Learn what you need to know about these winter heating options, includes pros and cons on wood-burning stoves, wood-pellet stoves and fireplaces.
Choose from these winter heating options to find what best suits your homestead.
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.
• 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.