Winter Heating Options: Wood-Burning Stoves, Wood-Pellet Stoves and Fireplaces

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Photo By Mother Earth Living staff
These winter heating options give you a number of choices to keep your homestead warm.

Choose from these winter heating options to find what best suits your homestead.

Winter Heating Options

Wood-burning stove or fireplace


• Provides light and warmth even when the electricity goes out.

• Creates the best ambiance, ­complete with crackling sounds and woody scent.

• Newer, high-efficiency wood-burning stoves can recycle gas and smoke, creating more heat, consuming less wood, and emitting fewer pollutants.


• Produces pollution in the form of particulates, greenhouse gases, and other harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide, dioxins, and formaldehyde.

• Many cities enforce wood-burning bans to reduce air pollution.

• Wood for stoves and fireplaces wastes trees and can cost more than fuels such as natural gas.

• Ash and soot requires cleanup.

Wood-pellet stove


• Burns clean and creates heat efficiently. The EPA does not regulate wood-pellet stoves because they perform so well.

• Pellets are made from furniture and wood manufacturing byproducts including compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, and waste paper. This helps save trees.

• A thermostat regulates the stove’s temperature so it burns longer with infrequent refueling (about once a day).


• Depends on electricity for running the fan, controls, and pellet feeder, so it’s not dependable during power outages.

• Requires yearly maintenance and possibly expensive repairs.

• Pellets can cost more than a cord of wood. Plus, you pay for the electricity to run the stove’s mechanical parts.

Natural gas fireplace


• Gas is clean burning and ­produces few greenhouse gas emissions.

• Costs less than logs or pellets.

• Works during power outages and is convenient because there’s no refueling, carrying wood, or cleaning up ash. Just flip a switch, and you have a flame.


• Natural gas prices are rising.

• Natural gas is a non-renewable resource with limited supplies.

• Although it emits no particulates, a natural gas fireplace creates greenhouse gases such as methane through combustion. Drilling for gas disrupts pristine wilderness and wildlife habitat.

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