Comparing Wood Fireplaces and Wood Burning Stoves

There is a lot to love about wood-burning heat sources, and they continue to be popular among homeowners. The top two wood burners are wood fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. The following comparison of the two appliances can help you decide which wood-burning heat source to choose for your home.
Wood Stoves: Modern wood stoves are strictly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and, as required, are highly efficient. Wood burning stoves help your supply of firewood last longer because the wood burns more slowly than wood burned in a fireplace. According to experts, you use one-third less firewood in a wood stove, in addition to the stove producing three times the heat. Wood stoves have efficiency ratings of up to 85%, which is another way of saying that using the appliance can help you cut utility costs in winter.
Fireplaces: Traditional masonry fireplaces, according to some studies, actually provide a negative amount of heat. In other words, more heat from your home is lost up the chimney during the winter season than is provided by the warmth of the fire.  While this may be true of older units, new innovations and technological advances have help create some pretty efficient open burning fireplaces, especially with pre-fab units. If you have an older, open burning wood fireplace, you probably experience some of the following:

  • The fires in a traditional fireplace are inefficient. A lot of air intake is used, which burns the wood quickly.
  • The heat from a fireplace doesn’t project into the room. In fact, up to 85% of the heat goes up the chimney rather than into your home.
  • When a fireplace isn’t being used, even with the damper closed, heated air from the home escapes up the chimney. Having a fireplace in your home can be like leaving a window open in the house year-around.

Keep in mind that the efficiency of a fireplace can be seriously upgraded if you have a fireplace insert installed.
Environmental Concerns
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces: Combustion in a modern wood stove is much more complete than in a fireplace, which means there is less particulate matter released into the air. This, along with using less firewood, makes the use of a wood stove a better choice for the environment.
Fireplaces: A masonry fireplace can be an absolutely stunning feature, and there is no limit to the level of artistry that can be applied to the architectural structure of it. There are many different choices of materials that can be used; and the mantel can be another aspect of the overall effect, though the absence of a mantel is an additional option that works best for some styles.
Wood Stoves: It is difficult to match the beauty of a purchased appliance with the possibilities of a custom-made fireplace. That said, no more are the days when all wood stoves looked alike. Modern wood stoves are available in many beautiful, even stunning styles. Choosing a wood stove is by no means a complete sacrifice of aesthetics.

Wood Stoves: The risks of using the two appliances are basically the same. An additional hazard with wood stoves is that children and pets could be harmed by touching it when hot.
Fireplaces: If the fireplace does not have a glass door, the added danger in having a traditional fireplace is that children or small pets could fall into the fire. If there are glass doors, touching them could cause a serious burn, as well.
Visit our showroom to see firsthand the many styles of wood fireplaces and wood burning stoves that there are to choose from. In our estimation, you can’t go wrong, either way.