The Difference Between Wood Fireplaces and Wood Stoves?
We all know they look the same and both burn wood logs, but in what ways do wood fireplaces and wood stoves differ? Actually there are a number of ways. Here are some of them, which you can keep in mind if you’re looking to purchase either type of appliance.
Modern wood stoves are highly efficient and bring a lot of heat to an appropriate-size room. They’re regulated by the EPA to operate at up to 85-percent efficiency, making them smart choices if your goal is a reduction in heating bills.
Wood fireplaces, particularly older ones, aren’t nearly as good at heating a home as a stove. Most of the heat goes up the chimney, and some studies suggest this results in negative heat, with more heat lost than produced.
When you burn wood in any manner, some particulate matter is released into the atmosphere. The amount depends on how thorough the combustion is. Wood stoves win in this area.
Wood fireplaces are not considered efficient combustion appliances, but like stoves they’re “carbon-neutral,” meaning that the equivalent amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere is absorbed by trees and other plants for a zero-effect on the environment. (This is not the case with any other type of fuel.)
The majority of chimney fires are caused by the ignition of creosote, a smoke by-product, which builds up on the inner walls of the chimney. Hotter fires reduce the production of creosote, but wood fireplaces normally don’t reach this burn temperature. Annual chimney cleaning will make a wood-burning fireplace much safer.
Wood stoves burn very hot and create less of a creosote problem. They still have to be inspected and serviced regularly, but the process isn’t nearly as involved as with wood fireplaces.
A safety concern with wood stoves is that children or pets playing around them can get burned by the hot exterior. With a wood fireplace, glass doors also can become very hot and cause injury. A heat-resistant fireplace screen can be purchased to keep kids and pets away from the flames and to keep embers and sparks inside the firebox.
Both types of appliances require some labor in acquiring and hauling logs and getting fires started, but you’ll generally burn less wood in a stove. Another thing that makes stoves more convenient is that they can be placed in various areas of the house. This is good when zone heating is important.
Wood stoves have come a long way in terms of design and eye-appeal, but for traditional beauty and ambience, you can’t beat a big, roaring fireplace. Enhancing the look of wood fireplaces are the many accessories available such as handsome surrounds and stately mantels. With these additions, an entire room can be transformed.
A new wood stove, however, also can be a design factor in a home. A wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and finishes are available to allow you to perfectly match your current décor.
So will it be a wood fireplace or a wood stove? Why not let the experts at Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, Ga., help you decide? Visit us at 1155 McFarland 400 Drive and discover which type and model of appliance would be the ideal addition to your home. You can reach us by phone at (770) 691-6707.