Winter heat poll this is Prep

  • Wood
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating oil
  • Electric
  • Propane (bottled)
  • Running around in 10 layers
0 voters

Live in the Pacific northwet. Lots of trees. Wood be good.
We also use propane. Like to keep 6 bottles around, just in case.
More apt to be used for the smelter than heat.


Depends on the weather and outside temp’.

If it’s 20 degrees or above and the humidity is such that the heat pumps won’t frost over (I hate that!) we use the heat pumps (electric).

If they frost over I switch to fuel oil. Below 20 degrees for 24 hours or more I light the woodstove, the big guns. We far prefer the quality of the steady heat and it’s good down to, well, it hasn’t gotten cold enough not to heat us sufficiently enough for comfort yet and <-20 is common. I have never pushed what the wood stove is truly capable of even at -20F, never needed to. FWIW, the heat pumps also have the same steady heat quality. Oil heat is constantly up and down, it’s the pits and we really don’t like it.


I would have added “put on a long-sleeve shirt” option for Texas. It even gets below freezing occasionally. :cold_face:


Primary wood, propane back-up


I was in Killeen in early 90’s and they had a ice storm that literally stopped everything…the whole place was a skating rink…


1 - NG.
2 - Wood
3 - Propane 6-20 Lb + 3 -30’s
4 - Gas for 3 generators.


Yep, I’ve been in plenty of those skating rink roads. It is best to stay home if you can. It is irrelevant how well you can drive on ice or snow. There are lots of people out there who can’t, but do, drive on it.


Lots of folks can drive on them but just stay home out of choice. I can, but there are idiots out there who should stay home so I yield the roads to them, it’s safer and easier. I’ve pulled lots of them out of ditches. Driving speed is greatly reduced and following distance is greatly increased. It’s not unheard of to go up or down a hill each vehicle taking it’s turn. Those of us in the snow and ice belt prepare since it’s not a question of an “if” event but “how many” events. I just put $800 worth of snow and ice tires on my new truck for winter (Dunlop wintermaxx SJ8). Down south you might need to order them but why would you want them? Just stay home. Here in Maine I just drove in and bought them out of in house stock from Town Fair Tire.

FWIW, the really good snow and ice tires have a snowflake and mountain emblem molded into the sidewall. I told my salesman I wouldn’t consider anything else and he told me that not many folks even know of that*. I’ve used them for decades and I swear if the trees are covered in ice my vehicle with them mounted will climb it. My previous snow and ice tires could be run year round. These Dunlops suggest not running them in temps over 45 degrees. I hope to test them before (if) we get any blizzards this year. It would be nice to not need to put chains on the rear. But with chains I can plow anything not higher than my truck snowplow. 36" of snow hasn’t too much in years past. I’ve done it and pushed the snowbanks 7-8’ high. But not w/o chains on. Maybe the current tech tires will be magic? My last were 16 years old and things have changed.

  • They have a special rubber that stays flexible in really cold temps. Normal rubber gets hard and loses traction in the cold. These tires in discussion have “stud grip” without studs. No way to put studs in them and it would be ridiculous to try since studs will reduce their grip. Many tire makers have this type of snow and ice tire. Look for the snowflake/mountain emblem. It’s sometimes not easy to see.

Central HVAC, Natural gas furnace with heat pump and A/C and. Propane for back up


Well, I see wood and Natural Gas top the poll.
I am thinking of going with some wood heat also. :thinking:
Possibly wood pellet stove
More like a supplemental to the natural gas to help bring the cost of it down . In Jan and Feb and March my gas bill can reach 300+.
With that said anyone have a recommendation for a pellet stove.


Just a comment or 3 about pellet stoves. You’re tied into always burning pellets and they require power to run. What that means is that it can’t be used in a power outage, and if you have a source of actual wood it can’t be used.

I’ve known folks who put in pellet stoves and hated the electric bill at the end of the month. But they can be filled and run by themselves when no one is home. A banked fire in a wood stove will last all night or all day and come alive once more wood is placed inside.

OK, that’s it that’s all I know about them.


I gave one a go for one year.

While there’s a convenience factor, and they are not quite as dirty as firewood, I find wood trumps.

First is supply, while you could get a :

you would still need the wood to make them, short of that you’re forced to buy pellets

The price keeps going up and up, and places do run out, so you need to buy a good half dozen tons or so for stock

With wood you can often find your own supply, of course its more labor intensive

Mess, pellets make a lot of fine ash, its a pain and has to dealt with regularly,

pipes need to be maintained

As Brian said they require electric, they have electric augers, fans and PC control bards,
look for used units for sale and you’ll find them for sale cheap needing repair, I seen a 4k unit for a few hundred bucks and the listing said it needed a PC board that was unavailable

While I wouldn’t rule them out 100% I burn wood


Well, after that enlightening information @BrianK and @Robert , you convinced me its wood stove all the way.


You should find wood stoves with an 80% efficiency and that means that they’ll burn clean. When burning properly you’ll see no smoke coming out of the chimney, just heat shimmer. There is cast iron or steel. You want steel. It’ll be less expensive (but won’t be cheap) and heats up faster and conducts heat better with no potential cracking from being heated too rapidly.

When looking at wood stoves just make sure the ash collector underneath is large to hold lots of ashes. Years ago when we were looking for a new wood stove we went to a shop that catered to folks who wanted wood stoves in name only but not really woodstoves for actual heating use. The ash receptacles underneath were at best toylike and not designed for the amount of ash produced for using the stove for real time heat. You’ll also need tools but they needn’t be expensive. The tools I bought decades ago are still in use and I didn’t pay alot for them. You’ll need a poker and a sort of ash “hoe”. Those are what you’ll use mostly, but the set will come with other tools as well. I have a blowpipe that I use for reviving coals in the morning. It beats the heck out of putting my head in the stove and blowing with my mouth. It looks like an old time auto antenna, and yes, it collapses like an old time antenna.

Here are 2 links for blowpipes. Mine is like the 2nd one but I didn’t pay that for the 2 they sent me. That’s robbery!


Another option is presto logs, same concept as pellets but much larger form and you don’t need all the whirly gadgets to burn them, just a good quality airtight stove. Not quite as convenient as pellets because you are using a log stove that needs to be hand fed. Same as with the pellets you need dry storage or you’ll have a pile of mushy sawdust. Don’t know if that is an option in your area or not.

As for heat source I have a beast of a wood stove not an airtight, I learned long ago not to get wrapped up in the perfect species of wood, here it is western larch or Douglas fir, both pines. It is harder to find and you spend time looking and driving around adding to the cost. Close to gather and free to get and easy to access are key.

In your area if there is good source for actual hardwoods you are lucky IMO as they are a better wood to burn. Here we have very few, birch being a primary. But again unless you own land with it growing on it there is a cost to go find and gather.

Another thing you’ll want to know is how dirty your chimney gets and how fast creosote or soot builds up in your system. Chimney fires suck and scare the holy hell outta ya when one happens.


I’m thinking about more wood heat tips.

I like fresh air even in the winter. Our woodstove has a connection for outside air… OK let me backtrack, if you’re throwing combustion products out the chimney that air has to come from somewhere. You can either supply it to the stove from outside or it will draw it from cracks in your home that you don’t know you have and have no control over. I supply the outdoor air to the stove through ducting. But back to the fresh air. I have a diverter in the duct and covers where I can bring air into our home and prewarm it on the wood stove before it gets into the living space, and the stove grabs air for combustion in the same area from the living space. But that does lower the efficiency of heating the space. The other way I can feed the stove combustion air is by closing the covers and allowing the air to go directly into the wood stove. When it’s really cold outside, -10F or lower that’s the way I give the stove it’s combustion air. I sacrifice fresh air coming into the living space in the interest of heating efficiency. That ultra cold air is also incredibly dry so putting it into the wood stove helps save our dry winter skin. You probably don’t get the snow we do, but I got tired of shoveling out the combustion air intake so I raised it up to under the eaves at least 10’ high and put a downturn on the intake with a screen. I haven’t had to shovel it out since and life is easier. That might be overkill for you but I had to pass it on.


I have seen systems similar and they do work and if Stan is someone who likes adding on, it’s a good tip, but not necessary to burn a wood stove.


Pretty sure I wrote that.


Well ,I did a search myself and came up with …