The Woodstove Country Home Heater

Gas and electric stoves are prominent in the marketplace for their design looks, but the woodstove country home heater in comparison is eco-friendly and provides real heat to warm a home.

| October/November 2000

Choosing a woodstove country home heater is easy to do when comparing stove looks to natural heat for your homestead.

Technology languishes, but aesthetics are hot.

The marketplace for woodburning stoves and ovens woke up with a headache on the first of January. Y2K worries had propelled this relatively small segment of th ehearth industry into the national spotlight, and the allure of true wood heat, independent of wires and gas lines, had buyers lining up around the block.

"It was tough for some manufacturers to keep them in stock," says Mike Van Buren, technical director of the Hearth Products Association. "Though the efforts involved in chopping, carrying and storing wood have lately made wood heat a tough chore for some owners, millennium fears definitely changed the landscape."

When our lights stayed on in the first days, then weeks, of January, the lights went out on the woodstove craze. This year, as with most years, gas and electric stoves regained their 70% market footprint, with gas and pellet returning to 25%. More interesting than simple figures is the fact that three-quarters of gas and electric stoves are used for "aesthetic" purposes only. In other words, they provide a home with beautiful flames, but any heat generated is basically an afterthought compared to a woodstove country home heater. As we walked through the hundreds of stove models at this year's Hearth. Products Expo in Baltimore, the concept of "flame as art" — evident in models such as Heat & Glo's CFX Diamond (above) — struck us as an increasingly important selling point for stovemakers. One particularly striking addition to some gas stoves this year has been the inclusion of a "heat dump" — a system in which heat from a gas stove is actually vented outside. "This system's designed for homeowners in warmer climates," says Van Buren, "who want the beauty of a fire but can't comfortably retain the heat." In truth, most owners of gas stoves are grateful for the heat, but the aesthetic burners are gaining ground every year.

It's hard not to feel despondent watching gas being consumed for the sake of visual pleasure, and we had to keep out tongues in check as we watched heat dumps busily wasting fuel. Blaming the manufacturer for a questionable market trend, however, is like blaming Italy for a preponderance of pizza: They build what we want.

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