A heated debate…fireplace or woodburning stove? Part 1

Seriously? Before I moved to the country I would have never in a million years considered a house with a wood burning stove not to mention actually taking a beautiful fireplace and converting it!!

We purchased an old stone house near the damn in Croton and rehabbed our practically non-existent kitchen into the main part of the house – this is a story for another day.

My point is, that in doing this necessary work we had to reconfigure the heat and remove the forced air.  Ill just say, it was not an easy task to access what type of heat was the right match for our old house.  Especially, growing up in an apartment building where heat magically appears in large amounts wafting out of radiators in every room. A little background it is an old house, a bit drafty near the windows and doesn’t have insulation in the portions that weren’t gutted.

One certain approach is to gut the entire house, re-insulate with modern and efficient insulation and go for the total HVAC heating and cooling system. After living through a 4-5 month renovation in the kitchen and adding a bath and laundry room etc etc I wasn’t keen on jumping head long into a major demo this would require. However, one thing I kept coming back to is wanting to put the heat in the basement where I could take advantage of the natural and earthly mechanics of rising force of heat. Obvious, right? But old houses are not perfect and, I’m learning, all part of the charm.  The 1/2 of the house that we wanted to put the heat system under had a ginormous granite boulder that made it impossible to get under at all. Oh well, so much for rising hot air.

Ive slowly come to the conclusion that installing a full on heating system means ignoring the chimney and fireplace as a source for heat. This also means that we are ignoring the resources (and charm) that an old house may have to offer. As my husband and I carried wood all winter long only to keep eyeing that fireplace and the fire in it…we would gaze away at the lovingness and scratch our heads at why we (I) was still freezing! So after trying to get as close as I can without crawling into it – finally submitting to it as a possible solution to our winter quandary. (to be continued…when we go check out Home & Hearth)