Fireplace vs. Wood Burning Stove: Pros and Cons

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Fireplace

Many homeowners are installing a secondary heat source in preparation of colder weather. I’ve put together a list of pros and cons regarding wood burning stoves and fireplaces. Please let me know what you think by leaving me a comment in the comments section. I’d love to discuss this issue with you. Here we go…

Cost

I’ll start with the toughest one. I say it’s the toughest because purchase and installation prices vary greatly depending on several factors. A fireplace box, for example, is less expensive than an entire wood burning stove for obvious reasons. Because a fire box is just that, a box, it must be encased within a hearth. A wood burning stove doesn’t need a hearth, but does need a fireproof platform and surround. 

You’re probably looking at roughly $1,500 for either option. Maybe less, possibly more, as I said, it really depends on the other materials used as well.

Appearance

Fireplace Pros: A fireplace provides a feeling of warmth in a room whether or not it is currently burning a fire. They just add an ambiance that is unmatched by a wood burner. It also must be surrounded by a hearth, which can add a focal point for decor for the rest of the room.

Fireplace Cons: Requires constant supervision of the flame and embers. Doesn’t heat as efficiently as a wood burner because they heat differently. No way to control the speed of the burn without installing a door with a damper door.

Wood Burning Stove Pros: Modern elegant designs that create an old world ambiance. The best of both worlds. Large burn area for strong fires. Damper to allow as much or as little air to enter the stove as you wish to control the speed and heat of the burn.

Wood Burning Stove Cons: They’re big and bulky, and take up quite a lot of space due to clearance requirements. They aren’t as pleasing to the eye as a fireplace, though they may be dressed up to be very attractive. 

Efficiency

Fireplaces provide heat, but a lot of their heat escapes through the chimney. They use quite a bit of wood for the heat they do produce. Most of the heat you’ll feel from a fireplace comes from the radiant heat through the hearth. I suppose this is both a pro and a con, so I’ll skip to wood stoves, now.

The heating efficiency of a wood burning stove is about 85%. Most of the heat is absorbed by the stove itself and radiated throughout the room. They use less firewood than a fireplace because you can control the burn much more easily and effectively.

The Ultimate Decision

The decision is ultimately yours, as the homeowner. You can read blogs like mine and get a good idea of what would work best for your needs, but when it comes time to dish out the money for the materials and installation; that’s all you. I’m sure you have an idea of what you would like to install, and I hope the information you find within my blog will help you make an informed decision.

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