I got tired of freezing last year and experimented with a rocket stove. The rocket stove did a fair job of heating the room it was in... But I still needed more.
This year I broke down and installed a wood stove. Firewood is everywhere right now for free after hurricane Irene, so I figured this would be as good a time as any. I installed a new 6 inch Duravent chimney. (This was no small project as my roof is high and steep.) I had to get some help with this because it was beyond the scope of what my ladder can do.
I built the hearth pad myself. 4 layers of cement board, a sheet of 1/16th inch steel, and concrete paver stones surrounded my a 2x4 frame stained with mahogany.
I picked out a Vogelzang "Durango" stove. Caught it on sale for a good price. I wanted a good free-standing stove... This one fits the bill perfectly. I get some pretty good burn times out of this stove and it really cranks out the heat once you get it going. Keep in mind that you need good seasoned wood to get heat from your wood stove.
One more thing to note... In the stove pipe mounted above my stove I put a device called "Magic Heat". This is a heat exchanger that captures heat from the flue gases and circulates room air through the heat tubes. This device really boosts the performance of the stove setup. I'm a really pleased with it.
The results speak for themselves... Last night it got down in the 20's. It was toasty in my den. The rest of the house was about 70 degrees. My heat pumps are OFF for the winter, which should cut my electric bill down significantly. The stove will pay for itself quickly. I am shooting for an electric bill of around 80 bucks (or less) per month this winter. :)
All I have to say is... After a decade of runny noses and cold feet this thing is awesome!! It adds some magic to the home, and seems to bring people together, and the comfort of wood heat is like no other.