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As the weather turns cold, alternative methods of keeping warm are worth considering. Usually made out of steel or cast iron, they consume wood fuel and can be more efficient than even a fire place. There are many things to consider before purchasing one including heat requirements, available space, obtaining suitable fuel and safety precautions.

If your primary goal in adding a wood burning stove to your abode is increasing the warmth of a room or rooms, be sure to calculate the needed Btu(heat value of fuels)/hour (about 25 Btu/square foot) and seek an appropriately sized unit. Of course, the amount and quality of installed insulation is another important variable to consider. Choosing a stove too small will leave a room chilled, lacking in comfort, while choosing one too big may overuse fuel and encourage waste.

Instead of gas being pumped into your house from an externally regulated source, wood burning stoves require wood to function. For those living in certain regions, gathering fresh kindling and wood may be as easy as going outside, but many people need to find a reliable outlet to obtain fire wood from. A wood burning stove will also save you money. Gas and electricity prices are continually rising and that trend does not look like it will change in the near future. In addition you will be reducing your carbon footprint; by heating your home without the use of gas or oil, you will be helping the green movement.   A modern trend is towards wood pellets made from saw dust and other wooden excess available at a fraction of the cost, and manufactured all across the United States.

Wood burning stoves are not only great for heating your home, they make a fantastic centerpiece. They have an antique look that will be sure to impress family and friends. It will also serve as a romantic gathering spot. You can relax with a loved one by a warm, controlled fire.

Whatever fuel you choose to burn in a wood burning stove, there are numerous safety precautions to consider and follow. Keeping flammable materials away from them, just like with any fire hazard, is a must due to potential jumping sparks and flames. Furthermore, the exhaust pipes of wood burning stoves tend to clog with embers and creosote, causing further risk of danger. A less commonly thought about issue is that wood can carry mold, mildew, and various insects; cover any wood you store outdoors, and make sure that your wood is clean and free of insects before bringing it into your home.

Jake Alexander is a free lance writer who likes blogging about home improvement. Follow him @JakeAlexander17.