Burned by home heating costs? Now is the time for a stove or insert

A wood burning stove or fireplace insert; which is right for you?

The main difference, other than aesthetics, between an insert and a wood stove is the fan that an insert utilizes. Circulating the hot air into the living space can be more efficient advantage over just having a hot stove radiating heat.  The fan, however, does require electricity and a wood burning stove does not.


The crackle and aroma of a cozy log fire in an open fire place is delightful on a cold winter night.  And open wood fireplaces do put out a lot of heat.  Unfortunately, most of it goes right up the chimney.  A wood burning insert, however, is made to be extremely energy-efficient, and to provide a cleaner burn than a wood furnace or typical fireplace.

A wood burning insert may be used to refurbish an existing fireplace, or to finish a fireplace in a new construction. These inserts are self-contained and relatively easy to install, with all the components needed to provide the warmth of a real wood fireplace in one energy-efficient package. The front of the wood burning insert is generally encased in glass and an adjustable fan blows a stream of heated air into the room through vents.

While fireplace inserts come in many sizes, getting the right size for your space will save time, money and certainly frustration. The size you need is based on the size of the opening of the existing fireplace.

A wood stove, while it can be installed in masonry chimney (this is very common in Europe), is most often freestanding.

A wood burning insert or wood stove can be a practical addition to a household in several ways. An electrical outage presents less of a problem with an efficient wood fire available, especially on a cold night. Consumers need only to ignite a few dry logs and some newspaper or a fire starter, and light and heat will be available for hours.

It is important to buy the right size stove and chimney for your home. People often purchase too powerful a stove for their home. An over-sized stove is a potential fire hazard, because it’s often operated in an extremely “slow fired” condition, which leads to creosote buildup. And that increases the risk of chimney fires.
Your stove will need a professionally installed chimney that is safe and efficient.  Even if your current home has a chimney, it might not be the right size and this could add substantial expense to your stove purchase. Chimneys can vent through the roof, or through an outside wall. Both wood stoves and pellet stoves come in a variety of designs, from elegant built-in fireplaces to old-fashioned stovepipes. The wood fireplace insert comes in standard sizes, or can be a custom fit.

Whether you choose to burn wood in a traditional stove, or a modern insert, ask yourself these questions before you buy:

1) What is my budget? Many people oversize the stove for their living space.
2) Where is my fuel source? Do you have access to free firewood? Someone to chop it and a place to store it?
3) What style do I want? If the insert or stove is going to the centerpiece of your new home, make sure you are happy with the way it looks.
4) What features do I need? Some people want a larger glass area to view the fire.  Others may have an unusual room layout that must work with the stove or insert.
5) What is the dealer and/or manufacturer’s reputation? All the major brands produce wonderful products, but make sure you buy from a dealer with experience, service and installation.
6) What material do I want? When buying a stove, you will look at steel, cast iron or soapstone.
7) How much space am I heating? Is this product your sole heat source, or a secondary back-up?
8) Where will I put it? Choosing the right location for the stove may be the most important decision you must make. The heater should be located in the part of the house you want to be the warmest – typically the family room or kitchen on the main level.

In summary, do your research.  For more information on heating with wood, contact Lehman’s, in Kidron, OH at 1-877-438-5346 or www.Lehmans.com.

Glenda Ervin

About Glenda Ervin

Lehman’s Vice President of Marketing and daughter of founder Jay Lehman. She has filled her home with Lehman's products, and enjoys the challenge of using low tech in a high tech life. In addition to media relations and advertising for Lehman's, she speaks to groups about the history of Lehman's and the unique growth of the family owned and operated business.