When thinking about home heating, it can be easy to want to cut corners. Why spend extra money on a device that will only be used for half the year? Is it REALLY that important to purchase a new stove instead of just buying a used one? These concerns are valid, but trading efficiency and long-term cost for the sake of a short-term savings makes this decision a simple one.
New wood stoves are usually priced between $650 and $1200. Although that may seem steep, keep in mind that used stoves are often marked up as well. A solid functioning used stove can cost up to $800 -- and those are not always EPA certified. If an uncertified stove is used, it can often drive up heating costs in the long run. Non-EPA certified stoves use up more fuel and put out less heat.
If you do want to use a second hand stove, make sure that it is certified. Almost all stoves built since 1988 are certified, so they emit less smoke, create more heat, and are more efficient. Old stoves use more fuel, and a new EPA-certified stove is 33% more efficient than a non-certified stove.
Uncertified stoves can also jeopardize insurance coverage as well. If a home with an uncertified stove ever suffered a house or chimney fire, insurance companies may not cover the damage. Old stoves also produce a lot of harmful smoke -- often between 20 and 30 grams of particulates per hour.
If you do purchase an EPA-certified stove, check for damage before making the purchase. Cracked glass, warped baffle plates, and bad paint can all be replaced for under $100. One installed, a wood stove should provide a lifetime of trouble-free service. Although there will be some regular maintenance involved, a wood stove is efficient, cheap, and an effective way to heat a home.