Before you even think of looking at the different wood furnaces on the market today, check your local regulations. They are not permitted in many locations. Many locations will allow indoor furnaces but not outdoor, some will not allow them at all. In most places that do allow wood furnaces, they are not allowed in multi-family dwellings. Call your insurance company and see if the wood furnace is covered by your insurance or if you need to increase your coverage. Check the efficiency rating of the unit you are interested in and ask if it qualifies you for any tax incentives. Good groundwork at the beginning takes care of any problems you could run into down the road.
Wood, unlike fossil fuels, is a renewable resource. Burning wood releases the same amount of carbon dioxide that would be released if the tree was allowed to rot. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, result in an increase in the level of carbon dioxide. Removing old trees gives the younger trees more room to grow.
Outdoor Wood Furnace Features
Outdoor wood burning furnaces can be located from 30 to 500 feet away from the house. It will work in conjunction with your existing heating system. The furnace heats water in the water jacket that surrounds the unit and it sends the hot water to the house and any outbuildings though pipes in the ground. A water to water exchanger can be added to supply the home with hot water as well as heat and the old hot water heated can be sent packing.
Indoor Furnace Features
There have been tremendous advances in indoor wood furnaces. One of the biggest concerns regarding indoor wood burning furnaces as been the smoke and creosote escaping inside the home, which is a big health factor for someone with allergies. Newer models either have a catalytic converter or other device that stops almost all of the harmful products from being released. Chimneys do not have to be cleaned out as often. A unit with a stack temperature below 325 degrees F has high heat extractin efficiency. Heat sensors keep track of the temperature in the fire chamber. Electronic controls regulate the amount of air that enters the fire chamber. There are units that convert wood to gas and the gas is actually what is burned.
Different manufacturers will have different features, but the wood burning furnaces of today are far and away more superior than they used to be. There are a lot of differences between indoor and outdoor furnaces. Deciding which one is right for you is more than just the indoor outdoor issue.