Heating your home with wood either exclusively or as an added heat source reduces electricity and fossil fuel consumption. There has been a revolution in stove design since the early 20th century. With the invention of pellet stoves and better combustion designs; wood stoves are actually a more efficient and ecologically sound way to provide whole house heating.
Increasing interest in alternative and sustainable heat sources prompted the wood stove industry to adopt EPA standards for stove production starting in the early 1990s. Improvements in design resulted in converting less wood into more heat with a 30 or better increase in efficiency and a 90 decrease in environmental impact.
Wood stoves and pellet stoves are remarkably similar in overall appearance. Pellet stoves burn compressed wood pellets made from recycled wood by-products, such as wood shavings from saw mills. The small pellets come conveniently packaged in 50 pound bags; making storage and loading the pellet stove clean and easy.
Fireplaces historically are inefficient in their use of fuel, and generally ineffective as a primary heat source. Their large fire boxes, open configurations, and poor radiant heat qualities have prompted the installation of a fireplace inserts. Inserts mimic wood stoves in their efficiency and design, use the existing chimney with minor modifications and slide into the fireplace fire box opening. Manufacturers are constantly working to improve the conventional fireplace.
EPA certified wood stoves come are catalytic or non-catalytic. Stoves configured with catalytic converters re-burn unspent fuel, creating more heat, and less pollution. Catalytic converter stoves leave less ash behind, provide greater BTU output per cord of wood; making them cost effective alternatives to conventional heat. Non-Catalytic stove use alternative technology to achieve similar results in efficiency.
Advanced forestry management practices have increased the sustainability of wood as a renewable heat source. Proper logging and harvesting techniques, combined with tree farms and reforestation programs, makes wood the ultimate eco-friendly fuel.