Skip to main content

My Wood Stove: Why I Need and Love It

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

Chopping wood is part of the fun in having a wood stove. It builds great muscles.

Chopping wood is part of the fun in having a wood stove. It builds great muscles.

Why You Should Get a Wood Stove

"Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening..."

But you're nice, warm and cozy, even if the weather outside is frightful.

That's because you have a wood stove—a hearth. It really is like a heart . . . for so many reasons.

Why should you consider getting a wood stove for your home?

They have been around a long time—at least 250 years. They may not be new, but they are tried-and-true.

1. Keep Your Electric Bill Down

Wood stoves can keep your electric bill down in the wintertime. If you're into saving money, then you'll want to invest in a wood stove.

Even in the winter, my electric bill is low; it was $54.00 for the month of November. That's because I rely on the wood stove for a primary source of heat. I have a furnace as a back-up, but it hardly runs—just when the wood stove isn't going. The electric stove and dryer are big energy hogs, so taking advantage of the wood stove allows me to be less dependent on electricity and more independent in general from having to depend on oil companies for my home heating.

2. Release Stress and Get Some Exercise

Even though the wood stove is an inexpensive way to heat, it still involves a fair amount of labor to get all the wood chopped. Thus, I might not be spending a lot of money on heating, I'm making up for it in labor. But that's not really a negative.

In fact, it's a great positive. When I have to chop wood, I feel like the quintessential Mountain Mama. I know that I'm getting great exercise. Plus, I get the added benefit of the endorphins from all that exertion. Still, the stress-release after a long day of work is stupendous. I wield the Go-Devil with all my might—take that, you piece of deadwood! Even though it takes some commitment to chop the wood, the payoff is worth it—at least to me.

I live on a few acres, so it's easy for me to find and chop wood. I go out and locate a dead tree (especially ones that have already fallen over) and cut it into pieces. From there, I split the wood into cords.

The fact that I am able to clear the land of dead trees is another great perk to having a wood stove. But if you don't have acreage, there's still plenty you can do to secure wood for the winter. If you don't mind a particularly labor-intensive few days, you can get a permit from the Forest Service and head into the national forest to find your wood.

You can also purchase cut wood from local people. It's usually about $150-$200 for a pick-up truckload. Just be sure it's seasoned (it's seasoned when it's at least 2 years old for softwoods and 3-4 years old for hardwoods).

I'm taking out my stress on this piece of wood.

I'm taking out my stress on this piece of wood.

3. Recycle Newspaper and Old Bills

When starting a fire in the wood stove, I often use old newspaper along with small sticks as kindling. Sometimes I use old pine cones to start a fire (especially ones that I had used as potpourri)—the aroma is heavenly.

Thus, having a wood stove is a "green" prospect: by reusing old newspaper, we reduce the space it would have taken up at the landfill and I'm not cutting down any oxygen-generating trees. I am careful to just use regular newspaper and not the glossy inserts. Sometimes I will use old bills with confidential information on them.

Again, I steer clear of any glossy paper or envelopes with plastic windows—just a basic piece of paper will do. If I don't use all our old papers, they go out to the garden in the spring to use at the bottom of the garden beds to help choke out weeds. Envelopes with plastic windows go into the recycling bin; the recycling center takes those with no problem.

4. Make Tea...and Dinner!

The benefits of a wood stove don't stop there. Once the fire is going, I like to put a tea kettle on top so that I have hot water available anytime. Between the wood stove and the water for tea, I don't get cold that much. Wood stoves provide other culinary benefits, too.

My particular stove wasn't designed as a cook-top, but I still use it for some cooking. Anything that I cook on the electric stove, in fact, is a candidate for cooking on the wood stove. It does take some time to get used to the variations in cooking temperatures and making adjustments to cooking times, but it's well worth it.

I'll also use it to heat up bread for dinner. It works great for reheating items. I just put them in a ceramic dish and let the dish sit on top of the stove until it's warm. In addition, the room where the stove is located gets exceptionally warm. It's a great spot if you like to make your own bread and need a warm place for it to rise.

Don't put the bread on the stove while it's rising, though—it just needs to sit somewhere in the warm room to encourage the yeast to rise. This helps to make incredible bread! Lastly, I love to simmer apple cider, orange rinds (which are in season in late fall/early winter), cloves and cinnamon sticks in a glass pan. This concoction keeps the house smelling great and is one of my favorite aspects of winter: the scent of cinnamon and spice reminds me of the holidays.

I probably should save this piece of newspaper for gift wrap.  But I decided to "reuse" it anyway in the wood stove.  Notice the little orb in the camera view.

I probably should save this piece of newspaper for gift wrap. But I decided to "reuse" it anyway in the wood stove. Notice the little orb in the camera view.

5. Do Laundry

Still, the benefits do not stop there. Without a wood stove, many people have to resort to using their clothes-dryers during the winter months, even if they use a clothesline outside during the summer.

I still hang clothes out to dry on nice winter days and then bring them inside to finish on a drying rack. It is also in the same room as the wood stove. The clothes stay fresh and faintly reminiscent of a warm, cozy fire. Another added benefit to drying clothes inside is that they add a little bit of humidity to the air.

The stove can dry out the air, but clothes help restore just of bit of moisture to help skin stay softer in the winter months. In addition, if you put a shirt or pants on the stove for about 30 seconds, and then put them on, the heat from the clothes warm your whole body. Keep an eye on your garments, however.

You don't want to leave the clothes on the stove or put anything on the stove with plastic components because they will start to "cook." In fact, you don't want to leave the fire or anything else on or near the stove unattended.

6. Feel the Love

The wood stove naturally attracts humans and animals alike to its glowing warmth. Frequently, our dog and cats sit on the chairs in the room, leaving no place for humans to sit! (Yes, I let my animals on the furniture...bad me and spoiled animals.)

My excuse is that I have recycled furniture, so I don't really mind if there's a little fur on them. They lounge in there for hours without moving a paw.

The house is starting to smell really yummy.  On the right is my apple cider / orange peel / cinnamon / clove potpourri and on the left is dinner.

The house is starting to smell really yummy. On the right is my apple cider / orange peel / cinnamon / clove potpourri and on the left is dinner.

Live Without a Wood Stove

I have no idea what I did before I had a wood stove. It's become such an integral part of my life. I simply cannot live without it now. If I went back to electric heating, my bill would skyrocket.

If I had to use my electric stove and electric dryer all the time, I would be an energy hog. Furthermore, I love how the wood stove prompts everyone to gather around the is as if it helps make a house a home.

My animals love being near the wood stove.  It's such a family-oriented affair.

My animals love being near the wood stove. It's such a family-oriented affair.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun


Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on July 17, 2012:

snigdha.s - wow! Cool! I love using my wood stove in the winter. Somehow it really takes the edge off the cold. I don't THAT many people who use wood stoves, but around where I live, a lot more people do than in other parts of the USA, to say nothing of around the world. We are fortunate in that we have plenty of dead trees on our land - just from natural causes like age - and we always seem to have plenty of wood to cut. I definitely am not in the habit of cutting down live trees. Yeah, we humans definitely have become dependent on electricity and other means necessary to cook food. Our electricity goes out occasionally and it's nice to know we can still cook and just 'put another log on the fire'. :) It IS a fun way to de-stress, too. Hehe.

Snigdha Shahi from India,mumbai on July 17, 2012:

This is a beautiful Hub. Agree with you on the advantages of using woodstove. As a kid I enjoyed visiting my grandmother during my vacation. We have wood stove and the food cooked on wood is simply delicious. Today we hardly find people using wood stove. People have cut down trees and the land is on the verge on becoming barren. We have become dependant on LPG and induction cookers for our food. The taste has also disappeared from our food.

Nice way of destressing . You Hub brought back some beautiful memories of childhood. Voted up and shared.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 16, 2012:

old albion - thank you so much for your kind words and comments. :) I am so touched that you find my writing interesting. I definitely stayed warm this winter with my trusty wood stove. :)

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on March 16, 2012:

Great and interesting hub. Your enthusiasm shines through. All your hubs are interesting. Thank you!

Best Wishes.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 11, 2012:

FordeAhern - hey there! Thanks for reading! The warmth is unparalleled when it comes to those cold winter temps. This last winter when it got down into the teens, I was always nice and warm, cooking and warming potpourri. Thanks for the votes and stay safe! :) Keep cell phones away from the stove. :D

FordeAhern from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland on March 11, 2012:

we got a wood stove in last year and it is just great. The warmth of it is so reassuring isn't it? another great hub thank you. voted up and interesting. I love your pictures also.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on February 20, 2012:

relawshe - thanks for stopping by and commenting. If I can find more factual data on the energy efficiency of the stove versus the other options, I'll come back and update this. Great idea.

Rachel L from Seattle, WA on February 19, 2012:

Great, informative hub! I would've liked to hear more about the energy efficiency of a wood burning stove versus other types of heat, like gas, electric, or pellet stoves. But thanks for this!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on February 11, 2012:

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck? Hehehe. Alocsin, it all depends on where you live, but I'd say half a cord to a cord (a half a cord being a pick-up load). This method works well for us because we have a bunch of acreage and an unlimited supply of wood. If you don't have access to so much wood, and you don't have a chainsaw to go cut your own, buying it can get cost-prohibitive. Of course, that's ONLY heating with wood. I also have a furnace that uses heating oil. As I write this comment, it's 18 degrees outside and the wood stove is keeping the house warm at about 70 degrees and the furnace has not had to kick on (I keep it set at 62 degrees). Hopefully answered that okay. Thanks, alocsin. :)

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 11, 2012:

That's great that it keeps your electric bill down, but how much is the wood needed to feed the stove for a month? Voting this Up and Interesting.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 17, 2012:

EyesStraightAhead - Thank you for stopping by! I had an interesting time shooting the camera on a timer and getting the pictures to look right. Hehe. I definitely love it, though. :)

Shell Vera from Connecticut, USA on January 17, 2012:

Nice hub! I like the pictures and information you use. The advantages you provide are very nice and persuasive. I also like that you provided other hubs to gain more information on the topic. Great job!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 17, 2012:

sen.sus23 - Thank you. I feel all *warm* and fuzzy. :D I'm also happy to report that my electric bill for the month of December was $56.63 - the wood stove works to keep that electric bill down!

Sushmita from Kolkata, India on January 17, 2012:

cclitgirl- A very warm Hub indeed! And I could almost smell the waft of the cloves and burning wood in the air. Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 16, 2012:

ripplemaker - Thank you so much for stopping by and providing that link. If you might have difficulty finding wood, there are stove "alternatives" - there are pellet stoves, where you use corn pellets and another kind that uses sawdust pellets...or something like that. It's pretty economical, too. :)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on January 15, 2012:

This is very interesting for me. Where i live, nobody seems to be using wood stove. I also believe we would have difficulty looking for wood. I enjoyed reading your hub and the benefits of a wood stove.

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Do follow this link and you will see:

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 12, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by, RedElf! I need to go chop some wood, but I'm addicted to hubbing. Eeek! :D

RedElf from Canada on January 12, 2012:

What a comprehensive (and super) article. My folks had a wood stove to augment the furnace, and many homes I've lived in had fireplaces - you either use them or fill in the hole in your house :D - and chopping firewood is great exercise.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 23, 2011:

I'm glad you're interested, Om. Thanks for stopping by.

Om Paramapoonya on December 23, 2011:

Nice! I've never used a wood stove in my life, and you got me very interested. I like its retro look and all the benefits you mentioned. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 20, 2011:

You're right, Will. And I love how it allows you to be more self-sustaining. Thanks for stopping by.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 20, 2011:

I wouldn't live in a cold region without a wood stove. Almost all furnaces require some sort of electricity to run, so a power outage means no heat. A wood stove will keep you warm no matter what.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 15, 2011:

Thanks for the vote, Movie Master. I know what you mean about 'envious visitors'. We had some friends over that are now saving up to get one.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on December 15, 2011:

We have a wood stove, it's not a big one but it throws out a terrific amount of heat, our visitors are always envious, it makes the home so warm and cosy, I would definitely recommend having one!

Great hub and voted up.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 15, 2011:

Haha, rasta1. It's pretty cool. Last night I made pumpkin soup and rolls on the wood stove. What did I ever do without this thing? :)

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on December 14, 2011:

Sounds cool, If I lived where it snowed, I would definitely get one.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 14, 2011:

Moonlake - thanks for the vote. I'm so sorry you had a heart attack! I think your body must have known on that day that you and your husband were getting that wood. But it sounds like you have recovered? And I agree about the soot - except our problem is tracking in dirt from outside and I have to sweep a lot. Oh well...more exercise, I guess. :) Outside woodstoves are indeed great, from what I hear. Thanks again!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 14, 2011:

Aslaught - I'm with you. I LOVE having a fire. I've heard that there's something instinctual about being drawn to a fire. I grew up with my parents always making fires, too.

moonlake from America on December 13, 2011:

I always liked our wood stove but wasn't crazy about getting wood. Than one day we went for a ride to visit family on the way home my husband said let's stop and get wood. I said I didn't feel like it but he insisted. Of course, I couldn't just sit in the truck. I had to help lift the the heavy wood and thowning it in the truck.

One week after that I had a heart attack. The wood didn't cause it but I never forgot how bad I felt that day and wanting just to go home.

Nothing like wood heat but I don't miss the soot going all over the house.

We no longer have a wood stove. I think the outside ones are great.

Good hub voted up.

aslaught from Alabama on December 13, 2011:

I grew up with wood stoves and I know how beneficial a fire is. We have a fireplace in our home now, and there's nothing like the warmth from the glow of a fire. Great, interesting hub!