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How Your Stove Works
woodstove animation Your wood stove works much like your kitchen stove.  If you were to make some instant coffee,  you put the pan of water on the burner and let it get hot (to the boiling point),  pour the water into the cup and return the pan back to the burner.
But,  now you reduce the heat to low to maintain the water temperature to keep it hot for the next cup.  The wood stove works the same way. Get it hot at the beginning of the burning cycle, then close it down for the long, slow burn. This will give you the most heat from your stove.

The damper on your stove let's the combustion air into the system.  The more open it is, the quicker the the wood will burn,  the more closed,  the longer it will burn.

The amount of wood you put in the stove determines the amount of heat you will get, more wood,  more heat.  So be sure to load your stove accordingly.  In the Spring and Fall it is better to burn a short, hot fire to warm the area and not try to maintain the a long burn cycle.

How Many BTU's in Wood

All wood, regardless of species (oak, hickory, sassafras etc.) has the potential to produce 8,600 btu's, minus it's moisture content.  It takes 1,110 btu's to steam out each pound of water.  A pound of sassafras could be twice the size of a pound of oak  Kiln dried wood here in South Central Indiana has around a 19% moisture content,  so our good, dry, seasoned firewood has no less than a 30% moisture content.  Green or wet firewood will have as much as a 50-70% moisture content.  So what does that mean as far as BTU's of heat we get?  
Here is the answer using for using a 10 pound log.


Dry Seasoned Wood            Wet or Green Wood 
at 30% Moisture                           at 50% Moisture 

    7 x 8,600 = 60,200            5 x 8,600 = 43,000
  - 3 x 1,100 =   3,300          - 5 x 1,100 =  5,500
____________________  _____________________
                    56,900  BTU                    37,500  BTU

As you can see,  the quality or dryness of your wood makes a huge difference in the heat output, the amount of wood required  to heat your home, and also your soot and creosote production in your chimney.  By planning ahead, getting your firewood early  (by July) each year,  you will cut your wood consumption by at least one fourth in most cases.

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