Wood-Burning Fireplace versus Wood-Burning Stove
A wood-burning heat source is a great choice. It can be tough, however, to decide between a wood-burning open hearth fireplace and a wood stove. Each has its own advantages. Let’s compare the features of both, which can help you make the right decision for you and your home. We’ll leave cost out of the equation, since a lot depends on the unit you choose and what is required to complete installation. We’ll compare the following factors: Environmental friendliness, aesthetics, safety, and efficiency.
Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel source and is considered environmentally safe for burning. Carbon monoxide fumes are a consideration, however; it is a deadly toxin that is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. Some carbon monoxide is always released in the combustion gases of a fire. With a fireplace, there is a greater chance that the hazardous fumes will enter your home instead of go up the chimney. The back draft could be caused by downdrafts and chimney obstructions. If the chimney liner is damaged, the result could be dangerous fumes entering your home; this is a problem with a fireplace or a wood stove, however.
With wood stoves, there will be less pollution, since the appliances are highly efficient with much higher efficiency ratings. Because more of the fire’s energy goes toward heating your home as opposed to going up the chimney, modern wood stoves are very environmentally friendly.
1 Point – Wood stoves
There is arguably nothing to compare with the beauty of a masonry fireplace. The possibilities of design are endless and can be breathtaking. Whether a fireplace has intricate tiling, rustic bricks, a modern look, or the elegance of marble, it will invariably be the centerpiece of any home. While wood stoves come in many beautiful designs to match any décor, they just don’t add the same ambiance to a room that a fireplace does in any season of the year. In fact, freestanding wood stoves can have a dreary appearance when not in use. When it comes to aesthetics, fireplaces win over wood stoves virtually every time.
1 Point – Fireplaces
Some challenges and hazards naturally come with wood-burning, such as the following:
- When you bring firewood into your home, pests, mildew, and small creatures can be inside the logs.
- Wood causes highly flammable creosote to build up in your chimney liner, which can cause a dangerous chimney fire; chimney fires should be taken very seriously because they can lead to house fires.
- Sparks can pop out of the fireplace and cause injury and property damage – hot embers can even start a house fire.
- The mesh curtains on many fireplaces provide minimal protection against sparks. We suggest placing a protective screen in front of the fireplace in addition to the mesh.
- Fires are more secure behind the doors of a wood-burning stove, though sparks can be a problem when tending the fire.
- If you have small children or pets, there is a greater hazard of them falling into the fire, if a protective screen isn’t placed in front of the fireplace. Wood stoves are safer in that respect, but there is the danger of being burned by touching the stove.
Tie – 1 Point each to Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
Wood is the least expensive type of fuel source. The level of efficiency can be determined by how much firewood needs to be burned to produce the same amount of heat, between fireplaces and wood stoves. The fact is that fireplaces are the least efficient heating source, with a heating efficiency of only about 10%, which means that about 90% of the fire’s energy goes up the chimney. Wood stoves can provide three times the heat of a fireplace using one-third less firewood. There is no doubt about it that modern wood stoves beat out fireplaces hands down in the area of efficiency.
Tiebreaking Point – Wood Stoves
This contest may not exactly be a fair judgment of what the best wood-burning heat source is for you because aesthetics may be the only factor you consider to be of real importance. And this article didn’t explore the benefits of fireplace inserts or factory-built fireplaces, which are much more efficient than open hearth fireplaces. Anyone who has been on the fence about the wood-burning appliance to choose may find that a wood stove provides more benefits. You can’t go wrong, whichever choice you make. Contact us today for more information or to have your new wood-burning appliance professionally installed.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004