Justin Anderson of the Charleston Daily Mail writes a good article about the shift occurring to wood burning stoves. Here's a summary of his article:
People are anticipating the cost of natural gas to go up this winter and are considering wood-burning stoves. In West Virginia alone, the state's seven largest suppliers of natural gas have asked the state Public Service Commission for rate increases ranging from 20 percent to 46 percent. The commission is expected to make a determination on setting a preliminary rate by Nov. 1.
Nationally, wood-burning stove sales are up 54 percent, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
In homes large enough for a central furnace, installing a wood stove in a frequently occupied room could save up to 40 percent on heating bills, the association estimates. Individual savings will vary, but will principally be determined by how willing the owner is to cut and chop their own wood.
If the homeowner has his or her own supply, a wood stove could pay for itself in about 3 years, If you're buying firewood, then it's about 5 years. Wood stoves start out at around $800.
The article also discusses pellet burning stoves, but the conclusions seem to be mixed on cost savings. If you're trying to keep the calories off and have a decent back, wood burning stoves are the way to go. I grew up using one as a child and split duties with my dad when it came to stoking the fire through the night.
More information on wood and pellet stoves can be found on the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association's Web site: http://www.hpba.org/. Justin Anderson's full article can be found here.