Sizing your wood stove to suit your home

A customer asked for advice on a wood stove to heat his 1500 Square Foot home and in giving him a response I realized that this is something I have recited over and over for most of the 30 years I have been in business, so it would be a good blog article for all the people choosing a new stove.

Here was my reply:I will first mention that heating a 1500 sq. ft. area is often most effectively handled by a stove that is designed to heat 1800 to 2000 sq. ft. if you want to be confident that the fire can easily be kept going for 8 hours or more. Also the convenience of having a larger fuel load for higher heat output, longer long lengths and longer burn times is often quite valuable and there is no disadvantage to sizing the stove to a larger potential area since the low burn rate on all modern wood stoves is nearly identical, so there is no threat of the stove putting out too much heat. If you plan on keeping the fire going 24 hours, 7 days a week, like most users, then these stoves should suit your needs well.

The “Heritage” soapstone stove from Hearthstone– This is the most popular stove we have ever sold. It has a large firebox taking up to 21” logs, soapstone construction for holding heat long after the fire has gone low and distributing heat more evenly, a side loading door so that the user never needs to put their hand inside the stove to load fuel and can load it to the very top with no concern for ashes or coals rolling out and an ash drawer for easy ash removal thru an adjustable grate which also can serve as a quick starting technique to light logs from coals when the fire has burn down low (this is advised against by the manufacturer with concerns about liability for users leaving the ash drawer open and overheating the stove but most users find this very convenient when monitored cautiously).

Here is a much more economical wood stove without as many convenient features.

If you are only planning on using this stove intermittently then these smaller stoves may suit your needs as an alternative.
The Hearthstone “Craftsbury” cast iron wood stove

The Hearthstone “Tribute” soapstone wood stove

You will find many other alternatives listed here:
Hearthstone Soapstone Wood Stoves

Wood Heat – Wood Stoves partial list

I hope this helps you understand what is involved in choosing a wood stove for your home.

Let us know what we can do to further assist you.


Bruce Beeley – owner
Wood Heat Stoves & Solar
12426 N. Bloomfield Rd.
Nevada City, CA 95959
Fax 530-265-8656
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How do I keep smoke from my wood stove from entering my home??

A customer emailed us this question and I realized that this would be a good time to share with everyone the dynamics involved in keeping woodstoves from smoking in the home.

“Hi, I am interested in purchasing a wood burning stove for my house. My wife is allergic to smoke and wants a stove that does not emit smoke inside the house and is energy efficient and qualifies for the government tax credit.”

I responded with this explanation:
Almost all stoves manufactured since 1990 meet EPA Phase II clean burning standards, which also boosted efficiency. Almost all of these stoves qualify for the Federal Tax Credit currently available thru December 31st.

When it comes to allergies and smoke in the home, that is another subject. There can be no guarantee that any stove will not emit smoke into the room when the door is opened to add firewood. Small amounts of smoke often spill into the room at this time, depending on the strength of the draft in the chimney as well as the patience and care of the person opening the door. If the chimney draft is strong as a result of the chimney venting straight up thru the roof and the chimney is at least 15’ tall or taller, the draft should be adequate to remove all of the smoke if the door opening is handled with diligent care. Before opening a stove door in operation it is important to open the air control to allow the fire to burn briskly for a minute and allow the current smoke from smoldering wood to leave the firebox to further let room air fill the firebox, replacing the smoke. Then when opening the door it is important to first open it just a ½” or so, while the operator watches to see if there is smoke in the firebox and if the draft is pulling room air in quickly thru the firebox. Then, when opening the door, it should be opened slowly so that any remaining smoke is not pulled into the room along with the door.

Here are the critical details summarized.
1. Strong draft in chimney due to vertical pipe with no elbows and 15’ or more in overall height.
2. Patience in opening the firebox by first making sure the smoke in the firebox has been flushed thru by allowing any remaining wood to burn briskly and then opening the door as slowly as necessary to make sure the draft is effectively pulling all remaining smoke up the chimney.

If that sounds like a chimney installation you have or can accomplish and a process you are willing to go thru, then you can avoid ever allowing smoke to enter the home. In cases where the chimney draft is not strong enough to accomplish this or on rare occasions when strong winds are changing pressures in the chimney and the home, this may be more difficult to accomplish.

If this type of strong draft chimney cannot be installed in your home or you find these guidelines too restrictive in the process, a pellet stove could be an alternative solution. A vertical chimney vent would still be advised although horizontal venting is commonly allowed with pellet stoves. Some percentage of vertical pipe in your installation will reduce the possibility of smoke leakage.

If you do have a situation where the chimney can vent vertically 15’ or more and you are willing to go thru this cautious process in fuel loading, then I would suggest some of our most popular wood stoves. Which you can find by clicking here.
I hope this helps you understand what is involved in operating a wood stove without allowing smoke to enter the home.

Direct your questions to me at for any stove related details and I will be glad to reply. I have owned and operated Wood Heat Stoves & Solar for over 30 years and am glad to share the knowledge accumulated thru our sales and contracting services.

CFL bulbs create disturbing Electromagnetic Fields with negative health impacts

I wondered about cfls when PGE was pushing them so hard for energy savings while we were simultaneously offering LED bulbs for the first time. We stopped at a cfl promo display showing electricity use of incandescent bulbs compared to cfls and they used about 1/3 the power. Then we compared to one of our LED bulbs and …they first thought the meter was broken because you could barely see it move. No, the electricity consumption was nearly too low for the meter to register it. Then we found that cfls have mercury in them and are hazardous if broken and difficult to recycle. Now we find that they mess up the electromagnetic fields by affecting the sine wave pulses of electric waves and have recorded negative health impacts, after filling our homes with them do “do the right thing”.
After using and selling LEDs for a few years we have found that they are pricey, tend to be dim compared to traditional lighting and may not last as long as advertised, but they definitely use a 1/10th or so, of the electricity!!
You can find our LED bulbs by clicking here.

Click here for video news report about how CFLs are poisoning us