One of the handiest things I have sits on the top surface of the stove and lets me know how warm things are getting. Note that the surface thermometer is not included with the stove. When initially firing up the stove, I see temps approaching 500 degrees at which point I adjust the air intake until I see about 400 to 450. Of course, all of this is based on the type and amount of wood that has been loaded. I should also note that I have the thermostat controlled blower assembly mounted on my stove. This option draws room air from along the lower back edge of the stove and directs it along the back of the stove and then to the forward section of the stove. The surface temp will drop nearly 100 degrees within 5 minutes of the fan starting. It will then keep a new "lower" consistent temp until the wood load starts to diminish causing a gradual drop of stove temp over the remaining several hours. When the thermometer is indicating about 120 degrees, the fan will automatically turn itself off. The blower assembly is certainly worth the additional expense as it really helps disperse the heat around the room. The fan has a variable speed control feature too.
While reading through a FAQ on the Enerzone website, I came across a question asking if a person could cook on the wood stove. The response provided by Enerzone indicated it could be done since a well fired stove usually reaches a 500 to 700 degrees surface temperature. They did suggest to place a stainless steel plate on the top surface to prevent ruining the finish due to the pots and pans being slid around. I would also assume that spilled eggs and bacon grease wouldn't do the painted surface any good either. None the less, its good to know that in an emergency, the stove can provide a cooking surface as well as abundant heat for the house.
The other half of a successful wood stove heating system is what you feed it. Without good dry wood, you'll have poor performance and pain in the neck problems such as excessive creosote buildup. The best stove and chimney combination money can buy won't compensate for poor fuel. This photo was our first official "wood pile" for the stove. Please understand we moved into our new house 2 days prior to Christmas and had no wood. Our neighbor dropped off some wood and it was a start in the right direction. The moisture content was higher than desirable but it was wood and we were bound and determined to continue using the stove. Another problem with storing your wood under a tarp is the condensation. You need air flow under the tarp to prevent this from increasing the moisture content of your wood.
Within a couple of weeks, I got hold of a family friend who was in the forestry management business. He found a load of mostly red oak and brought it out to the homestead. It had been cut a couple of years prior and had reasonable moisture content for being stored outside. Things were looking better! I stopped by the local fleet store and picked up a Husqvarna chainsaw....one that my forestry friend recommended. I stopped by a big box home improvement store and purchased a 30 ton hydraulic wood splitter. About once a week, when the temp got up high enough to run the splitter, I made wood for the stove. I had a limited amount of space in the garage where I could stack the split wood and I didn't want to pile it up in the snow. This red oak worked much better than what we had been burning and we finished our first heating season with big smiles.
Once the snow was gone and things were drying up a bit, I started my quest for what we call popple tops here in northern MN. Others call it aspen or poplar, but it is all part of the populus family of trees. My sister has property across the road from us and had employed a local forester to cut popple from the acreage. This had been an ongoing job for several years and left a plethora of logging trails and tree trimmings there for someone, like me, to process into firewood.
I spent a lot of time in the woods over the next two years with my new tractor, trailer, and chainsaw cutting popple discards into usable wood for future splitting and stacking. Here is one of several piles I made during that time. It wasn't until the summer of 2018 that I finally processed all the wood I salvaged from my sister's property, some of which went to two neighbors. It has been used, along with that red oak, and has performed very well in our stove.
During the summer of 2016, my wife and I constructed a "wood shed" from a DIY
kit we purchased from
Versa Tube via
a local reseller. It's actually a car port/shelter but was exactly what we
wanted for storing/drying wood. We wanted something that would hold enough
wood for multiple heating seasons should something happen to me that would
prevent me from harvesting wood during a spring/summer period. We had our
general contractor pour the concrete slab per Versa Tube's specs. Here is
my complete write-up on our
wood shed project.
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