Few sources of heat can match that of a wood stove. The warm glow, the smell, the crackling of the fire. Wood stoves in Newfoundland, which are also referred to as a fireplace, can bring a cabin to sauna-levels of heat even on the coldest winter days.
With Newfoundland’s cabin culture, nearly all residents have experienced the joy of curling up with a good book in front of a warm fire. But wood stoves aren’t only for cabins. Homes can have them, too. With the Muskrat Falls electricity rate increase around the corner, you may be considering alternative sources of heat to save money.
These days, it’s much more common for homes to have propane fireplaces than traditional wood stoves. But, there are still many homes that do have wood stoves, and new ones can always be installed.
With propane it’s a little easier to calculate the cost difference in using that as a main heat source compared with electricity. This calculation is not so easily done with wood, since the method and cost of obtaining the wood will influence the number.
Considerations Surrounding a Home Wood Stove
There are many things to consider when deciding if having a wood stove in your home would be a good idea.
Having adequate space for a wood-burning fireplace is always an important deciding factor. They require proper installation and some clearance for safety.
As well, dealing with fire logs indoors can create a bit of a mess. Therefore, the location of the wood stove itself should ideally be in an area where this is not a problem, such as in a basement.
Finally, you will need to store the wood to burn, ideally in a dry location. Many people with wood stoves in Newfoundland will have a large stockpile outdoors or in a shed. They then move some inside to dry as needed before burning.
There’s no doubt that the mess created by having a wood stove is not for everybody. It’s not crazy, but many of us are not used to having pieces of trees in our homes. At the cabin it’s not much of a concern, but at the home it’s less ideal. Bits of wood will naturally end up on the floor, maybe even bugs, and of course there’s soot that will need to be cleaned from the stove periodically.
Obtaining Wood and Cost
Considering that the average home with electric heat sees its hydro bill increase 200-300% during the winter months, the potential savings of switching to wood as a primary source of heat could be quite substantial.
There’s room for a large variation here since the way you obtain the wood will affect the numbers. Then of course the size of the house, age, insulation, and other factors will all play a part. Even the type of wood you burn! Can your whole home be heated with wood 24/7, or will you supplement with other heat sources?
There are services which will deliver loads of firewood directly to you. Many people like to cut their own firewood as well. If that’s the case, the monetary cost is exchanged for ones own time and manual labour. Owning a chainsaw, truck, proper safety attire, and having access to land with trees that can be legally cut are also considerations.
Of course, other things affect the electricity bill during winter as well like using the clothes dryer, needing more light with less daylight outside, spending more time at home, Christmas lights, etc. The wood stove can also be used to cook food or warm water, which may help to achieve additional cost savings.
Existing homes that already have wood stoves have all the hard part taken care of. New builds are also in luck, since that’s the ideal time to install a wood-burning fireplace.
Wood stoves can be installed into existing homes, though that will certainly require a bit of effort. A proper chimney will be needed, along with a safely designed indoor area for the wood stove to sit. Usually, it would be on some hard surface like tile.
With Newfoundland’s harsh winters and history of unreliable electricity, having an alternative source of heat is a great idea. Wood stoves of course do not require any electricity to work. You can even add something like a heat-powered fan to increase airflow.
Are wood stoves in Newfoundland the right choice for you? We hope this has helped to shed some light (and heat) on the situation.
Interested in learning more about saving money on your electricity bill? Check out this article!