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Heating 101: The Best Guide to Wood Stove Heaters in Lancaster, PA

a wood stove in a comfortable family room with a small wooden table on the left

Are you considering a new wood stove heater for your Lancaster County, PA home? Wood heat is a popular choice among homeowners in the area due to its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental benefits. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore what wood stove heaters are, how they work, and their various benefits.

What Is a Wood Stove Heater?

A wood stove heater is a heating appliance that burns wood as fuel to produce heat. It is typically made of cast iron or steel and consists of a firebox, a door with a glass window, air controls, and a flue pipe for venting smoke. Wood stove heaters are known for their efficiency, as they can provide a significant amount of heat with relatively little fuel.

How Does a Wood Stove Heater Work?

Wood stove heaters operate on the principle of combustion, which involves burning wood to generate heat. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how a wood stove heater works:

  1. Loading the firebox: Place seasoned hardwood logs into the firebox of the wood stove heater. Seasoned wood should be dried for at least six months to reduce its moisture content, making it burn more efficiently.
  2. Igniting the fire: Use kindling and a fire starter to ignite the wood in the firebox. Once you’ve established the fire, adjust the air controls to regulate the amount of oxygen entering the firebox, which affects the burn rate and temperature of the fire.
  3. Heat distribution: As the fire burns, it generates heat that radiates from the stove’s body into the surrounding space. Some wood stove heaters also use a blower or a heat exchanger to distribute heat more evenly throughout the room.
  4. Venting smoke: Smoke and other combustion byproducts are expelled from the wood stove heater through the flue pipe connected to a chimney or venting system.

Benefits of Wood Stove Heaters

Home heating with wood has experienced a resurgence in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Wood stoves have many advantages, including their environmentally friendly attributes, cost-efficiency, and the inviting warmth they bring to any space.

Energy Efficiency

Wood stove heaters are highly efficient, converting up to 80% of the fuel’s energy into heat. This efficiency means enjoying a warm and cozy space for longer without consuming large amounts of fuel!


Wood is an affordable fuel source compared to other heating options like oil or natural gas. In Lancaster County, PA, firewood is readily available and often cheaper than different fuel types, making wood stove heaters an economical choice for many homeowners.

Environmental Benefits

Wood burning for heat is considered carbon-neutral because growing trees reabsorb the carbon dioxide released during combustion. This neutrality makes wood stove heaters a more environmentally friendly heating option. Additionally, modern wood stoves are designed to burn cleaner and produce fewer emissions than older models, reducing their impact on air quality.

A wood stove in a living room

Aesthetics and Ambiance

There’s something undeniably charming about the flickering flames and crackling sounds of a wood stove heater. They add warmth, character, and a sense of nostalgia to any space, making them an attractive addition to your home.

Independence from Utility Companies

Using wood heating as your primary heat source can reduce your dependence on utility companies and gain more control over your energy costs. This feature can be particularly beneficial during power outages or periods of high energy prices.

How Can I Choose the Right Size Wood Stove Heater for My Home?

Choosing the right size wood-burning stove for your home depends on several factors, including the size of the space you want to heat, the insulation quality of your home, and the climate in your region. Here are some steps to help you choose the right size wood stove heater:

  1. Determine the heating area: Measure the square footage of the space you want to heat. If you have an open floor plan or want to heat multiple rooms, consider the total area of all connected spaces.
  2. Consider your home’s insulation: A well-insulated home will require less heating power than a poorly insulated one. You may need a smaller wood stove heater if your home has good insulation. However, if your home has poor insulation, you might need a larger stove to compensate for heat loss.
  3. Factor in the climate: The average winter temperature in your region plays a role in determining the appropriate size of your wood stove heater. Colder climates require more heating power, while milder climates may only need a small or medium-sized stove.
  4. Check the stove’s heat output rating: Wood stove heaters are rated by their heat output, usually measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. Generally, you’ll need approximately 25-30 BTUs per square foot in mild climates, 35-40 BTUs per square foot in moderate climates, and 45-50 BTUs per square foot in cold climates.
  5. Calculate the required heat output: Multiply the square footage of the area you want to heat by the BTUs per square foot based on your climate. This calculation will give you an estimate of the total BTUs required to heat your space.

Remember that these calculations are only rough estimates, and other factors like ceiling height, window size, and air circulation can impact the heating efficiency. When in doubt, you can contact our professionals to help you choose the correct size stove for your home.

Want to Upgrade Your Home with a Wood Stove Heater?

Wood stove heaters offer several advantages for homeowners in Lancaster County, PA, including energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental benefits. If you’re considering a wood stove heater for your home, do your research and consult a local expert at LanChester to find the best model for your needs. Contact us today so you can start to enjoy the warmth and charm that a wood stove heater can bring to your living space!