It may officially only be about a week old, but we all know the Winter arrived ahead of schedule. Cold fronts have blasted in from the north bringing record snows, frigid temperatures and damaging ice storms across the country. An early December ice storm knocked-out power to nearly 250,000 in North Texas, including thousands of Plano residents.
When the power went out, thousands shivered while some kept warm with back-up or emergency heat sources. Besides its decorative appeal, a working fireplace fueled by wood, wood products or natural gas can become a key energy asset when the electricity’s off. The heating efficiency and reliability of a free-standing iron stove or stove insert for an existing fireplace is also hard to beat for creating a homey feel and keeping you toasty warm.
Some models come equipped with blowers that heat up to 1,500 square feet, and pellet-burning stoves that can heat up to 2,200 square feet. Pellet stoves offer you the option to set the pellet feed rate and blower speed to a comfortable setting.
Wood stoves – both free-standing stoves and stove fireplace inserts – can be designed in a variety of ways. Stove fireplace inserts are all available in wood burning, wood pellet burning and natural gas burning varieties. To fit a wood stove fire place insert inside a fireplace, a flexible stainless steel tube is inserted the inside of an existing chimney and attached to the stove vent. A stainless steel vent cap is placed on top of the chimney and sealed to the stove insert. The existing chimney cap is then placed over the vent cap.
According to fireplace experts, more than one-third of Americans rely on fireplaces or other fuel-burning appliances to heat their homes during the winter. And if you’re one of those people, consider this: heating fires account for 36 percent of all residential home fires each year. The main cause of chimney and stovepipe fires is creosote buildup, which is easily preventable with regular maintenance. So if you’re counting on a fireplace or stove to keep warm this winter, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected before the burning season begins. Residents should look for Allstar Chimney Academy (ACA) Certified Chimney Technicians or other similarly certified chimney professionals to conduct inspections and repairs.
For a wide range of fireplace and stove options checkout The FireHouse store, a short drive from Plano in Allen, Texas. Here’s what the FireHouse team shares about the benefits of wood-burning stoves:
“Wood stoves are extremely efficient. The heat produced increases the temperature of the steel box surrounding the enclosed fire box. They create heat based off the embers. Thus, a few logs produce intense heat, and last longer. They are much safer than fireplaces, because they are self-contained, and have a closed door. Flames and sparks are contained within the closed system.”
According to research findings, burning wood is considered carbon neutral. As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When trees die and are left to decompose in the forest or burn in forest fires the carbon stored in the trees is released in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Basically, burning firewood produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as it has absorbed during its life cycle - making wood burning carbon neutral.
Read more about how woody biomass – the stumps, bark, leaves, needles, branches and even tree trunks – from tree harvesting is being repurposed for a range of alternative uses.
BioLite stoves are also an innovative option to generating power. With just a handful of kindling, the BioLite CampStove offers a portable and easy way to cook dinner and charge electronics anywhere. The BioLite HomeStove is helping meet the need of many worldwide who lack access to a reliable, clean energy source. The low-cost biomass BioLite cookstove converts waste heat into electricity, reduces smoke emissions by up to 95 percent and provides users the capability to charge mobile phones and LED lights. What’s more, purchases of the BioLite CampStove helps BioLite fund the initial costs to build and support the HomeStove market abroad.