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Wood stove with cat sleeping in front

Why should you consider heating your home with a wood stove?

We’ve put together our top ten reasons, and believe they will give you a springboard to think about what benefits you can come up with for heating with a wood stove!

Wood stove
Do you like our stack of pans? I was actually making vegan yogurt in the top one! Learn how to make vegan yogurt!

This post isn’t meant to be all-inclusive, but I hope it does help you to think about something you may not have put much thought into before.

Way back when we first got married…

We were out house hunting. I had ideas, and my husband had some too.


We called one house to look at, and they told us, “We only have a wood stove for heat, so do you still want to come?”

Me: “Uh, I’m not sure. I’ll get back with you.”

Greg: “All the better! Let’s go!”

Me: ??

Bitmoji image

I was lost for sure. I knew not a thing about wood stoves, and didn’t have a great big desire to learn! That sounded like work.

Long story short: we bought the house. And the stove.

Then another, and another, and now are building again. And every house has had the common theme of a wood burning stove as the main source of heat.

Wood stove

I’ve warmed up to the idea over the years. (Insert eyeroll emoji here🙄) Greg kept our wood stove going, and I learned with time. Eventually, the boys have manned up to the task and keep both wood stoves loaded and cleaned out. They do the one in the house and enclosure when Greg’s not home. I stand in front of it and warm up!

At first, I didn’t care for the uneven way the wood stove heated our home. And that was a real issue, especially when we lived in an 80’ long box of a trailer. Those ends had a real time keeping warm, so I advise you to come up with a way to circulate the air, or to choose a home (if that’s even an option) that’s more centralized so the heat distributes more evenly. We solved this problem with space heaters, but that’s not the most sustainable option.

Not ours, just illustrating that LONG mobile homes can be challenging to evenly heat with a single heat source.

When we built our first home, we designed the rooms around the living room area, and hence the wood stove. It worked well to keep the rooms heated. Ceiling fans also helped to move the air around!

Former home
The house we built, with the wood stove placed centrally.
Wood stove in living room
We built around the wood stove area.

The first home we bought was just poorly insulated and had rooms added onto rooms, so it was a real challenge all-around. But we did learn a lot.

Now that we are building (again/still) our cabin on the homestead, we’ve had close to twenty-one years of living with and using wood stoves to sort of make us wiser in the ways of wood burning. And we still want to use a wood stove!

Ridge Haven Homestead cabin
Ridge Haven Homestead cabin
Cabin we’re working on.

I’m not going to lie and say that heating with a wood stove is the easiest option.

Nor is it the fastest option.

But, for those who want to live off the land, can’t or don’t want to use electric heat, who’d rather choose sustainability, save money, or just enjoy the romantic aspects of cozying up to a friendly fire, a wood stove is a wonderful way to heat your home!

Woman in front of wood stove

Now that I’ve pretty much spilled the beans, here are our Top Ten Reasons to Heat Your Home with a Wood Stove. (Notice I’m not delving into the wood cook stove here. Maybe another time on that one.)

This list is a collaboration from the family!

Top Ten Reasons to Heat with a Wood Stove

Cat in front of wood stove
  1. A wood stove heats without power. This is useful. More importantly—you’ll have heat when the grid is down, so this is life-saving! We’ve been very thankful many, many times over the years when we could stay warm when we had no electricity. Even a tiny wood stove can be used for this purpose! We didn’t want to depend on grid power for our heat! We have a wood stove in the basement and will have one in the living room of our main living area. Note that you can also install a wood burning furnace, which is a little different than a traditional wood stove, but does very well at heating and circulating heat throughout the house. It can be installed outside for safety and cleanliness.
  2. It’s Sustainable—Grow your own fuel and plant more!
  3. You can use it for cooking in a pinch. You can actually use your Dutch Oven on top of the wood stove and cook! You can fry things with a skillet and boil water to make tea and beans. If you’re creative, you can make meals inside the wood stove! While not as good as a wood cook stove, you’re not going to starve! I loved this article from Lisa, at the Self-Sufficient Home Acre which explains How to Cook with a Wood Stove
  4. You can use it to heat water for baths and cooking. Some install copper wiring or a water jacket around the stovepipe to heat the water for bathing, and the wood stove gets used in several ways at once!
  5. It’s cozy heat! You know it’s true! There’s just nothing quite like a nice warm fire to snuggle up beside to make you feel all warm and cozy!
  6. It’s Economical! You can use wood from your own property if you choose wisely!
  7. Good exercise! A wood stove heats you two times: when you split and stack the wood and when you burn it! Around our house, if we cook beans, we can probably add in another heat source!
  8. Drying clothes and other items! Another great use of the wood stove is to install a drying rack around it! You can dry clothes, herbs, and dehydrate food near a wood stove. I guess you could also smoke meat, but we’re plant-based, and that’s a whole different area!
  9. Cats. If you have cats, and no wood stove, where are they going to lie down? On your bed! But seriously, cats are smart enough to know that the best seat in the house is in front of the wood stove, or else wherever you wanted to sit!
  10. Self-Reliance. Heating with wood provides independence and a sense of accomplishment. When I asked my family what their top reasons for heating with wood, this was my husband’s top reason. There are just some things that have to be experienced to understand, and maybe heating with wood is one of those! Once you gain that independence, you want to hold onto it! 🇺🇸

Convinced yet?

There are many places you can buy a good wood stove. But they are so sturdy that we have bought many of ours second-hand. Probably all of them. Nowadays, they make the wood stoves more efficiently.

We’ve seen many types of wood stoves, from rocket mass heaters, traditional, glass door, solid door, and external furnaces.

If you decide you want to install a wood stove, look around at those people you know who use one. Ask them questions, and see what they like about their particular stove. There is no one size fits all answer for which type of wood stove for you!

Here are just a few kinds of wood stoves you may encounter:


Vermont castings wood stove
Wood stove

You can get the parts, like stovepipe kits, pipes and accessories new, so that you can be sure it’s safe.

Speaking of Safety:

One thing we just recently purchased was a safety exit ladder for our kids who are on the third level. There is always a chance of a fire, even without a wood burning stove, but it’s good to be prepared. I hope they never have to use them but we went ahead and got the more sturdy ones, and not the ones that you can’t practice on. We got the one that accommodates up to 14” walls, since ours are very thick with all the insulation we’ve installed. Greg just felt better about the metal, not rope or nylon as the straps. We did have to get a 3 story one and order from Retmal, not Amazon, since they just stocked the two-story one. This is on my mind because I ordered ours today!

Also on our list for the cabin, related to the wood stove safety, are:

We just watched the DVD on “Dealing with Fire on the Homestead”, by Walt Cross and Walter Cross, Fire Chief and Fire Lieutenant. It was very good information for those like us who live way out where the fire stations won’t be able to get to quickly! This DVD is part of a 6-part set called Homestead Skills Collection, by The Meisners, at Sustainable Preparedness. We are working our way through this set!

Sustainable Preparedness materials
Valuable materials for homesteading

Some good resources you may find helpful:

Blog posts on wood heating from Sustainable Preparedness Check those out here

Mother Earth News Forum

Facebook groups on prepping, off grid living, homesteading! These are quite abundant. You can search through the archives and find just about anything you’d like to know, and a whole lot more!

Let me just end with my previous statement.

But, for those who want to live off the land, can’t or don’t want to use electric heat, who’d rather choose sustainability, save money, or just enjoy the romantic aspects of cozying up to a friendly fire, a wood stove is a wonderful way to heat your home!

Better get cooking!

Stay warm!


🔥 You’ll love it! 🔥


13 Replies

  1. I am too cold-natured to manage with just one stove! LOL We have a gas fireplace (I know not the same) but when Texas froze over last year, we were able to use that for heat and I did use it for cooking so I do understand the benefits! Thanks for sharing!

  2. A very thorough job. Yes, cats LOVE to be near the heat. Great tips for people thinking about using wood in some fashion. I love how you stacked your CI to get a nice temp for your yogurt. Very clever.

    1. Thanks! I will be honest and tell you it was pure laziness on my part. We’ve stored those CI Dutch ovens there to get them off the floor. I just happened to see them when I was hunting a good warm place!

  3. Growing up, we had a wood burning stove. Sometimes it was too hot, but I never tired of the smell of burning wood and the coziness of it. When the blizzard of ’93 hit the Southeast, our wood stove was a life-saver: providing warmth, heat to cook anything we wanted and the ability to warm water for baths.

  4. When I was a teenager, a farmer family we were friends with invited me to spend a week at their home and learn about their everyday life. They had a wood fired oven in their kitchen, where the lady baked her own bread, it was so delicious! They also had a tiled oven heating thing you could sit on, and it had an opening like a chest where you would put in cherry pit pillows. They would store the heat, and you would take them to your bed because there was no heating in the bedrooms. This pillow would serve as a hot water bag.

    1. Oh my goodness!
      That is so interesting! I have never heard of this, and certainly wouldn’t have enough cherry seeds, but what a great way to make a bed warmer. I hate cold feel, and they sounds much safer than a hot water bottle!

      Sounds like you have an experience to cherish, because the old ways are quickly being forgotten!

  5. What memories your blog brought back! We heated with a wood stove for years when we lived in way upstate NY. I would cook on it and Rich would set a frozen can of oil on the bricks to thaw it out for changing the oil in our truck! Oh and the exercise of cutting, splitting and stacking the wood during the summer. But we had super warm winters.

  6. My parents had a wood stove for a while. Because of the uneven heat, we all would gather around the stove like the cats! Wheels compared us to a flock of birds — one would fly off to be replaced immediately by another in the empty space. Actually he compared us to a bunch of crows — noisy — but that’s another story.

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️