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Choosing Between Wood Fireplaces & Wood Stoves

Wood burning stoveIf you’ve settled on using a wood-burning heat source, you’ve made a great choice. There are numerous benefits to wood-burning, including the fact that wood is the most inexpensive and sustainable type of fuel. If you are having trouble deciding between a fireplace and a wood stove, maybe we can help. Because a lot of factors that can determine cost, we’ll consider other factors; namely appearance, efficiency, safety, and environmental friendliness.

Appearance

Fireplaces are the number one amenity buyers look for in a new home. A fireplace is the focal point of any room and come in an endless variety of designs. Whether a marble fireplace that creates an ambiance of Old World elegance or a fireplace made with rustic bricks, colorful tiling, or a modern look, seldom does a home have a more eye-pleasing feature.

Wood stoves are available in beautiful designs to suit anyone’s tastes, but the appliances can’t match the ambiance created by a fireplace.

Top pick for appearance: Fireplaces

Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, fireplaces just don’t measure up. Approximately 80% to 90% of the heat in a fireplace is lost up the chimney. In addition, the drafting system results in a quick-burning fire that requires plenty of logs to keep it going.

Modern wood stoves, on the other hand, can be highly efficient. With efficiency ratings of up to 85% or more, wood stoves convert the fire into useful heat that should provide plenty of warmth for your home. Using one-third less firewood, wood stoves produce three times the heat of fireplaces.

Top pick for efficiency: Wood stoves

Safety

There are some inherent dangers that come along with wood-burning. The following are safety issues for fireplaces and wood stoves, and many apply to both:

  • Hauling logs into your home makes it vulnerable to mildew, small creatures, and pests that may be in the firewood.
  • Firewood can pop, sending sparks into the room that can cause injuries, damage, and house fires.
  • Fireplaces have mesh curtains, but they are often not sufficient to prevent sparks from escaping. It’s important to also place a protective screen on the hearth. With wood stoves, the risk of sparks escaping is limited to when the door is open for tending the fire.
  • The greatest danger to small children and pets with a fireplace is the chance that they will fall into the fire. With a wood stove, the biggest hazard is that they can be burned by touching the stove.

Environmental Friendliness

Wood Burning FireplaceUnlike other available fuel sources, wood is carbon-neutral and environmentally friendly. The combustion gases released in a fire do, however, contain deadly carbon monoxide fumes. A down draft or back draft could cause these dangerous fumes to spill into your home rather than escape through the chimney; this is less of a problem with wood stoves. What is equally dangerous among fireplaces and wood stoves is that a damaged liner can expose the home to deadly fumes, as well.

Wood stoves do a better job than fireplaces of efficiently burning the firewood, which means they cause less pollution.

Top pick for environmental friendliness: Wood stoves

While it may appear wood stoves win in a direct comparison with fireplaces, what is actually best for any individual or family is a matter of personal choice. Upgrades for fireplaces are available, such as fireplace inserts and glass doors, which make them more competitive as far as efficiency. If you have any questions about a wood-burning appliance or need a new appliance installed, give our chimney professionals a call.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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