Q:

What are the disadvantages of using wood energy?

A:

While using wood for energy to heat a home has a romantic association for many people, it is an inconvenient energy source. Most wood heat requires humans to bring in firewood, monitor the fire and add more fuel on a regular basis. This lifestyle commitment does not work for everyone.

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Use of wood heat tethers the occupant to the home. Unless someone feeds the fire every few hours, it goes out. Unless a home has an alternative heat source, in areas where temperatures are low, the homeowner faces the danger of frozen plumbing due to a lack of heat in the home. Many wood heat sources are inefficient. Fireplaces are notorious for removing more heat from a home than they supply.

For consumers with access to wooded areas and the ability to gather firewood, using wood energy for heat sometimes saves money. A cord of wood provides about the same amount of energy as burning 130 gallons of fuel oil. However, cutting and hauling firewood is hard work and requires an investment in time. After cutting, wood requires seasoning for several months in a dry location to provide the maximum amount of heat. Seasoning also reduces dangerous creosote buildup in chimneys. When the consumer is unable to gather his own wood, the cost savings are often lost.

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