Which to get first ?

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Listen to Dad. New styles of fireplaces are more efficient than old ones, but none come close to a good airtight wood stove. If you want to watch the fire, get one that can burn with doors open then close it up when you are done viewing.
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john wrote:

This one is easy... there is no comparison. A woodstove with an open door to watch the fire is no warmer than a fireplace. But a woodstove with a closed door will get hot enough to burn the hairs off your legs from across the room. You can regulate the heat by the choice and amount of wood, and also by how open you leave the chimney vent.
The only problem I have with my woodstove is that the thermostat is in the living room with it. When I get that bad boy cooking, the thermostat thinks the rest of the house is warm and shuts off the central heat. So I have one room where everybody is getting sunburned and the rest of the house is cold.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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"john" wrote

He's right although the older style fireplaces that were 'internal to the house' (so the back wall is in another room and the chimney may be going through an upper/attic bedroom even with a small fireplace in it), well those are a bit better.
A fireplace does add house value, but a good wood stove can as well though it may not add as much. It will be area dependant. You might find a quick call to a realtor just to ask what the price difference is in your area between them? If you live well north in snow country, go wood first then later when you can afford it, consider adding a fireplace for the house value.
How much actual heat you get from the fireplace will depend on design, and if you have a forced air blower and proper inserts. We plan to get a lower insert which is a semi-reflective metal backplate that goes against the back wall and 'reflects' more of the heat inwards. They sell them with lots of neat looking designs.
For 'wood stove' take a look at the newer pellet stoves. They have some really good ones out there which are virtually care-free (and some that need cleaning daily). Make sure first though that pellets are easy to get where you are. Though growing in popularity, not all areas have them as other than a specialty item at a high price. If the pellets are way too costly where you are (like getting firewood here at 7-11 is about 9$ for a single armload!), a true wood burner may be a better option. Those come in many types but most I have seen need the 'logs' cut very small so you may need to get a log-splitter so as to get just regular fireplace stuff at a cheaper price and cut it down. Log-splitters can run over 1,500$ but perfectly functional units for your needs are also out there under 200$.
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