This was a home upgrade some time in the making. We really wanted a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove when we were looking at places to live. In our corner of the world, firewood is readily available.
Winter is not usually a serious affair here. One idiosyncrasy of the home, though, is that all of the heat is electric. No natural gas furnace to fall back on. Big storms are uncommon, but like to show up with a vengeance once in a while.
There is more to it than just throwing some logs in the fireplace. Too low of a burn can cause creosote to build up which can lead to a chimney fire. Much too hot of a burn can overheat the unit, warping and damaging it and then burning down the house. And, there is still an electrical component. A fan blower that helps to distribute heated air more efficiently.
It adds functionality. It adds redundancy. The unit is EPA approved. It uses wood more efficiency due to “reburn” of gases that would be lost up the chimney in a conventional fireplace.
And, it can be taken out again and the fireplace and chimney returned to their original state; so it should not affect resale of the home one way or the other.
I’ll let you know how it goes… Here’s to neither freezing, nor burning. Cheers.