Four Wood-burning Options to Heat Your Home
Anyone who’s spent a winter in Wisconsin knows that heating a home is a major concern. There are plenty of ways to keep warm, but one of the most popular year after year is burning wood. For folks who prefer a wood fire, there are four wood-burning options to heat your home that you’ll want to know about.
- Rumford Fireplaces
You may not have heard of a “Rumford fireplace.” The name comes from Benjamin Thompson, who invented what he called the Rumford fireplace in the 1790s. They’re built from masonry and are ideal accents to homes with historic-style décor, although they can be found in many modern homes, as well. Their decreased depth combined with flues that are smaller than those of traditional masonry fireplaces result in increased heating efficiency. A high flue opening, sidewalls that are angled and a curved throat mean cleaner burns, which is beneficial to the environment. Some existing fireplaces can be converted to the Rumford style, but be sure to hire a builder who is experienced in installing a Rumford.
- Wood-burning Stoves
Unlike wood stoves of yesteryear, today’s wood-burning stoves are available in a wide array of tasteful designs, finishes and sizes, making it easy to find one that’s perfect for your home. Stringent guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency have made modern wood stoves far more efficient than the old-fashioned “pot-bellied” variety. You can place a wood stove in many areas within the home for excellent zone heating. Usually constructed of cast iron, steel or soapstone, a well-made wood stove will give you many years of heat and savings on utility bills.
- Masonry Heaters
For homeowners who want radiant heat with a wood-burning appliance, masonry heaters are a great option. These units operate at up to 80-percent efficiency, compared to the 10-percent efficiency common with standard masonry fireplaces. Masonry heaters are a little pricey to build, because they require a lot more masonry materials than a regular fireplace. But once it’s built, these appliances will keep heating an area long after the fire within them has gone out and the damper is closed. As with other wood-burning units, Masonry heaters need no electricity, which makes them a reliable source of heat during power outages.
- Fireplace Inserts
If you have a masonry fireplace but aren’t happy with its inefficient heating power, consider a sturdy fireplace insert. Inserts increase the heat created by a fire and allow less heat to be lost up the chimney. Fireplace inserts are made in a range of sizes to fit the majority of traditional fireplace openings. A new stainless steel flue liner is often necessary when installing an insert, and the job should be performed only by a crew with training and experience in insert installations.
Burlington Fireplace & Heating of Wisconsin helps homeowners find the best heating solutions for our cold northern winters. Stop by and see us at 857 Milwaukee Ave. in Burlington, or give us a call at (262) 763-3522 and ask about wood-burning options to heat your home.