Red Barn Renovation: Why I Bought A Wood Stove

Red Barn Renovation: Why I Bought A Wood Stove

Johnny Williams
Jan 4, 2010

(Late last year, I kicked off a series of posts in which I’ll document the transformation of an old barn into my future workshop.)

2010 is here and I’m rearing to renovate! Construction on the red barn begins soon, and my first resolution is to heat the frigid space. Though my new Snuggie keeps me pretty toasty, what I really wanted for Xmas was a wood-burning stove. Then I could warm my workshop and burn the many wood scraps I’ll generate, killing two birds with one stove.

There is something profoundly fulfilling about starting a fire to stay warm. Maybe it’s the effort of hauling logs and kindling or the knowledge that mankind has huddled beside a flame for eons. (Or perhaps I’m just a pyro who loves to watch the wood burn.) Either way, with a wood stove, you get all the enjoyment of a traditional fireplace with far less fuss and much more efficiency.

Unlike open fireplaces, woodstoves are designed to hold logs in an enclosed "fire chamber." The chamber is attached to a flue that pulls a draft and allows the exhaust to pass outside. Newer, EPA-certified stoves require 1/3 less wood and give off 90% less smoke than older stoves. If properly prepped, these super-efficient wood stoves burn all day without any need to tend to the embers. But wait, there’s more: if you act now, many of these heating units qualify for a federal energy efficiency tax credit!

With winter in full swing, now is the perfect time to light a nice, warm fire. But before you snow bunnies hop off to wood stove store, you should be aware of some not-so-hidden costs. Installing a stove safely requires a professional, who is likely to charge you anywhere between $400 and $1,000 just to set up the unit. That’s not including the stove piping necessary to build an adequate flue. Believe it or not, this piping will cost more than the stove itself! One way to save in this area is to literally cut corners. The "elbow" piping needed to change directions is far more expensive than straight piping. Since too many turns weaken the flue's pull, it's best to avoid these pieces anyway.

After months of research, I settled on Quadra-Fire’s smallest stove, the Millenium 2100. Not only does it sound like a bad-ass spaceship from the future, but it also suits the simple needs of my 700 square foot workshop. But there are many stoves in the sea — you're sure to find one that fills your heart with joy and your home with heat!

Here are a few reputable brands:

Images: 1 Quadra-Fire, 2 Hopkins House Farm B&B , 3 Wittus , 4 Harrie Leenders

Red Barn Renovation: Where To Begin?
Red Barn Renovation: Green Cleaning & Disposing Of Toxic Chemicals
Red Barn Renovation: Energy Efficiency Tax Breaks

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