Getting Started

Whether you’re looking to lower those high heating bills with a wood or coal stove, or bring a room to life with a stunning gas fireplace and mantle, Stoves n’ Stuff can help you find what you’re looking for.  We specialize in quality product and service for all your hearth product needs.  If you’d like one of our hearth experts to help get you started please fill out the form below:

Help Me Get Started

For an overview of the type of product you’re interested in please click on the fuel type you are interested in; wood, coal, pellet, gas or electric.

If you’re not sure what fuel is the best option for you please continue on to the descriptions below.

 

CHOOSING A FUEL TYPE

At Stoves n’ Stuff, we’re committed to helping you understand the various heating options available so that you can choose the one that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

We like to think of your heating choices on a spectrum. On one end is more expensive heating like electric and oil heat, which require very little work and are extremely clean burning. At the other end is less expensive heating like coal and wood, which require a little more labor and are not as clean burning. Wood pellets typically cost about the same as purchased firewood but are easier to use. Natural gas is inexpensive and typically very easy to use, but most of our area uses propane, which tends to be more expensive.

All of these alternative fuels are perfectly good options, but learning about the pros and cons of each will help you make the choice that’s right for you. Read the detailed descriptions below to understand the differences between each type of heat.

Click here for a fuel cost calculator to compare fuel costs at current prices in our area.

 

WOOD

People have been burning firewood since the dawn of time, and it’s probably the fuel choice people are most familiar with.

  • Temperature: Wood provides a much warmer heat than oil or electric.
  • Cost: If purchased by the cord, wood is half the cost of fuel oil to heat with. Wood fuel can also be free if you provide the labor to acquire it.
  • Energy Source:  Wood stoves do not require any electricity to operate, making it an ideal backup heating source.  Optional blowers, which aid greatly in heat circulation, would require electricity to operate.
  • Burn Time: Wood stoves can burn approximately 8-12 hours on the lowest setting, so they typically require more frequent refueling than other options.
  • Labor: Many people have access to find and cut their own wood, if they’re willing to commit the time and effort. Fresh cut firewood requires a full year to season from the time it is cut and split. Even if purchased by the cord, wood requires a little more heavy-lifting than some of the other fuel types.  Newer, EPA approved wood stoves are more efficient and clean burning than older and non-EPA approved models so they have less ash and less buildup in the chimney.
  • Venting: Wood stoves require a chimney and cannot be vented out through other means.  Class A chimneys are available, can be installed more easily than a masonry chimney and typically come with a lifetime warranty (unlike masonry chimneys).  These insulated, double wall, stainless steel chimneys also perform better, with hotter flue temperatures producing stronger draft and less buildup in the chimney.  Many handy homeowners are able to install these pipe chimneys themselves to save labor costs.

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WOOD PELLETS

Pellet burning lies in the middle of the heating spectrum. It is much less expensive than oil or electric, but it’s easier to use and cleaner than wood or coal.

  • Cost: A ton of pellets, which comes in convenient 40 lb. bags, is equal to about a cord and a half of wood, making it approximately the same cost as heating with cordwood
  • Temperature:  Pellet stoves are convection heaters, using a blower to circulate the heat through the house.  Fully automatic pellet stoves also provide much more even heating than wood or coal.
  • Burn-Time: Pellets burn much longer than wood and require less frequent loading.  Hopper sizes range from 40-120 pounds.  Turned down they can last up to several days on a full load.
  • Operation: Most pellet stoves self-lighting.  Many are thermostatically controlled for better heat regulation.  This makes them much easier to use than wood stoves.
  • Labor:  Pellet burning produces much less ash than wood burning.   The burn grate area needs to monitored to prevent buildup but generally less work is required to operate a pellet stove than wood or coal.
  • Energy Source: Electricity is required to operate a pellet appliance. While the electric usage is minimal, pellet units will not function if the power goes out.
  • Venting: Unlike wood stoves, pellet stoves do not need a chimney and can be vented out through a side wall.  This allows for more flexibility on the installation and also reduces the overall installation costs.  Many homeowners are able to install pellet stoves themselves as well.   Pellet stoves can be hooked up to existing chimneys.

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COAL

Northeastern Pennsylvania sits atop the nation’s largest bed of anthracite, making it our area’s least expensive heating source by far. Not to be confused with soft coal, the hard coal found here is very clean burning and does not contribute to acid rain.

  • Cost: Coal is one-quarter the heating cost of fuel oil.
  • Temperature: Coal has a 60% higher heating value than wood.  Hand fired coal stoves provide a warm, radiant heat unlike anything else.  Automatic models use convection heat like a pellet stove.  The heat from these models is much more even and controllable.
  • Burn Time: Coal burns three times as long as wood.  Automatic stoker stoves last even longer, up to several days on a hopper.
  • Operation:  Hand fired stoves normally need to be loaded and shaken twice a day and ash removed once a day.  Automatic stoker stoves require no shaking down of ash and are usually operated thermostatically.
  • Labor:  Hand fired models require shaking down and removing the ash daily as well as Daily loading.  While this extra work is normally what’s necessary to achieve the big savings coal provides, more consumers are choosing the automatic models that don’t require it.
  • Energy Source: Automatic stoker models, like pellet stoves, need electricity to operate.  They use a minimal amount of electricity but would go out when the power goes out.  Hand fired coal stoves do not require electricity to operate and would would in the event of a power outage.
  • Venting:  Generally coal stoves need chimneys to operate.  Hand fired models need strong draft to pull combustion air into the fire to make the coal burn.  The automatic stokers have combustion fans so draft is less of an issue.  Some automatic stokers are also available as direct vent models where a chimney is not required.

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GAS

Gas stoves and fireplaces have become extremely popular over the last decade.

  • Cost: Natural gas prices are extremely low, currently less than half the cost of fuel oil.
  • Operation:  Most units are able to be operated using an optional wall thermostat or hand held remote thermostat.
  •  Temperature: Gas is also ideal for area heating, to create a warm room without using more expensive central heat.
  • Labor: Gas stoves and fireplaces are much cleaner and easier to use. There is no fuel or ash to handle.
  • Visual Appeal: Most units have decorative fires that can pass for a wood burning fire.
  • Venting: Direct vent units offer great flexibility in finding an installation location. Vent-free units are also available for maximum heat in a limited time frame.
  • Energy Source:  Gas units also are able to operate without electricity, making theman ideal backup heat source.  Optional convection fans would require electricity.
  • Cost: Fuel costs for propane are more expensive than wood or pellets

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> Questions? Contact Us

 

Need to compare fuel costs in your area?  Click here for a Fuel Cost Calculator