With fuel prices on the rise, wood heat is becoming a popular choice for many homes. The traditional style pot-bellied stove is a thing of the past. Modern wood stove feature improved safety and efficiency. Sophisticated new designs have doubled the energy efficiency of stoves, helping to reduce overall heating costs. Even better, the amount of smoke emitted by wood stoves has been reduced by an average of 90 percent. All wood-burning stoves and inserts sold today are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as clean-burning. They produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood than ever before. They can be sized to heat a family room, a small cottage, or a full-sized home. Burning wood also makes great sense from an environmental standpoint. As concern about global warming and greenhouse gases increases, so does the attraction of using renewable biomass for energy. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, replenishing the atmosphere. Most firewood comes from harvesting dead trees. Unlike fossil fuels, there is no net carbon contribution when burning wood, as those same gases are given off when the tree decomposes in nature.
Today, gas-burning hearth products are the most popular hearth category. Gas appliances, including fireplaces, inserts, and stoves have convenient optional features that allow you to have a beautiful fire at the touch of a switch, thermostat or even a remote control. The units will operate without power. There are two classifications of gas units available: direct vent and natural vent.
Direct-vent stoves, fireplaces and fireplace inserts vent in a revolutionary new way. By pulling air for the fire from outside the home and exhausting the burned gasses through the same vent system, the combustion process is completely sealed from the living area. This eliminates concerns about indoor air quality and results in a balanced burn that is not affected by fans or other drafts.
Natural draft stoves, fireplaces and inserts take air from inside the home and vent exhaust outside the home using an inexpensive (B vent) pipe similar to that used on furnaces or gas-fired water heaters. As with a conventional wood stove or fireplace, the pipe goes vertically through the roof. Natural draft raises concerns about indoor air quality. Back drafting can spill exhaust into living areas.
Pellets are a fuel option that answers the need for clean-burning, renewable energy. Pellets are made of compressed sawdust that might otherwise end up in landfills. Simply pour the pellets into a hopper which feeds automatically into the stove. Power is required to operate these units.
Oil stoves are an excellent choice for heating a home. They are able to deliver enough heat for up to a 2000-square-foot home, and can be turned down to burn rates as low as 1/16 gallon per hour for smaller homes. Oil stoves have a clean blue flame burn technology that vaporizes the fuel and burns at efficiencies of up to 81 percent. They burn soot free, smoke free, smell free and provide an even steady heat for your home. These units do not require power to operate.