Cons: they produce a lot of low lying smoke that chokes neighborhoods. I wouldn't want one around my home. This statement is based on observations of the outdoor wood furnaces I've seen. Those who love them can argue all day about better ones not doing that, fuel type, etc but the reality is that is what I'm seeing. I imagine it does bad things to have that level of smog around your house.
Pros: ...I'm thinking... okay, you can burn almost anything in them... uh, wait, you're not supposed to burn junk wood, trash, etc. Scratch that pro. Well, I can't think of much in the ways of pros. Certainly having to go outside when it is 40Â°F below zero to stoke the fire is not my idea of fun.
Me, I'll take our little cottage with its little wood stove that burns about 3/4 full cords a year to keep it toasty warm. 40 cords, 20 cords, 12 cords, 7 cords, eek! Too much work cutting, splitting, stacking, feeding the fire, hauling ash, etc. I've got too much else to do.
Tip: If you have a big house consider closing down most of it and heating just the core in the winter. That is what we used to do with our old farm house. It helped. It's a traditional way of getting through the winter in the north country back before petro was so cheap and plentiful. Hmm... Maybe with rising prices and petro shortages we'll see a comeback of that idea.
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont