A standalone wood furnace, or stove, burns wood more efficiently than a fireplace, produces less ash and radiates heat from all sides, not just one. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also considers these stoves eco-friendly because of their efficiency.
Roughly 70 to 80 percent of the wood burned is turned into heat. Burning well-seasoned hardwood, such as oak or ash, leaves only a fine powder behind, making the stove easy to clean. The ash falls into a tray under the firebox, which can be emptied when cool. Since the firebox is fully enclosed, all the smoke goes up the chimney. Gases that normally result from wood burning, such as methane and carbon monoxide, are also vented up and out of the living space.
Wood-burning stoves are usually made of steel or cast iron. A steel model can usually be installed closer to a wall, depending on the unit's heat shield. Cast iron, which gets hotter and holds heat longer, must have plenty of space on all sides.
Some wood-burning stove models come with ceramic glass doors, which allows the user to sit back and enjoy the fire. Ceramic glass is superior to the glass found on traditional fireplaces. It transmits heat more efficiently and is less likely to break.