It is December 21, the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of the winter months. Of course, at this time many people begin thinking about how they are going to stay warm and also energy efficient as the cold weather approaches.

One way to be energy efficient while staying warm and cozy is to take advantage of a wood-burning fireplace or pellet burning stove. Burning firewood or pellets keeps a home comfortably warm while keeping the thermostat and electricity use low.

Thermal energy from the burning of wood radiates directly into the room, keeping it up to 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the home without using any electricity. It's important to remember that the energy savings benefits of using your fireplace as a main source of heat are only realized if your fireplace or other wood-burning appliance is efficient.

The best part about using the fireplace or pellet stove in the winter is the house feels cozier, has a wonderful aroma and the whole-house thermostat stays lower than normal, which really saves electricity and of course, money!