There’s something primal and deeply satisfying about the heat from a fire – listening to the crackle, watching the flames dance and flicker. But open fireplaces are often a negative heat source as they suck a huge column of warm air up and out and generate just the local radiant heat – warm faces, cold backs.
My first attempt at wood heat efficiency was an after-market heat-a-lator. It’s a replacement fireplace grate that uses tubes and convection to circulate heated air into the room. It has an optional blower to really kick out the BTU’s. We used it for a year. It helped, but I wanted more.
I spent a long time reading around on hearth.com learning about the different kinds of fireplace inserts and free-standing woodstoves. Since San Diego winters really aren’t that brutal and I didn’t want to do a major install, I focused on the small stoves that could be vented through the chimney. I preferred the look of the free-standing stoves, but there weren’t too many that would fit in our tiny fireplace. Jøtul F 100 Nordic QT would fit and I really liked both the look and the quality ratings. They were available locally at The Warm Hearth in La Mesa. I had it installed by Jan at ChimTech who came highly recommended by several sources. We’ve been loving it ever since.