A real wood fire on the hearth represents a piece of the sun that was stored in the heart of the earth's ecosystem.
When you warm up your life with wood, you participate in a natural cycle and an ancient human ritual. The simple act of stirring coals and placing logs on the hearth is one we share with ancestors who lived at the dawn of human history. Burning wood for warmth is still satisfying. It takes a little concerted extra effort and know how, but like tending a garden or home cooking a meal, you are always rewarded. A real wood fire satisfies the way no imitation can. Each fire is unique, following its random path from lit kindling to dramatic flames to red coals. Gazing into the fire in a quiet moment, your imagination is free to soar on flights of fancy or to probe the depths of the soul.
Solar power from the sun, wind power, and wood energy are renewable resources, meaning they can be used forever without depleting the earth. Using them is like living off the interest earned by the earth's assets, and never touching its savings.
In contrast, fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal are not renewable and their consumption is the leading cause of global warming. Burning fossil fuels sends carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, on a one-way trip. It pumps million-year-old carbon from inside the earth into the atmosphere, where the concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing.
It's like spending the earth's savings, and scientists say it is changing the global climate. Wood fuel is different. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air in a process powered by the sun. Indeed, about half the weight of dry wood is this absorbed carbon. A tree destroyed in a forest fire or one that falls and decays in the forest gives up its carbon once again to the air as carbon dioxide. And so continues the earth's carbon/carbon dioxide cycle. When trees are used for energy, a part of the forest's annual growth is diverted into our homes to heat them. Both natural firewood and wood pellets~made by compressing waste sawdust-are energy products from the forest. Well-managed forests can be a renewable, sustainable source of energy that helps us reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the use of oil, gas and coal.
Some may view a woodstove or fireplace as old-fashioned, but that image is out of date. Things have changed a lot. Innovative research has transformed the trusty old wood heater from a clunky black box into a marvel of modern heating technology. Yet none of the charm and beauty of the natural fire has been lost. An advanced technology stove or fireplace won't pollute your indoor air and you'll see no smoke coming from your chimney. It can deliver up to 75 percent seasonal efficiency while emitting 90 percent less smoke than the old "airtight. This means you will need about one third less wood for the same amount of heat. The new technologies raise the temperature of the fire, making it more beautiful than ever and keeping the fire-viewing glass clear. Now you can enjoy the pleasures of a real wood fire and cast your vote in favor of the environment at the same time.
Modern woodburning appliances are a perfect match for new energy-efficient houses. A centrally-located woodstove or masonry heater can fully heat a home of moderate size, and for larger homes, the heat from an elegant new fireplace can be ducted to all areas. No more chilly rooms. And no more getting up in the night to feed the fire, all the advanced models deliver a reliable over-night burn.
When all else fails, you can count on a real wood fire. Without heat, an emergency becomes a disaster, but with a reliable wood heater and a few candles, you'll turn it into a family adventure. When storms rage and the power lines go down, your family will be warm, cozy and safe around the real wood fire. Some other advantages of wood heating are not so obvious. Like freedom from dependence on large energy utilities. Like the satisfaction of providing for one's family directly, instead of just sending off a utility payment each month. Like becoming ever more skillful at kindiing and tending the fire. Like sitting back, putting your feet up and admiring your handiwork.
Modern woodburners are safety tested. When properly installed, used and maintained, they are as safe as any other heating system. They must, of course, be paired with a sound chimney of the correct size, which is professionally evaluated and cleaned yearly.
In cold weather, the fire in a conventional open woodburning fireplace often consumes more energy than it delivers to the house, so an oil or gas furnace has to work harder. This is a waste of both wood and fossil fuel.
An advanced wood-heat system saves a lot of both. (An open fireplace draws air from your home as it burns this depletes air heat and oxygen in your home and is the most inefficient fire you can have. Install a fireplace insert)
Properly seasoned firewood provides more heat and less smoke. No wood fire should emit more than a very small amount of smoke. In fact, a lot of smoke coming from a chimney is embarrassing proof of the operator's lack of awareness or experience. Ask your local professional Chimney Sweep or folks at the local hearth shop to show you how to build a "top-burn" fire, a proven way to make wood burn more cleanly/efficiently.
Don't guess about safety. It's smart to hire an experienced professional to install and maintain your woodburning system for you. Feeling at ease is part of the pleasure of woodburning.
If you don't cut your own fuel, ask your firewood supplier where the wood came from. Make it known you only want wood from sustainable sources.
Who besides you and your family stands to gain if you heat with wood?
A few small companies would benefit: the local stove and fireplace shop; the equipment manufacturers; the chimney sweep who services the system each year; and the small jobbers, farmers and truckers who process and sell firewood might do a little better. This message is from people who believe we all gain when energy is used wisely. We think renewable energy is better than non-renewable sources like oil, gas and coal. Our expertise happens to be in wood energy, so we want to encourage its responsible use. Visit www.wood_heat.com on the Internet to learn more! Let us ensure that as long as the sun shines down on us, wood fires will continue to warm the body and soul of humanity.
For decades people have had a love affair with wood fires, a cosy fire on a cold blustery night curled up with a good book and a warm drink is the ultimate in comfort on a winter evening. "The perfect fire" is "all woodheat can be.