Wood Stoves Growing in Popularity

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You're probably running your air conditioner all the time lately.

But come winter, if you're burning through cash trying to keep up with heating costs, there are other alternatives that are growing in popularity.

Christa Knott-Defresne from the Wisconsin Metal Fab which makes furnaces in Chippewa Falls told me her company has already sold more wood furnaces’ this year, than all of last year combined.

And keep in mind they are only 1 month into their busiest stretch of the season which runs August through October.

Wood has been used to keep people warm for thousands of years.

And its popularity as a fuel source is heating up.

Knott-Defresne says the high cost of natural gas, liquid propane and heating oil is making people look for other sources.

She says, “It's gonna come down to, will I eat this week or do I keep the house at a comfortable temperature?”

She says both wood furnaces’, which can heat an entire home, or free standing wood stoves-which are used to heat specific rooms, are saving people money.

Randy Nickerson, owner of fireside hearth and home says about 80 percent of his customers this year have been interested in wood stoves.

Compare that to only 30 percent last year.

Nickerson says, “Natural gas has gone up, LP has gone up, everything has up in price. I think people are just looking for alternatives and ways to heat there home.”

Nickerson's company sells two types of free standing wood stoves, those that take regular wood, and those that burn wood pellets.

Both businesses said that regular wood can be fairly easy to come by in western Wisconsin, with many people getting it from their own land.

Nickerson says, “Wood is probably the cheapest way to heat your home, especially if you get the wood for free.”

Wood pellets, on the other hand are made from scrap pieces of wood and are usually sold for about 225 dollars per ton of pellets.

The price of one ton of pellets is equal to only 2.8 barrels of oil

Nickerson also told me the heat efficiency of wood stoves is at least 10 percent greater than the efficiency of fossil fuel run furnaces.

And if you're curious, there are 115 days until winter.

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