When we bought our first home back in 1979, we soon installed a new wood stove.  It was a Lange brand made in Denmark. The stove kept our home toasty warm the next 30 winters.  When we moved to Winding Pathways, we had to leave our trusty Lange at the old place.

We enjoy wood heat and like cutting and curing wood, so shortly after we moved, we purchased a Heatilator wood stove. For seven winters it did the job of warming our home. On the first cool night in the fall of 2018, we fired up theHeatilator and were astonished to smell smoke in the house. Then, we discovered a large crack in the stove’s steel top. As smoke seeped into the room, we shoveled out the burning wood. Then, we contacted the store where we bought the stove.

We were told we were out of luck. The Heatilator had a five-year warranty and our stove was seven years old. It was frustrating to learn the warranty was so short and that the stove failed. The company offered us a discount on a new stove that was not a good discount.  We were wary and decided to look elsewhere.

For about a month our only home heat came from our gas furnace. Although the thermometer read 70 degrees, we constantly felt chilled. Forced air heat feels different from that emitted from a wood or gas stove. The furnace forces out low humidity air that feels cool. A wood stove, in contrast, emits heat directly. It’s very warm near the stove, so when chilled we love huddling close to it. There is an indescribable pleasure in the comfort given us by our woodstove.

On Friday, December 14,  Colony Heating in Cedar Rapids installed a new stove. It’s a Century Heating steel stove made in Quebec, Canada, and we’re already enjoying its cozy warmth. Here are some things we learned:

  • If a stove cracks or gives off smoke stop using it. Get it checked out. If it has failed the company that made or installed it might replace it.  Or not.  It’s a good idea to find this out before you purchase a stove.
  • Look for quality. A wood stove should last decades. 
  • Check the guarantee. Most quality stoves have at least a ten-year warranty on the firebox.  
  • Have a stove installed by a professional and connected to a safe chimney.  
  • Notify your homeowner insurance company that you have a professionally installed wood stove. They mig add a slight premium, but then the home is covered should a stove cause a fire.
  • Burn clean dry wood accordingto the stove manufacturer’s directions.
  • Keep the stove clean and havethe chimney cleaned and inspected annually.

We had removed the fire bricks from the old stove’s interior, and the two guys from Colony Heating who installed the new stove loaded the cracked Heatilator onto our pickup truck. An hour later a giant machine with a steel claw plucked it from the ground and dropped it on a pile of other scrap metal. Marion Iron Company paid us $16 for it. Not only are wood stoves recyclable, and they can be sold for scrap.

     We’re looking forward to our new stove’s gentle warmth as cold wintery Iowa air sweeps past our home at Winding Pathways.

WindingPathways LLC did not receive discounts or free services or merchandise from either Colony or SBI International, which makes and sells Century Heating stoves. We paid their normal fee. And, we’ve found their products and services to be outstanding.   www.colonyheating.com  and www.sbi-international.com.   We purchased the stove at the Marion, Iowa, Menard’s store.

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