Question: The house we've purchased has a Fisher wood stove insert in the downstairs family room--an area that's always cooler than the upstairs- of course. In 1995 the previous owners installed a new energy efficient electric heat pump which has been very economical for cooling the house this past summer. They moved before using the new heat pump and we understand that they used the wood stove as their primary source of heat. Now that it's getting colder we anticipate supplementing the heat pump with the wood stove. My husband says that once we start burning wood we have to burn it continuously. I'm not sure that's correct- and not having been a fireplace or wood stove owner before I don't believe it's safe...especially since we're not expecting the stove to be the main source of heat. Is my husband correct? Do we have to burn wood continuously or can we burn wood periodically for supplemented heat and "atmosphere"? Answer: There is no reason you have to burn wood continuously. You can surely start up a fire to warm you on a cool evening and then let it die down. One thing to watch out for: burn the stove with smaller loads of wood- and with plenty of air to the fire. This will avoid creosote buildup in the temperate weather.