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
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.
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
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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