Of all the ways to live a greener lifestyle, you can’t go wrong with getting a wood burning pellet stove. While other methods to ‘green’ your life involve sacrifices, switching from HVAC to a wood stove only brings benefits. The main difference between using an HVAC system and a wood burning stove is that you have to jump through hoops to make your HVAC system eco-friendly. Wood burning stoves, including traditional and pellet stoves, require no special attention to be eco-friendly. While HVAC systems run on electricity fueled by coal, pellet stoves burn compressed sawdust for fuel. Of course, traditional wood stoves run on split firewood. Here is an article on trying to reduce your carbon footprint.
Wood burning stoves are effortlessly green
When using an HVAC system for heat, you have to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees (or lower) to prevent overuse. That’s not everyone’s ideal temperature. In fact, many people need to set their thermostat to 72+ degrees to properly heat their home or office. That’s not very ‘green’ so they choose to suffer in the cold.
With a wood burning stove, all you need to do is start a fire and use certain strategies to control the heat and strength of the fire. You can even use a heat-powered fan to blow the warm air through the room.
Burning wood produces superior heat
You can’t compare HVAC heat to heat generated from burning wood. It feels different, smells different, and even the heat quality is different. An HVAC system is fine if you just need to take a shower in a warm bathroom, but if you want to feel good from head to toe, you need to burn some wood.
Burning wood produces three types of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and electromagnetic radiation. Burning wood radiates heat in the infrared spectrum, which happens to be the type of heat that sticks to your clothes and penetrates your skin. In other words, infrared heat heats your body directly. When heat sticks to your clothes and penetrates your skin, you’ll get warm faster and stay warm longer.
On the other hand, HVAC systems don’t produce infrared heat and only heat the space around your body. This is why it takes longer to warm up when you start off in a cold room even with the heater going. The heater has to heat the entire room before you’ll feel warm.
The heat from burning wood can improve your mood
Heat is one of the best forms of therapy around. Heat relieves stress, anxiety, and can also elevate your mood. To de-stress, some people drink cups of warm water, while others stand under a hot shower or take a long, hot bath. Even just holding a hot beverage can make you friendlier.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a study that found a correlation between warmth and friendliness. The study asked participants to hold either a hot or iced coffee belonging to someone else before being introduced to that person. Participants who held a hot coffee judged the target person as having a ‘warmer’ personality.
A pellet stove makes it easier to burn wood
When you’re running a pellet stove, all you need to do is buy bags of pellets. You don’t have to split, stack, season, or haul heavy loads of wood. You also don’t need to worry about being able to identify wood visually because you can just read the label to know what kind of wood pellets you’re buying.
With a traditional wood burning stove, you’ll need to buy already split wood or rounds and then split those rounds yourself. When buying wood, you’ll need to know what a cord of wood looks like when it’s delivered and dumped so you don’t get cheated. You’ll also need to stack wood properly to allow it to season and choose the type of wood you burn carefully.
Hardwoods are typically better than softwoods, but some hardwoods—like alder and maple—create a significant amount of ash. On the flip side, cedar and fir are two of the most popular softwoods because they burn really well.
If you’re going to make the switch to a wood burning stove, a pellet stove is the least labor-intensive option. Your fuel will come in a bag and all you’ll need to do is keep the hopper full, press a button to ignite the fire, and relax and enjoy the warmth.