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Know Your Options
The differences between fireplaces and wood stoves have decreased over the years. Both typically have glass panels that allow you to view the fire. Fireplaces are now so efficient that they meet some of the same strict EPA standards that wood stoves meet. They both can also be used for central heating by connect heat ducts.
The Difference Between Fireplace and Wood Stoves
The one thing that really separates the two are that fireplaces are built into the wall of a living space, whether as a masonry unit or a factory built (also called zero clearance) fireplace. Masonry fireplaces are assembled on site (usually when the house is constructed) and attached to a masonry chimney. Zero clearance fireplaces are usually metal structures and are installed on site as a package with the specified metal chimney.
Conventional fireplaces are not well suited for home heating because they don’t use emission reduction and heat transfer technology. Modern fireplaces are factory built units that use the same technology as wood, gas and pellet stoves and are EPA certified for low emissions.