1406 Lake Shore Drive East - Ashland, WI 54806
715-682-4331 Phone 715-682-5559 Fax
Formally “Stove & Upholstery Works”
The Types of Hearth Units
Wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and inserts: Most firewood grows locally, is abundant, inexpensive and “comes from harvesting dead trees,” according to the HPBA consumer report. Unlike with fossil fuels, no net carbon is released into the environment when wood is burned because the same gases are given off when the tree decomposes the report states.
With new technology, wood stoves are capable of heating an entire house, as long as it’s well constructed with enough insulation, HPBA reports. The drawback to burning wood is you have to empty the ashes more often, Crouch says, and to split, stock, dry and season the wood to meet federal standards.
Stricter government regulations are helping to improve air quality, promoting cleaner-burning appliances, Wheeler says. Newer models allow for a more complete combustion, sending less smoke up the stack and into the atmosphere, she says. The newest, most efficient ones can burn 10+ hours.
Gas stoves & Fireplaces: Emit very little pollution, require little maintenance and can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Today’s gas stoves can be vented through an existing chimney or direct vented through the wall behind the stove or vertically.
The EPA does not support vent-free models because of indoor air quality concerns, she says.
Gas stoves & fireplaces are among the cleanest and cheapest fuel options. Although they still burn fossil fuels, they produce lower emissions than wood or other alternatives.
Pellet stoves: Resembling rabbit food, these pellets are 3/8 of an inch to 1 inch
The pellets are made from compressed sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural waste and other organic materials. Pellet stoves produce very little air pollution and are considered the cleanest of the solid fuel-burning residential heating appliances.
They do require electricity. They can vented through the wall.
Using an automated feed system pellet stoves can have a very long burn time.
Fire logs: The most popular is the Duraflame , which is made from renewable sources such as sawdust and wax. These can only be used in a open masonry fireplace. They are mainly for ambiance and are not very efficient.
Gas logs (natural gas or LP, liquid propane): Gas logs can be retrofitted in an existing fireplace as an alternative to wood, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which certifies heating appliances.
Although gas logs (at right) burn fossil fuels, either natural gas or LP, have low efficiency and emissions.
LP gas comes from a tank outside the home, while natural gas is piped in as for other appliances, the home improvement store explains.
Gas logs vent through an open chimney flue or damper, simulating a wood-burning flame.
Bio-ethanol fireplaces: The biofuel used in this appliance, also called ethyl alcohol, is derived from agricultural products, primarily corn. Ethanol fireplaces tend to have sleek contemporary designs and be used in urban settings instead of natural gas. But they are not for serious heat.
They are just decorative and their primary advantage is that they do not have to be vented and you can put them just about anywhere.