You've been thinking of getting a wood stove to cut down on heating bills, but recently you heard about an appliance you never knew about before -- an add-on wood furnace that is set up with your gas furnace. These appliances require a certain amount of work, just as wood stoves do, but the savings on natural gas or propane bills is well worth it.
About Add-On Wood Furnaces
An add-on wood furnace can be connected to the furnace you already have, or a technician can install one when you buy a new gas furnace. Your main compatibility consideration involves whether your chimney is designated as an all-fuel unit. If it is, your add-on furnace will be compatible with a natural gas or liquid propane appliance.
The wood furnace usually is placed next to the gas furnace and works from a separate thermostat. However, it uses the same blower and ducts.
Just like gas furnaces, these appliances come in different heating capacities, so you can be sure that the one you choose is right for the square footage of your house.
Advantages Over Wood Stoves
You'll still need to obtain wood and haul it inside, load up the furnace with wood on a regular basis, and occasionally clean out the ashes. However, the furnace has substantial advantages over a wood stove. Primarily, you'll get whole-house heat from the ducts, whereas a wood stove keeps the immediate area much warmer than other parts of your home.
You can fit larger logs in a furnace than you can in a typical wood stove, which means the fire lasts longer and you need to stoke the furnace less often than you would a stove. You also don't have the dirt and mess involved with firewood, dirt, bits of bark and ash in your main living space.
Using a Gas Furnace as Backup
Simply choose the lowest temperature you're willing to let the heat level drop to and set your gas furnace thermostat there. That temperature might be significantly lower when you'll be gone all day or when you're sleeping.
If the wood fire goes out and the temperature drops, the gas furnace will turn on and keep the house at that temperature.
Contact some heating contractors in your area for pricing on add-on wood furnaces that are suitable for the size of your house. If you're about due for a new gas furnace, getting the two put in together can save you money on installation. Consider how much money you are likely to save on gas heat annually if you use the wood furnace for your main heating source; then you can see how long it will take you to recoup the cost of your new appliance.
For more information, see http://www.alliedairheat.com.