What is a Wood Stove?
A woodstove, or “free standing stove”, is a steel unit that rests in an open area in the room. These stoves usually have a flue pipe that goes up through the ceiling and roof, or sometimes through a wall and then up the outside of the house.
An insert is the same thing as a woodstove, except that it is designed to be pushed into the opening of a regular fireplace. Inserts are required to have a steel liner attached that guides the smoke safely out the house. This liner runs up through the existing chimney.
Woodstoves and inserts sometimes make more creosote than open fireplaces, because they have a control that lets the user limit the amount of air that enters the unit. When wood burns in limited air, more creosote is formed. There is a tradeoff in this, however, because limiting the available air will make the wood last longer.
It is best to keep the air inlet open nearly all the way, and control the burn by using smaller loads of wood, more frequently added. This will keep the creosote buildup to a minimum.
Of course, both woodstoves and inserts need to be cleaned and inspected, usually more frequently than an open fireplace.