Snow has fallen, shopping has started, and even though it's not officially winter yet, it feels like "cozy" season.

Remember when "hygge" was all anyone could talk about? It was even a runner-up for Oxford Dictionary's 2016 word of the year, according to The New Yorker, and means "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being." You know, doing stuff like wearing fuzzy socks and using lots of throws and blankets.

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One feature you might have in your home that also helps to create a feeling of "hygge" is a fireplace. Looking to next year, the HVAC Gnome has already published its list of the best cities to own a fireplace. They ranked their choices based on four criteria:

  • fireplace services
  • chimney sweepers
  • firewood suppliers
  • cold wave risk

With these in mind, two Montana cities make their list of '2024's Best Cities to Own a Fireplace.'

Montana Cities Fireplaces
Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

Coming in at #79

Billings ranks in the top 100 with its best score for the cold wave risk. Bilings' second-best score was for fireplace services. I had a fireplace when I lived in Billings and we had it inspected. The service was relatively inexpensive and we didn't have to wait long for an appointment. From my experience, this ranking checks out.

Coming in at #54

Another Montana city was in the top 100 and ranked 4th overall for the cold wave risk. But ranking this city as one of the best to own a fireplace is a bit of a misrepresentation in this case. Why? Because the city is Missoula.

Missoula's Fireplace Restrictions

It may be that Missoula is cold enough to make having a fireplace enjoyable and that it has good services, chimney sweeps, and firewood supplies, but it still may not be a good idea to have a fireplace.

Missoula is in a valley and it's prone to air stagnation. In the past, the smoke from wood-burning stoves combined with air stagnation created a lot of air pollution. As a result, the Missoula City-County Health Department has implemented specific woodstove rules that detail what kind of woodstoves and fireplaces you can have. For full details about using woodstoves in Missoula County, visit this link.

Another option is to have an electric fireplace if you still want that cozy, "hygge" feeling.

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