As I look out the window at the leaves falling, I can only think of one thing, the cold weather is on its way. That is why last week I finally pulled the trigger; I bought a wood stove insert to update my existing fireplace.
(Be sure to checkout the video below)
A fireplace is on many homeowners short list of wants/amenities when purchasing a home. If you have never had a fireplace before, there are many surprises that you are presented with once you become the proud owner of a home with one installed. (Editors Note: When I refer to fireplace, I am referring to a traditional wood-burning fireplace with a metal damper. I know there are many energy efficient fireplaces that may not have the same problems.)
- Nice Room Focal Point
- Ambiance – Real Wood Burning Fire
- Reselling Value
- Smokey When Burning Wood
- Short Wood Burning Time
- Uncontained Flame
- Can’t Leave Unattended (Dangerous)
- VERY DRAFTY WHEN NOT BURNING WOOD!
That’s right, when you don’t have a roaring fire in this bad boy, the cold air rushes down the chimney and into your house (even if your damper is operational). If you think your windows are drafty, stand next to a traditional fireplace on a cold New England winter day. You won’t stand there for long. So what can you do?
- Do Nothing: Leave it as is and enjoy the fireplace while losing copious amounts of heat.
- Don’t use the fireplace and plug it up with insulation (previous owners of my house did this).
- Convert to a Gas Fireplace
- Covert to a Pellet Stove
- Convert to a Wood Burning Stove Insert (What I did)
So why did I opt for option #5? Several reasons, and I will discuss them all below. To sum it up, I felt a Wood Burning Stove Insert had the most positives out of all of my options (and I thought about this for a solid year).
I knew I needed to address the heat lose issue but did not want to loose the functionality of my fireplace completely. I like having a roaring fire during NFL Sunday (while yelling at my fantasy football team). This meant option #1 and #2 were out. I considered converting to a gas fireplace but didn’t have a good place to put the large propane tank. And the reason I didn’t move forward with the pellet stove was I am nostalgic for a real piece of wood burning and I have a fully functional chimney (why not use it). That left me with only one choice…
I ended up going with the Country Performer Wood Stove Insert (by Lennox). The advantages of purchasing a unit like this go on forever…
- Cap the Chimney – The installers ran a stainless steel pipe up the chimney and capped it off at the top, stopping the cold air from flowing back into my house.
- Burns Real Wood – My nostalgia is safe because this type of stove burns real wood.
- Long Burn Times – This unit, in particular, burns extremely efficiently. It is not uncommon to get an 8-hour burn time from a fully loaded stove. The unit is so efficient, it actually burns the smoke. If you look outside of the house you see white smoke exiting!
- Burns Hot – This stove really throws the heat once it is warmed up. There are firestones lined inside the stainless steel shell. These help to produce a steady radiating warmth that can easily heat my 1800 SqFt home.
- No Smoke Smell – The fireplace is 100% sealed so no smoke enters the house.
- Lots of Glass– Some stoves barely have any glass, leaving you with plenty of heat but no ambiance. Country’s stove includes a large pane of glass and a unique airwash system that keeps the glass clean and clear for a wide-open view of the fire.
- Tax Credit – You can still receive up to 30% back up to $1500 if you install a high-efficiency stove this year.
So that’s it. I have been burning wood in my new stove for about one week and have no complaints. I will be sure to update this post once we are further into this seasons winter months with long-term results. Be sure to checkout the video below for a slide show including before and after shots as well as some great shots of the stove in action.
Where to buy? I bought my stove from a Rhode Island wood stove company: Fireside
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