Alternative home heating in winter

Have you been thinking about efficient alternative home heating options recently?

Chris Livengood, owner of local business Chelsea Hearth and Fireplaces, has put together a guide to help homeowners from Ann Arbor to Jackson Michigan on where to start with their research and answers to their wood burning fireplace inserts and wood pellet heating appliance questions.

Part I – How To Shop For An Alternative Heating Source
With propane, fuel oil and natural gas prices hitting record highs in recent years, many people have been in search of alternative heat sources to help reduce their heating bills. Natural resources have seen a resurgence of interest as fuel prices continue drastic fluctuations.

Interest in returning to wood burning stoves of days-gone-by brings more options than ever before to choose from. So, how does one go about deciding what to buy?

Ton of corn for alternative home heating

With corn prices so low in the 1980’s & ‘90’s, manufactures began introducing stoves that would make good use of corn as a natural fuel source and pretty soon, the sky was the limit on what could be classified as bio-waste and renewable energy fuel sources. Many of the corn burning stoves will also burn wheat, barley, cherry pits and wood pellets.


Today, there are hundreds of manufacturers out there touting their product as the best Corn Stove, Wood Pellet Stove, Coal Stove, Wood burning stoves & high efficiency fireplace inserts available. A couple tips for when you begin to shop:

  • You can save yourself a lot of time running around by doing some on-line research first.
  • Find out what endorsements each manufacturer has behind them as well as additional points to consider before buying.

Some helpful websites are:

After you have read about each of the efficiency ratings & warranties, you can then move on to your top selections by visiting manufacturers websites. Here, you will learn the intricate features and benefits that each manufacturer offers. Many make the mistake of letting aesthetics drive their decision. While you will want a unit in our home that is pleasing to look at, many of the manufacturers carry similar styles, so you need to prioritize quality and performance as well.

Next, you need to determine what your heating needs are. Are you trying to use this as your primary heat source or just supplemental to an existing source? Many factors on efficiency come into play when determining how many BTU’s you need and how many sq. ft. you are trying heat.

  • How well insulated is your home?
  • Is this going into a basement?
  • If so, is it insulated/finished?
  • Is it being placed on the main floor and where?
  • Does your home have ceiling fans to circulate the heat?
  • How open is your floor plan?

Answering those questions will help your local hearth dealers show you the best options to fit your needs.

In Part II, Chris will compare some of the differences between wood and wood pellet heating.


Chelsea Fireplaces mini flame icon30

At Chelsea Hearth and Fireplaces, we offer top of the line models from the most trusted manufacturers in the business. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions and stop by our showroom to see and feel the warmth of a wood burning stoves and inserts in person.

Chelsea Hearth and Fireplaces is conveniently located in Chelsea Michigan just north of I-94 on M-52 in the heart of downtown Chelsea.