One of the benefits of using furnaces as opposed to simple wood fires is that they burn much hotter to combust as much of the materials as possible. With traditional wood fires, the heat produced by the burning logs is not nearly enough to make use of all of the wood, ash or smoke, but furnaces trap the fuel within a tight space, often featuring air intakes and secondary combustion zones where ash and gas are subjected to even higher heats of up to 2000f to burn them into energy. This type of system is very effective at creating a long-lasting heat source from little amounts of wood.
Some furnace systems can burn for as long as 5 hours on a single load of wood. This means that less refueling is needed, reducing the costs of the system even further. People who buy wood boilers do so to cut the costs of heating their home, but also do not want to be burdened with the need to go out into the cold on a frequent basis to get fresh bundles of wood. Some boilers can be combination systems that will switch to electric when the wood combustor is not creating enough heat for the home. A system like this means that on the coldest days where more heat is required, it is not necessary for the homeowner to get more wood. This is good news for anyone who wants a low fuss option that still has all the cost benefits of using alternative and renewable fuel sources.
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