I live in northern Virginia, and want to burn wood for ambiance, auxiliary, and emergency heat. The house is heated by heat pump, and we're at just about the northern limit of that, especially with a 60 year-old house. Decent attic insulation, new windows, not too drafty, but not much insulation on the masonry exterior walls. Luckily, I have two existing fireplaces, stacked in the center of the house. The main living space is upstairs, and I'd like to keep that as an open fireplace. The chimney for the upper fireplace runs maybe 7 feet to the uninsulated attic and then another 7 to the roof. It drafts well once warm. The chimney for the mostly unused but heated and finished basement is 8-9' longer, and I'd like to put a stove into that one, or barring that, an insert. I prefer the stove for looks and power-out performance. However, I'm not sure I can fit a stove on the existing hearth. My dimensions are 27"w 27"h 24"d free and clear in the fireplace. The fireplace opens to 36" at the front. The hearth is 18" deep and about a foot high. There's carpet infront of that, but we'd like to go to something different when we get around to it. I doubt the wife will accept expanding the hearth. Each floor is about 1200 sq. ft. Right now we only occupy the top floor, basement has shop, guest room, laundry, and unused family room. Winters aren't terrible here, but we lose power for a week every couple of years, due to ice or snow. Already ruled out gas, too expensive. Don't really have indoor storage for pellets. Should I go with a stove or an insert? How do I choose one? Do I need to put a chimney liner in? not sure of flue dimensions, etc. 8" x 8 or 10 x 10, I can't remember. Is there much I can do with the open fireplace to make it more efficient while we figure out what to do with the basement? Doors?