriously, though. We heated our little 850 sq ft place (which wasn’t well insulated or particularly well-sealed) with about 2 ricks a winter, using a woodstove (it was actually a coal stove – worked fine) with a blower assembly – the blower was the key to… Read more »

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