Question: Hello. I can't find any information on your site regarding my question, though I seem to recall at least seeing it mentioned parenthetically somewhere. I have several questions, actually, which generally regard my desire to have open fire viewing with a woodstove. I'm planning to buy a woodstove soon, and would like to have the ability to operate it with the front door open. I know the Vermont Castings woodstoves sell a spark screen and advertise that you can use it something like a fireplace. How safe is this? Is it unsafe with other brands of woodstoves? I realize that it (temporarily) lowers the efficiency of the woodstove in exchange for the fire viewing experience. But does open fire viewing cause any permanent harm? Does it lower the life of the stove or cause increased creosote buildup over normal operation? My wife and I would like to get a woodstove, and our reasons for getting it are at least as much for aesthetic enjoyment as for heating purposes. So we would plan to have open fire viewing occasionally. We've been told that Vermont Castings stoves are the only stoves we should consider. Is that true? Thanks for any help. -- Herb Sitz firstname.lastname@example.org Answer: Any stove that sells a spark screen with the unit has been tested for such use. Vermont Castings and Jotul are two big brands that have screens available. Fire viewing will not cause any harm..just don't use it like a bonfire. One or two nice split pieces of wood will do the job nicely. Creosote should be no problem with open fire viewing. Creosote is formed when wood is burned in the absence of air. You should limit your screen use to times when you are in the same room or area as the stove.