How to Heat a Homestead in 6 Different Ways

by HomeSteadHow

We're going to tell you about all the different ways we heat our homestead, including the big green monster we have in our backyard. This is the homestead heating we use, and we want to show you how it works for us. It's an outdoor wood-burning furnace, so let's start with the basics.

Outdoor wood burner

Outdoor wood burner

We have a central boiler outdoor wood burner. Why is it outside, you might ask? The answer is because it's big. You can put huge logs in the firebox, and a ton of water is in it. It heats the water and then gets pumped through these pumps into our house.

The reason you want something like this is to heat multiple units. If we had one small house, we'd only use our indoor wood burner, but because we have a large homestead, we have two properties and two furnaces, so we use this unit. It also heats all of our hot water. With six people in our family, we go through a lot of hot water. 

You'd want something like this because if you have many different areas to heat, there are two pumps in there. This makes all of our hot water, heats our upstairs rental unit, heats our house, and also heats our garage. We could also add a third pump if we wanted to heat a hot tub, pool, or another outbuilding like a greenhouse. 

That is our outdoor wood burner. It works with wood, with lots of firewood that we have to cut yearly. It's a lot of work, and they're expensive to install.

Indoor wood burner

Indoor wood burner

This is the primary way I would like to heat our homestead if we didn't have a large ranch and two separate units. If you're new to homesteading, or you're going to become a homesteader, strongly consider one of these indoor wood burners.

They put out a ton of heat and are not too expensive. They're cozy. They create light. There's nothing like firing this thing up on the first winter day, and everyone gathers around it. This is the heart of our homestead. 

The units themselves are a couple of chimneys and exhaust. Part of it can be even more expensive than the unit itself, so be sure to price that out if you're looking.

Our unit also has an electric fan on the back of it. You plug that into the wall, turn it on, and it circulates the air nicely. This could heat an entire homestead if you had a smaller two-story homestead. I'd strongly recommend checking into one of these. 

Propane furnace

Propane furnace

This is our propane furnace. This is the furnace that most households have. This runs on propane, but if you live in the city, you could run on natural gas. Ours is slightly different because you see these tubes coming into it.

This is from our outdoor wood burner. That's 180 degrees coming from our outdoor wood burner, which comes in and gets pumped through these pipes.

So we can run this furnace on either propane or boiling water. You turn the furnace fan on. The fan blows through these hot pipes and heats the entire house. You don't waste any propane. 

This furnace is for our upstairs rental unit; this is the second way we heat our house. We have propane as a backup if we're not using the outdoor wood burner. The propane comes, and they put it in a tank, or some places have natural gas.

Before we added our outdoor wood burner, the previous owners only used propane. 

Hot water heating

Hot water heating

Let's show you another way we're heating our homestead. Our homestead was not livable when we first moved in, so everything had to be remodeled, and much of that happened out of our workshop.

In central Wisconsin, it gets really cold. So when we put in our outdoor wood burner, we also added this. This heater uses water from the outdoor wood burner. 

That water gets pumped through the heater, and there's a little electric fan on the back. The fan turns on, and it blows the hot air in here. We have a large garage, and this unit heats the entire thing quickly. We have a little thermostat that we put on the electric fan, and the thermostat detects the garage's temperature.

If it goes under 60 degrees, it'll kick on, and we can have it go on until it gets to 65 degrees, so it's not running all the time. I don't always have water going through this. It depends on the time of year. 

So hot water is another way to heat your homestead. 

How to heat a homestead

Propane heater 

Another way we're heating our homestead is in our homestead dog kennel. The way we heat this is with propane. We use a little propane heater. There's no electricity; there's no fan. We have a little propane tank outside that we have to fill up now and then.

That heats this entire building, keeping it nice and toasty warm on the coldest days of winter. I believe we paid about $300 for this unit. You turn it on, and the propane comes up, radiates, and heats a room this size. This room is about ten by 14, and it heats up, no problem. 

These could be an excellent option for your homestead outbuilding, especially if you don't have electricity. The only thing we need to run this is propane. 

How to heat a homestead

Those are the multiple ways we heat our homestead and our outbuildings. How are you heating your place? Would you do anything differently? Comment below.

Join the conversation
  • Jul50435034 Jul50435034 on Jan 20, 2023

    Thank you for sharing your time and definitely knowledgeable experience, I do appreciate it . Blessings to You and Your Family.

  • Debi Dye Brock Debi Dye Brock on Jan 20, 2023

    I live in Ohio and haven't had a furnace or anything for 12 yrs. I use electric heaters in bathroom and bedroom and keep unused rooms door closed and use heavy curtains to close off areas without a door like open areas. I wearbsweats at home, the dogs what sweaters and we are fine. I'd get too hot with heat on all the time

    • June June on Jan 10, 2024

      How much is your electric bill now?