A fireplace or woodstove offers security and peace of mind, as many of them do not require electricity to function. In the event of a winter emergency or disaster, even if the power goes out, natural gas is typically available for many hours.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or traditional wood stove, you may even be able to cook your food on a wood fire, transforming a potential catastrophe into a family adventure. It’s like looking back on a bygone era when wood heat and candles would have been the normal way of life.

The addition of options for propane, electric and natural gas fireplaces has expanded the number of residential hearth choices so that some form of working fireplace is a realistic option for nearly every home. With more energy-efficient, well-insulated houses that provide effective moisture and air barriers, it has become ever-easier to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without using massive amounts of fuel, whether wood, gas, or electricity.

There are many considerations when purchasing a fireplace or woodstove. You may be most concerned with the “feel” of your wood stove, or the ambience provided by a fireplace. You may be more concerned with the self-sufficiency that is provided by a particular fuel and whether or not you can continue to heat your home with the fuel stored on hand or in the event of an electrical outage.

All of these things will play a role in your purchase, but here is a simplified listing of many of the relevant advantages and disadvantages of each fuel and fireplace or stove type.

Wood fireplaces

  • Aesthetics of a “real” fire – smell, crackling sound, dancing flames
  • Exercise of chopping wood and physically building a fire
  • Firewood is readily available in many areas
  • Can be used as supplemental heat source
  • Self-sufficiency in a disaster scenario
  • One of the most economical fuels
  • Renewable, environmentally friendly fuel
  • Cleaning the fireplace; emptying and hauling ashes
  • Requires a chimney/flue for ventilation
  • Inexpert use may cause odors and smoke
  • Fire is less autonomous than other options
  • No “on/off” switch
  • Less uniform heat output than other options

Gas fireplaces

  • Cleaner burning than a wood fireplace
  • Easier to start a fire than a wood fireplace – simply flip a switch
  • Flexible installation options
  • More uniform heat output
  • More easily controlled flame height
  • Can be used as a supplemental heat source
  • Reduced requirement for human interaction with fire
  • Doesn’t have the same ambience (smell, sound) of wood fireplace
  • Reduced requirement for human interaction with fire
  • May be unusable in long power outage
  • Fossil fuels are not environmentally friendly

Corn or Pellet Stoves

  • Clean-burning
  • Extended burn times
  • Easy to store
  • Pellets and corn are readily available
  • Usually the most economical where pellets or corn are available
  • Fuel is renewable, environmentally friendly, domestically grown
  • Usually more expensive than wood stoves or fireplaces
  • Usually require electricity to operate
  • Can require more service and maintenance than other fireplaces


  • Easiest fireplace to install – just plug it in
  • Portable
  • Very convenient
  • Can be used in any room of the home
  • Ideal for apartments, condominiums, hotels, etc
  • Low ambience and aesthetics; not realistic looking
  • Low heat output
  • Very expensive heat
  • Dependent on electrical grid

 Fireplace Brand Carried


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