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.


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.


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.


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.

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