Its been roughly 11 months since we took a leap of faith by purchasing the Shelter Outdoor Furnace. If you remember from my first Shelter post, there was no information being circulated about the furnaces. When viewing the big picture, the potential benefits outweighed the cons.
Reviewing the last year would make for a long blog post so this will be in a Q&A format based on random questions we’ve received.
1.) Does it keep your home warm? YES! When it was first installed it was connected through the crawl space and attached to the old return air vent. The heat being brought in was incredible. In order to be comfortable on the main floor, we were literally digging out our summer clothes. Meanwhile, it was very cool upstairs. Once it was connected to the main duct work the temperatures leveled off and are dispersed evenly.
2.) How many times per day do you need to fill the furnace? The answer to this question is dependent upon several factors. First, the type of wood, the condition of the wood, outside temperature, your preferred indoor temp and how well your home is insulated. Like most old farm houses, ours is poorly insulated which results in a loss of heat. Hardwood such as oak burns hotter and lasts longer versus a soft wood such as Willow or Pine which will burn quickly. Ideally you want a dry or seasoned, hard wood. Through trial and error we have determined that this is our secret formula to filling 3 times a day. We can’t guarantee that yours will be the same.
3.) How much wood will we use in a normal year? We expect to use 13-14 pickup loads of wood during this winter (Nov.-April). With that said, during the polar vortex we went through a pickup load in less than three days. So its very dependent upon your location and average temps.
4.) Where will the furnace be located? Unlike their cousin wood burners (shaped like a shed), you will be placing the furnace close to your home & insulating all outside duct. The more duct work the air has to travel through, the more heat you will lose. Before adding the outside insulation we lost a large amount of warmth.
5.) Is it difficult to fill the fire box? No. You will first open the main outside door, then pull the top damper (use gloves, very hot). Then open the fire box and begin throwing the wood inside. Easy, peasy.
6.) Have you saved money? YES! Although you will need to continue to pay for an electrical source to drive the fan, we have realized a savings by not being dependent upon LP. We’ve been fortunate enough to find free wood.
7.) Do you have another heat source? Other than our small EdenPure heaters, we do not have another source. We have only used the EdenPure heaters during the polar vortex when we were experiencing constant below zero temperatures.
- Savings: The savings in money previously spent on LP. It has certainly paid for itself.
- Free workout! Great exercise for the whole family. Its not a chore that they enjoy, but our boys are put to work carrying wood from the front of the house to furnace which sits at the back of our house.
- Increase in temperature: We are able to afford to keep our home at 72 degrees versus the 66 degrees prior to installing the furnace.
- Vacations: If you plan on being gone for an extended period of time, you really need to have some sort of backup heat source to prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Be prepared for manual labor and consider investing in a log splitter.
10.) Other important information:
- Ashes: As the wood burns you will need to clean ashes out the bottom of the firebox. There is a compartment which makes this task fairly simply however, I did not anticipate the pile of ashes which now sits next to the furnace. In the spring we will spread those ashes onto our ground but for now they tend to blow in the wind and could be considered an eye sore.
- Smoke smell in house: Be sure to purchase enough duct so that your chimney is higher than your house or close to it. This will prevent the smoke from hitting the side of the house and ultimately coming into the house.
- Over prepare: During the warm months make it a priority to overstock yourself on wood. The last thing you want is to run out while its 20 degrees outside.
11.) Would you do it again? Yes!
We would love to compare experiences with other Shelter Furnace owners so please share in the comments.