Heating with Wood
There is no form of home heating more enjoyable than a fire. Many people supplement their conventional heating systems with wood heat (or pellet), and others use wood as their major source of heat. With other fuels scarce and expensive, many people are turning to wood for home heating.
Do you live where temperatures can drop into the negatives and stay there, or, where winters are mild, and cold days alternate with warm? An occasional fireplace fire may be sufficient, but if you want to really reduce your heating costs, you probably need something more.
What system is best for you?
Decide how much space you need to heat, and for how long. Also, think about outdoor storage space for firewood and indoor space near the stove (or stoves) for a day's supply of wood and kindling.
To understand fuel efficiency, you need to know how wood burns.
Wood burns in three stages. First, heat provided by burning small pieces of dry kindling produces temperatures high enough to ignite the outside of larger pieces of wood. In this stage, heat is needed to drive off the moisture present even in the driest wood. The heat used in this process is lost so you can see that dry wood is important. In the second stage, temperatures approach 500 degrees F and a chemical breakdown of the wood begins. Volatile liquids and gases are driven off, leaving charcoal behind. About half the available heat is in these gases, however a temperature of at least 1,100 degrees F is needed to ignite them and more air is needed to support combustion. Charcoal burns in the third and final stage at temperatures above 1,000 degrees. Since fresh wood is usually added during the burn, these stages are not separate - all three may go on simultaneously.
Wood is a 100% all natural, renewable resource.
Heating your home with a high efficiency, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved fireplace, stove or insert releases no more carbon dioxide than a dying tree would lying on the forest floor. In fact, when the entire carbon cycle is considered, an EPA approved fireplace heats your home more efficiently and with less impact on the environment than any other heating fuel option.
Increase Fireplace Efficiency
Glass doors provide a convenient and attractive method to seal the fireplace opening and reduce heat loss up the chimney. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and finishes to match any decor.
Fireplace grate heaters may improve efficiency. The tubular grate acts as a heat transfer unit, moving air through the tubes by convection or with a blower. Many are designed to work with glass doors.
Wood is a widely used heating fuel: approximately a third of all homes use wood at least occasionally to provide space heat. Wood can be an effective and economical source of heat, provided all necessary steps are taken to ensure efficiency, environmental health, and fire safety.
 University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)