There is really nothing like curling up in front of a roaring woodstove on a cold winter night. Since the advent of furnaces, heat pumps, and other modern heat sources, woodstoves have somewhat fallen by the wayside and are considered by some to be inconvenient. However, there are several distinct advantages to this sort of heat which shouldn’t be overlooked.
First, a woodstove is a very direct, warm source of warmth. Gas and electric furnaces do release hot air as well, but by the time the air reaches the duct work and comes into your home, it feels cool to the touch because of the distance it had to travel. Furnaces will of course keep you warm during the winter, but they don’t provide the sense of heat that a well stocked woodstove does. By using a woodstove, you also have a convenient place to warm up quickly after coming in from the cold, and you can move away from the heat when you’re getting a little too warm. Other modern heat sources don’t have this advantage.
Heat from a woodstove can also be a very inexpensive proposition. Our family, for instance, is still working our way through wood gathered when a tropical storm took a wrong turn and came blowing through Central Virginia. Not accustomed in the slightest to such winds, we lost a few trees on our property. After investing in a good chainsaw an axe, we’ve been able to provide our own wood for the stove for several years. True, it can be a fair amount of work to chop, split, and stack firewood, but doing so gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and not having to pay for gas or electric heat during the winter certainly makes it worthwhile.
Another great advantage of this heat source is that we don’t have to worry if the power goes out. The greatest concern of a lot of homeowners when they lose power in winter is having the pipes freeze and split: there is a risk if the house temperature drops below 50 degrees. If we lose power, we merely crank up the woodstove. And while we’re enjoying the heat, I usually put some soup on the stove for dinner. Having a hot meal when you’re in the dark can help boost spirits (and is kind of romantic by candlelight!). Cooking on a woodstove is a lost art, but there are many books that can show you how it’s done. Maximizing the energy from the stove can help reduce electricity costs even more since you are cooking on a surface which is already hot, rather than turning on another.
While slightly more work than simply switching on your furnace each winter, a woodstove can provide homeowners with an authentic, comforting source of heat during a long cold season. Not only is the heat comfortable and soothing, but having a woodstove can also be a cheap and fun way to produce your own heat even in less than ideal situations.