We had fireplaces in the homes I grew up in. Dad always put in the
iron swing bar so we could cook over the hot coals from the fires he
would build. I have wonderful memories of coming home on a Sunday
afternoon after Church to a big iron pot of White
beans with ham hocks that had been cooking all morning and afternoon in
the fireplace. The smell of the fresh baked cornbread coming out of the
oven to have with it makes me drool even today!
When Dad and Mom built their last log home they installed a vented,
gas stove. As we age it becomes harder and harder to swing an ax and
haul wood. Dad always said that wood will heat 3 times – once when you
cut it, once when you haul it and once when you burn it! Over the years
I’ve come to understand what he meant and if you have a wood burning
fireplace I’m sure you do too.
The other issue with a true, open hearth fireplace, is that the heat
you’ve paid so dearly for to heat your home with is being used to fuel
the flames of the fire and then it’s going right up the chimney.
Although open hearth fire places are the most beautiful, they are also
the most heat in-efficient.
Now days there are several energy efficient fireplace options to
choose from – vented and non-vented fireplaces and gas stoves, wood
pellet stoves, zero clearance fireplaces, inserts and wood burning
stoves. Each option has its own appeal for different reasons and you
should chose and carefully research each option when deciding what to put in
your dream log home.
As we started to design our custom log home in 1992 we considered all
of the fireplace options and decided upon a wood stove. We live out in
the country with only electricity to power our home. In case of power
outages we needed a source of heat in the winter as well as something to
cook on. Fortunately, the longest we’ve been without power (so far) is
4 days in a bad ice/snow storm. When we know an ice or snow storm is
coming, we usually cook some food in advance and use the wood stove to
re-heat or to cook chili, fry eggs/bacon, etc. to keep ourselves going.
So it’s a multi-purpose unit that is nice to look at and such a comfort
on a cold winter night to set by and watch the flames and listen to the
crackle of the wood as it burns.
We positioned the wood stove in the center of the house so even with
the power out the house never gets below 68 degrees. During
construction, I also consulted with the HVAC contractor and we put a
cold air return up in the gable end where the stove pipe exits the
roof. This allows all of the heat up in the cathedral ceiling as well
as the heat being generated from the stove pipe to be circulated when
then heat pump is on. By leaving the upstairs bedroom door open just a
bit the upstairs HVAC unit rarely comes on as the heat from the stove
The type of wood stove we chose also offered a catalytic converter
that will burn the smoke coming off of the wood so that what goes up to
stove pipe is 98% clean. In essence we have a heat source that burns a
natural renewing resource, it burns very clean and hot, can be used to
cook on, was made in the USA and provides a source of exercise (have you
ever chopped wood?) that is much needed in the Winter time! Does it
get any greener/better than that?
When you are ready to start planning you log home and deciding where
to put your fireplace, wood stove or other heating feature be sure to
contact your local Log Home Building Consultant. We’re here to help “light the fire under you” to get you started on your Dream Log Home!
Click Here to view more photos of log home fireplaces!
Be sure to follow and "like" us on Facebook!