One of the most frequent discussions that I have with customers enquiring
about hearth products is regarding the terminology we use to categorize the
various gas and wood appliances we sell. So in order to help you use our
website effectively, we proudly present Hearth Appliances 101:
Wood and Gas Stoves: A stove, like the range in your kitchen, is always a
freestanding appliance (unlike a fireplace that is always built in). A wood
stove will be connected to a vertical chimney with smokepipe, either directly
through the ceiling or through an adjacent wall. The chimney can either be
factory built or masonry. A gas stove will be connected to venting that will
travel through the ceiling, through the wall, or into a masonry chimney.
Wood Fireplaces: A very confusing area as there are three sub-categories:
- Masonry Wood Fireplaces: The traditional bricks and mortar fireplace
many of us grew up with. Very inefficient, they are not for heating but
rather for the aesthetic “snap and pop” of an open fire.
- Factory-Built Decorative Wood Fireplaces: These have the look
and feel of a traditional masonry fireplace but are made of insulated
metal and have refractory brick firebox liners. Their chimneys are
also metal. They can look just like the real thing so you will need to
examine the fireplace and chimney carefully to be sure.
- Factory-Built Efficient Wood Fireplaces: These have only been
around since the early 1990’s (one of the very first ones was designed
and built by RSF Energy in Smithers, BC). Although they are
similar to their decorative cousins, they have air-tight doors and use
convection air circulated through a louver system and the radiant heat
off the glass in the door and the face of the unit to heat your home.
They can be faced with a wide variety of non-combustible materials
like tile and stone. They use high temperature factory-built chimneys.Gas Fireplaces: The over whelming majority of these units are efficient units
that will heat your home. To draw a parallel to the wood fireplaces above,
they could be called Factory-Built Efficient Gas Fireplaces. They come in
a dizzying array of styles and shapes including see-through, two sided and
three-sided. By far the largest category of hearth appliances.
Wood and Gas Inserts: Often confused with the factory-built fireplaces
noted above, these units are designed to be installed into an existing bricks
and mortar fireplace. (Gas units can also be installed in factory-built
decorative wood fireplaces.) They are designed to turn your inefficient wood
burning fireplace into a unit that will heat your home. They are relatively
easy to install and various sizes are available to fit into almost any wood