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High energy costs spark interest in wood-burning stoves

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Feb 18 2014 06:20:56 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 18 2014 09:05:46 PM MST
BELGRADE, Mont. -

A harsh winter in the Midwest and East has sparked a propane shortage in some areas. That has some folks looking for other options, like wood-burning stoves.

Burning Stoves & Stuff owner and operator J.D. Engle has been selling wood burning stoves for almost 20 years. But in the last 6 years he has seen his numbers jump.

"We're now at about an almost 45 percent wood customers to about 55 percent natural gas," he says. That's up from 20 percent across southwest Montana.

He explains his customers' mindset, "They look for ideas. 'How can I put in some sort of heat in my home to lower my cost of heating and be warmer?'"

Engle tells NBC Montana he sees wide range of interest in wood stoves and many are people looking to find a way to lower their heating costs.

He says, "They come to us whether it's new construction, or a remodel for answers."

The initial cost for someone considering installing a wood-burning stove is about $3,500 to $3,800.

Homeowner Johnell Kerr and her husband burn wood as well.

"It seemed like a good, inexpensive way to heat the house," she says.

But it's not for everyone. A common concern from people using stoves is cleanliness, something Kerr has had to deal with.

She explains, "If  you keep it clean, you'll notice there's a lot less of that debris."

Engle tells us it takes work run and properly maintain wood stoves, including buying or cutting your own wood.

He says, "It's not like flipping a switch on the thermostat."