Heating Stoves Save Money

Everything you need to know when considering a biomass system to heat your home or shop.


| January/February 2010



Burning pellets.

Burning pellets.

iStockphoto.com/Rolf Tumert

When the cold weather hits, the last thing you need to worry about is how you’ll afford to keep the house warm and the pipes from freezing. Since you have no control over the volatile bulk fossil-fuel markets, it’s virtually impossible to budget accurately, unless you look to alternative fuels such as biomass to generate heat. Install a biomass-burning stove today, and you can cut your conventional fuel or electric bill substantially. Make the installation before the end of 2010, and you can get a federal tax credit of up to $1,500 on qualifying models (75 percent efficient).

In the realm of home and workshop heating, biomass-burning appliances are often called biofuel stoves (or furnaces), but in this case, the term biofuel refers to biomass solids as opposed to liquid fuels such as ethanol or biodiesel. Biofuels used for home heating include cordwood; corn, wheat and other grains; wood pellets; sawdust; cellulose pellets made from grass, straw or other plant material; cherry pits or olive pits; and many other renewable and/or recycled materials.

Biofuels aren’t immune to price fluctuations by any means, but since most aren’t traded on the commodities board (except grains), prices tend to be much more stable. Even with grains, the price per heat unit is less than that for fossil fuels (other than coal) most years. Since you are dealing with solid fuels, you can readily purchase biofuels when prices are low and store them for later use – try doing that with your electric utility (though some propane and fuel oil suppliers have off-peak purchase programs where they do the storing).

Whether getting back to basics, doing your part to reduce our country’s dependence on nonrenewable fuels, or trying to economize in heating your home or shop, consider biofuels as you weigh your options. Biofuels are plentiful, sustainable and all around us. Before making the investment in a biofuel stove, be sure to do your homework on efficiency, UL rating and any tax incentives available for specific models. You can begin the process here: http://EnergyTaxIncentives.org/consumers/heating-cooling.php .

How biofuel stoves work

Combustion stoves generate heat through the rapid oxidation of fuel producing little more than carbon dioxide and water, under ideal conditions. Biofuels are environmentally attractive because they come close to being carbon-dioxide neutral – carbon dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere as the plants that create the fuel grow and is released back into the atmosphere when burned. Of course, some petroleum is consumed in the production, processing and transporting of biofuels, so burning them will still result in a small net addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The amount of heat produced by a biofuel stove is related to the size of the combustion chamber and fuel feed rate. Manufacturers provide BTU ratings and estimates of the number of square feet each unit is designed to heat.

andrew higgin
6/24/2014 2:08:02 AM

Great, Informative Post, like this one must be maintained so I'll put this one on my bookmark list of http://www.valueoils.com. Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this. Have Great Day


sherry jansen
12/1/2011 4:41:31 PM

We also love heating our home with wood. But we recently found out about new wood burning technologies that mean we can get more heat out of less wood. Rocket Mass Heaters are more efficient and burn both the wood and the smoke - so very little exhaust remains. The JetStove.com site displays how conventional wood burners can be converted so all the heat isn't going up the chimney. These all seem like a form of masonry heating but also show wood gasification technology and make wood burning cleaner and 2 - 3 times more heat from each burn is gained.






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