Monday, December 19, 2011

Heating with Wood - Simply the Best!

For the past decade I have been spent my winters in a cold house that used heat pumps as the primary source of heat.  Let's just say that heat pumps leave a lot to be desired.  My gas logs were equally disappointing and costly to run.

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.


  1. Your invention is too good. I hope that these products also be enable to used in home & it would also reduce the electricity bills.

    heating and cooling Overland Park

  2. Hi Brentster,

    My name is Anita, I am an intern at the Alliance for Green Heat and we were wondering whether you would be interested in entering our Wood Stove Challenge! We are a non-profit organization that promotes using high-efficiency wood combustion as a low-carbon, sustainable, local and affordable heating solution in Takoma Park, Maryland.

    -The Wood Stove Challenge is designed to develop next generation stove designs, build a community of innovators and showcase stove innovation to the public.
    -The Design Challenge will take place on the National Mall in November of 2013.
    -The Grand Prize winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize. Between 2 and 5 second place prizes will share a $10,000 pot.
    -The designs will be judged based on: Innovation, Emissions, Efficiency, Affordability and Most Consumer Friendly.
    -The winning stoves will receive extensive publicity, and Popular Mechanics, who helped design the Challenge, will cover the winning designs in its magazine and website.

    If you are interested in the Challenge you can read more about it at :

    Anyway, in an effort to research more about wood stove technology for our Wood Stove Challenge, we stumbled upon your blog and were really impressed that you were able to build your own wood stove! Your design for a "rocket-stove" is exactly what we are looking for and we would really love it if you would enter into our competition!

    Please let us know what you think.

    Thank you for your time,


    The Alliance for Green Heat
    6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 407
    Takoma Park, MD 20912
    Tel: (301) 841-7755
    Fax: (301) 270-4000

  3. I had to get some help with this because it was beyond the scope of what my ladder can do.My Cook n Ware