Tired of being one of the “folks dressed up like Eskimos” in your own home? Is the crackling of a fireside flame what you desire, but is your home not equipped with a fireplace? Not to worry, there are other cost-effective options that can supplement your home’s heating system. The most popular alternatives to a traditional fireplace are fireplace inserts and pellet and wood stoves.
Fireplace inserts, while a source of heat, provide an aesthetic appeal, offering that warm and cozy atmosphere, which often comes to mind with mention of the Yule log burning. However, keep in mind that a traditional fireplace could actually draw out heat if it is drafty; thus for the fireplace insert to be most effective, it is crucial to that the flue and damper as well as the placement of the chimney liner are in the proper position and are in adequate working order. To ensure, seek the services of professional installers.
Serving as an alternative source to your home’s traditional heating system, the pellet stove is relatively the most versatile. Controlled by a thermostat, most are self-igniting and can be equipped with remote controls. These stoves are designed to be fed small wood pieces, pellets, into their chamber, thereby producing heat. A pellet stove offers not only heat, but more convenience for the homeowner since pellets can be bought in bulk. Consumers can choose from the standard grade pellet or a premium grade which may cost more, but, contains less ash and therefore burns cleaner than the standard grade. Since pellet stoves can be lit manually or by way of an automatic igniter, as with any electric appliance, it is advisable to have a back-up generator in the event of a power outage.
Gaining in popularity over the last few years is the wood stove. Wood is fed into the chamber of the stove, similar to the way in which one would build a fire in a hearth of a traditional fireplace. There is a wide selection of styles and sizes to choose from and can either be installed inside an existing fireplace or as a stand-alone fixture. Please note that it is important to seek the services of a licensed professional, as it will require creating a hole to properly place and install the stove’s exhaust pipe.
While the total cost of the stove and its installation may seem high, the amount of usage and average savings can show a substantial return on your monthly heating bill. Some wood stoves have the capability to heat spaces of up to 2,500 square feet. According to the Hearth, Barbecue and Patio Association (HPBA), subject to the model’s size and thereby proportional efficiency, internal temperatures can range from around 500 to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, it is an investment that can ultimately prove to pay for itself!
Need help deciding? Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when considering which option is the best for your family and your home:
1. Do you wish to use the stove as the primary source of heat?
2. How often do you see yourself/your family using the stove?
3. Will it be used as an alternative to your home’s existing heating system?
4. Do you plan to use it on weekends only?
5. How large is the space you wish to heat?
6. What is your budget?
7. Are there payment plans available?
8. Are there regulations and/or permits required by the municipality (more specifically for installation)?
Many homeowners are looking to find ways to heat their homes without burning through their savings. Whichever option you decide, the return on your utility bill may be enough to keep you warm all winter long.