Why Heat With Wood?

StoveThere are a lot of options for heating your home in the wintertime: oil, propane, electricity, et cetera.  And there’s always those old wool sweaters in the back of your closet, although I wouldn’t rely on them for a Vermont winter!  One option that many people choose is heating with wood, either in a wood furnace in the basement or a wood stove in a central location in your living area.  In recent years, heating with wood has grown in popularity in the US, after declining for decades.  Why is it so popular all of a sudden?  Why heat with wood at all?

“I like knowing I control my own heat source.”

Many people enjoy the sense of independence that comes with heating with wood.  Seeing all those neatly stacked cords of wood sitting in the yard instills a sense of comfort and confidence — not to mention pride at having split and stacked them all!  There’s no worry about relying on the oil company to deliver heating oil, and no worry about what to do if the electricity goes out.  You can always just throw another log on the fire!  There’s also no guessing at what your heating costs will be.  Oil and gas prices seem to ebb and flow from month to month, and you never know what surprises your bill might include.  Not the case with wood heating, where you either pay for all your wood at the beginning of the season or harvest it from your own property.

“I grew up splitting wood for the wood stove.”


There is a certain appeal to the tradition and sense of community that is inherent to wood burning.  Wood fuel was the sole source of heat for humans for hundreds of thousands of years, and gas, oil, and electric alternatives are a relatively modern developments.  Many people who are dedicated to wood heating love the satisfaction of having split and stacked all their own wood.  Some even consider it a hobby or leisure activity, and can chat about it with the neighbors and pass down their secrets to the younger generations.

“I got sick of spending so much on oil.”

The lower cost of wood is one important reason why so many people have switched to wood heat in the past few years.  Keep in mind that gas, oil, and wood prices vary greatly across the country, so it is impossible to say that this is the case for everyone everywhere.  For many of us looking forward to the bitter New England winters here in Vermont, though, it has become a more economical choice.  Calculate what the cost difference would be in your area, and you’ll likely find that wood could save you a lot of dough.

“I like to support the local forestry economy.”

Heating with wood is also a fantastic way to support your local forestry economy.  Most people get wood from local dealers who source the wood from nearby forests and deliver right to your house.  And if you have your own woodlot on your property that you use for wood, the money you save from not needing gas or oil likely goes back into the local economy as well.  It supports the notion of wood heat as a means of fostering community.  After all, every time you chat with the wood delivery guy, teach a grandchild how to swing a maul, or just curl up in front of the wood stove with a good book, you are part of a longstanding wood burning tradition that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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