Fireplace vs. Wood Burning Stove – How Do You Choose?

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The ability to use the fireplace or wood stove to supplement the heating during the winter, substitute during a power outage, or enjoy a relaxing or romantic evening is something many homeowners enjoy. But how did they get to that point? How do you choose between a fireplace and a wood stove? Which one is more efficient for the price? That’s what we’re going to look at for this blog post.

Aesthetics

We’ll start with good looks, because that’s what home improvement is all about. Okay, not entirely, but when given the choice, people tend to choose aesthetic appeal in addition to functionality. A fireplace allows you to see the open flame and hear the cracking and popping of the fire.

Many people think of a big black cast iron stove with no embellishments when they think of a wood burning stove. Fortunately, they’ve come a long way in previous years. Today’s wood stoves are very attractive and can be installed without requiring an entire corner of your home.

Safety

All wood burning introduces some hazards including the dangers of carbon monoxide and fire. Every homeowner needs to implement safety parameters for all members of the family in regards to the wood burning stove. Both units also require the addition of carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, fireplace grates, and other safety equipment.

Efficiency

This is a pretty big one. We all want to know that our money and our wood are used efficiently. Wood fireplaces are great for heating a single room. The EPA states that a wood stove is potentially up to 50% more efficient than a fireplace because of the additional radiant heat and the fact that a wood burning stove uses air from inside your home to produce heat.

Purchase Price

We finally get to the price point. Without going into too much detail, a fireplace costs roughly $3,000 to $4,500 fully installed where a wood stove can be upwards of $5,000 to $7,000 depending on ventilation.

The Nutshell

  • Aesthetics: Advances in wood stove design make the aesthetic appeal a very personal choice. The wood burning stove, depending on type, may require more space than the fireplace. The fireplace also offers the ability to have a nice hearth flush to the wall, often making it the preferred choice.
  • Safety: Both units offer an equal amount of safety. Homeowners are responsible for the safety of children, the elderly, and pets around open flame.
  • Efficiency: The wood burning stove is more efficient.
  • Price: The fireplace is generally the cheaper alternative.

Lou Curley’s Chimney Service

We’re located in Drexel Hill and provide all types of chimney services to homeowners and commercial property owners in the surrounding areas and along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for a consultation, a chimney inspection, or chimney cleaning.

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