One of the biggest selling points when we purchased our home over a year ago was the fact that it had multiple fireplaces. Our Victorian home is charming- with it's wood floors, beautiful moldings, and historic feel we lucked out and purchased it for the right price, and at the time it just seemed so practical…ehem.
Huge old windows and high ceilings = NON ENERGY EFFICIENT. The romance of the fireplaces died as quickly as the fires themselves, as we quickly learned that keeping it alive and hot enough to heat the room was it's own full time job. The cozy comfort I had envisioned when we bought it, turned into a traumatic episode of Little House on the Prairie as we huddled in front of the fire trying to warm our hands. UGH.
After choking on receiving the second oil bill of the season we decided to consider other options.
A good friend of mine had recommended a wood stove, and although I loved the idea, I was skeptical.
After doing some research we settled on a small insert made by Lennox, and invested in what would hopefully pay itself off in one season knowing what it "should" save us in oil bills.
One week later we are completely impressed with it's efficiency. We fill it with wood every 4 hours and although it's their smallest stove ( the one we could afford) it heats the entire downstairs of our home, and get's toasty warm. When I looked into the additional benefits of having one, this is what I found out:
* It requires only a third of the fuel of an open fireplace
* It's up to 70% more energy efficient
* Although buying the wood fuel is an ongoing cost if it's bought in bulk (by the cord) it's usually less expensive
* Wood as fuel is a suitable alternative to fossil fuels and is "carbon neutral" meaning that when it us burned it releases only the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbed while it was growing.
* Unlike Oil, wood can usually be sourced locally
In addition to wood burning stoves a range of wood filled boilers are also available that are incredibly efficient and can convert over 90% of the fuel into heat. Although it takes some effort to keep them fed wood chips, or corn or wood pellet stoves can also be automated to control settings and only need to be refilled every few days!