outdoor wood pellets burning for outdoor wood stove

How Do Outdoor Wood Stoves Work?

In Appliances, Outdoors by Jamie

Are you looking for a home heating alternative to gas, electric, or other costly means of keeping warm? Outdoor wood stoves are the perfect substitute for its more modern alternatives. But how exactly does this type of heating system work?

Outdoor wood stoves work to indirectly heat a home without the worry of fire damage indoors. To operate, the wood stove works to heat up a water reservoir before sending water through hoses that are underneath your home. A heat exchanger is attached to your furnace, which then allows the heat from the water to transfer to your furnace.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how an outdoor wood stove works. We’ll also compare the difference between a few different heating systems that are similar to wood stoves.

What is an Outdoor Wood Stove?

An outdoor wood stove is extremely similar to its indoor counterpart. However, it heavily reduces the risk for unpleasant smells, fire damage, and air pollution that accrues with an indoor wood stove. Also, instead of directly heating your home with fire as an indoor wood stove does, outdoor stoves use a boiler system instead.

What is the Purpose of an Outdoor Wood Stove?

The purpose of an outdoor wood stove is to serve as an alternative heating method to other mainstream methods like gas or electric. Through the indirect boiler system it uses, an outdoor wood stove can adequately heat a home.

What’s the Difference Between Outdoor Wood Stoves, Wood Boilers, and Wood Furnaces?

The outdoor wood stove differs from a wood boiler in that the stove is the physical stove that sits outside of your home while the wood boiler refers to the part of the system that heats your home. On the other hand, wood furnaces simply refer to indoor wood stoves. We know indoor stoves differ from their outdoor counterparts in that they heat directly while outdoor stoves work indirectly.

How Far from the House Should an Outdoor Wood Stove Be?

To ensure your safety and to protect your home, an outdoor wood stove should be placed no closer than 25 feet to the nearest building and 500 feet from the nearest neighbor building. Wood should also be stored at least 20 feet away from the stove to avoid potential blitz fires.

Are Outdoor Wood Stoves Dangerous?

Generally speaking, outdoor wood stoves are far less dangerous than their indoor counterpart. Prolonged exposure to wood smoke has the opportunity to affect a person’s breathing. This then causes fits of coughing, wheezing, and asthma which can also contribute to a more serious health issue if left untreated.

With that said, this is really only a concern with indoor wood stoves. Because outdoor wood stoves don’t rely on direct heat, you aren’t dealing with the smoke coming from a burning log like you would with an indoor stove.

How Much Does it Cost to Install an Outdoor Wood Stove?

The average range for installation of an outdoor wood stove falls in between $8,0000-$20,000 depending on your location and the company you use. Although this is certainly a heftier investment, it may be worth it if you’ve been looking for an alternative method of home heating without worrying about losing efficiency.

How Long Will an Outdoor Wood Stove Burn for?

The amount of time a wood stove will burn greatly depends on the type of wood you use in the stove. Dry wood tends to burn much more effectively as damp wood creates significantly more smoke. With that said, wood will usually burn efficiently for anywhere between 72-96 hours during the Summer when working to heat a home and pool at the same time.

Where Do the Ashes from an Outdoor Wood Stove Go?

Outdoor wood stove ashes will usually pile around the logs you use after they’ve burnt for a while. When this happens, you can use a shovel to remove excess ash to allow more space for the logs to burn. If your wood stove becomes too congested, you aren’t going to be able to keep a fire going and the ash can actually get into the air around you.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor wood stoves are an excellent heating alternative and they aren’t all that difficult to figure out either. Although they’re a more intense investment, they can help heat your home efficiently and more sustainably than with gas or electricity.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.