BACKUP HEATING OPTIONS FOR YOUR FAMILY THIS WINTER.
You don’t have to live totally off the grid to see the benefits of an off the grid or backup heating option in your house.
Most homeowners will continue to rely on the same old furnace long after it should be replaced. We don’t recommend it, but we also understand why. A new furnace isn’t a purchase to be taken lightly.
But as your furnace gets older, the likelihood of it breaking down during the winter increases. And if that happens, you don’t want to be without heat. That’s where backup heating options like fireplaces or freestanding stove in gas, propane, and wood come in handy.
Even if you never have to rely on your fireplace or stove to stay warm during an emergency, it can also ease the strain on your aging furnace, stretching its life a little longer and potentially save on your heating bill.
WHY NATURAL GAS OR PROPANE?
The greatest strength is ease and convenience of gas. Most fireplaces and stoves now operate from a thermostat, so you set it at the desired temperature and it will regulate the flame accordingly for maximum comfort. This way if the furnace unexpectedly stops working, the fireplace or stove takes over.
We find our customers are consistently surprised by the realism our gas fireplaces and stoves display. The logs look incredibly real (most people can’t tell the difference until they get very close), and the flames dance beautifully.
There are gas fireplaces or stoves that don’t require any electricity to operate, perfect for off-grid or power outages. They provide a soft radiating heat without any noisy fan.
Installation is quick and easy too, although you still require a professional to handle the gas line and venting.
Maintenance involves occasional glass cleaning and an annual preventative servicing by one of our licensed gas technicians.
A gas fireplace or stove might be slightly more expensive to operate than wood, but you can’t beat the ease and convenience.
WHAT ABOUT PELLET?
are among the most environmentally friendly backup heating options, and some families choose to heat their homes exclusively with 1 or 2 of these on different levels of the house.
Some of our customers swear by pellet stoves because:
- They use waste biomass like sawdust from wood mills which burn as well or better than raw wood and divert waste from the landfill.
- They are a very efficient source of heat, converting small electrical input to extract many times that energy out of wood.
- They are thermostat controlled so your fire burns evenly for a long time without constant human intervention other than daily cleaning and refueling.
Most pellet stoves do require electricity, so if you’re looking for a off-grid or power outage heating solution, this may not be a solution for you.
Being mechanical devices, they also require regular cleaning and maintenance: daily, weekly and monthly. You may need to pull out the screwdriver and ash vac and get a bit dirty regularly, but the time savings over preparing firewood may be worth it.
Just like firewood, you should gather your winter’s pellet supply early to ensure availability. Pellet supply can be a bit unpredictable, particularly if it is an extremely cold winter and suddenly demand goes up. So stock up in the off-season when pellet pricing is the best.
TRADITIONAL WOOD STOVES
There are three main arguments for the traditional fireplace or wood stove.
- Fuel is very affordable and readily available.
- They have a uniquely comfortable ambiance.
- Wood burning stoves are reliable and can keep a large area of your home warm in the event of a furnace meltdown.
Wood stoves require more upfront firewood labor, however maintenance is as simple as regular emptying of ashes and annual chimney cleaning.
If you’re in the market for a backup or off the grid heating option, these are 3 great options. Is one better for your home than the others? That depends on your wants and needs.
Give us a call today for an estimate and see how far your budget can go.
Clean burning wood stoves- Sudbury’s popular form of supplementary wood heating, are now more than ever, a great choice to meet the needs of environmentally conscious home owners.
According to the most recent information available from the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR), the average winter temperature in Sudbury grew by 2.4 degrees Celsius between 1956 and 2008 (data available here)
Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization) released a report in 2013 stating with overwhelming certainty that climate change is intimately linked to human activity.
Click here for the report, summary, and notes
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Being proactive in the 1980s, the US government Environmental Protection Agency issued a mandate requiring all new wood stoves to emit less than 7.5 grams per hour (g/hr) of smoke. Comparatively, fireplaces can emit up to 700 g/hr. Smoke particles are unused fuel-so seeing smoke means less efficiency.
More food for thought:
- Most old stoves operate around 40 % efficiency.
- Newer wood stoves run greater than 63% efficiency.
- Moisture content of wood is a factor in efficiency.
- Higher efficiencies can be attained with catalytic stoves with
A high quality stove with dry fuel can emit as little as 1 g/hr of smoke. This both maximizes the value you gain in terms of energy generated per dollar spent and minimizes your environmental impact.
POWERFUL ENOUGH FOR YOU
Medium sized wood stoves can produce enough heat to warm more than 2000 square feet of living space, and a ceiling fan installed in the same room as your wood stove will assist with heat flow through the house.
INVESTING IN EFFICIENCY DECREASES YOUR MAINTENANCE
Keep in mind wood stoves must adhere to safety standards that vary by stove. A good chimney design and supply of wood is all you need.. Snap a few inside and outside pictures of the space you plan to use for your wood stove and come by our showroom at 2324 Long Lake rd, Sudbury.
It is very common for customers to ask “should I repair or replace my stove” when they visit our Sudbury storefront. The answer – as it usually is- is that it depends on a number of factors.
WHAT’S THE LIFESPAN OF A STOVE?
The length of time a stove can last varies considerably with the style & type, whether you live in an area of high humidity, how diligent you are about performing maintenance on a regular schedule and the burning habits, among other factors. Properly maintained, it’s not unusual for a stove to last 20 or more years; however, during that time you will likely have to have some parts replaced including (but certainly not limited to) door and glass gaskets, baffles, firebricks and in the case of gas stoves sensors and possibly logsets.
There is a difference between maintenance and repair, especially when models and spare parts are no longer available. This is when replacement is the only option.
I HAVE AN OLD STOVE; SHOULD I USE IT?
While using an older stove instead of purchasing a new one may seem cost effective, operating an old stove that has surpassed its life expectancy can significantly increase the risk of fire. It’s just not worth the risk. In addition, old stoves are not as efficient or eco-friendly as today’s modern EPA advanced technology stoves and in most cases, you’ll find savings to offset purchasing new with reduced fuel consumption to provide the same heat. New stoves produce emissions by up to 90% and burn about 1/3 less wood. That’s less time chopping wood or less money spent on firewood and you’re saving trees and the environment.
If you have a model that is more than 20 years old, and you’re unsure of whether it is safe to operate, a specialist can visit your home and inspect it. Even easier, send a picture of the stove and the data plate. We can advise on parts status or possible recalls on that model.
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
When most people think of maintaining a stove, they think of cleaning the chimney and there’s good reason: Keeping the chimney clean reduces the chance of dangerous chimney fires.
While you can do some sweeping on your own, it’s a good idea to have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year, usually before the heating season. In addition to sweeping the chimney, your sweep can look for gaps or potential flaws in your chimney that may affect the draft. Part of the cleaning is a certain amount of disassembly of the stove which provides a good opportunity to inspect for cracks and other deficiencies. The best time is June or July before the sweeps are really busy with last minute work that always occurs from August onward.
Your stove’s finish also needs to be kept in good shape. Maintaining the finish does more than make it look nice. For most stoves, the finish is designed to reduce rust and even to help heat the surrounding space by allowing heat to radiate more efficiently. The type of maintenance required varies based on the finish. Your owner’s manual will be able to provide you with guidance on the proper maintenance of the finishes used. For all types, be sure to promptly remove any spills or moisture on the surface to avoid pitting the finish or having the stain become “baked on.”
Door gaskets or seals are relatively easy to replace; the owner’s manual that came with your stove will provide the part number for your door gasket and other components. If you don’t have a manual, we may have one in our archives that can be printed for a nominal fee.
Contact us or visit our showroom to ask us any questions about your replacing, repairing, or maintaining your stove.