You’d love to have a stove or fireplace in your home, but you don’t know how to choose. Here’s a brief overview of your options, along with some helpful advice.
Check before buying
Regardless of your choice, be sure to inquire about installation standards and your municipality’s regulations on residential stoves and fireplaces. Then notify your insurance company about your plans. Determine the extent of the area you want to heat and how much you’re ready to spend. Lastly, an essential question, are you looking for heat or atmosphere?
Stove or fireplace: what’s the difference?
The stove is a heating apparatus on legs, with a very visible exhaust pipe. There are three main categories of stove: wood-, gas- and pellet-burning. The stove is used as a backup system and can function all winter long.
A fireplace, for its part, is built into the wall. It is used mainly for atmosphere even though high-performance models now exist.
Wood-burning stove or fireplace
This is the most popular choice. For creating atmosphere in the home it wins hands-down, with the added bonus of giving off the lovely smell of wood. On the other hand, it requires a good-sized space in a room and regular cleaning, as well as a chimney to evacuate gases.
Natural gas or propane stove or fireplace
The second choice among consumers, they are economical, light quickly, and (obviously) eliminate the need to store firewood. Most new models do not require a chimney, and the evacuation vent is powered by electricity. They produce more heat than wood burning models.
Pellet stove or fireplace
Pellets are a byproduct of wood. Less polluting and “cleaner” than wood, this type of stove and fireplace emit regular heat. Some appliances have an automatic feeding system that can keep the stove fuelled with pellets from 13 to 24 hours.
Whichever option you choose, be sure that the appliance bears the seal of a recognized laboratory or association: the Underwriter’s Laboratories of Canada (ULC), Warnock-Hersey (WH) or Canadian Standards Association (ACNOR or CSA). Gas appliances must be recognized by the Canadian Gas Association. Lastly, in addition to economy and efficiency concerns, look for a model that has been certified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Advise your insurer
It is important that you tell your insurer that you are installing a backup heating appliance. Generally, this should not have much impact on your home insurance premium. However, if you make a claim for a loss related to your appliance and you have not informed your insurer that you have it in your home, your compensation could be reduced. For example, if your premium should have increased by 10% because of your new stove or fireplace, your settlement could be reduced by the same proportion.
Questions? Planning to have work done?
Consult our bank of Approved Residential Suppliers, which lists more than 750 reliable businesses. If you are a CAA-Quebec member, you can call the professionals at our Residential Advisory Services, free of charge, as often as you wish. They are there to help you make informed, objective choices, whatever project you plan to undertake.