Today's fireplaces and wood stoves are considerably more heat-efficient - and, in the case of wood stoves, cleaner burning - than their predecessors, according to "Fireplaces & Wood Stoves," a publication of Sunset Books.

Although the book was published in October 1989, the ideas contained therein are very much up-to-date. As you thumb through the pages, you'll discover an exciting array of photographs of fireplaces and wood stoves.Augmenting these pictures of "glowing ideas" are other pertinent sections: Fireplaces & Wood Stoves - The Basics; Planning & Design for fireplaces and wood stoves); and Installation, Maintenance & Use (for fireplaces and wood stoves).

Fireplaces and wood stoves spread warmth throughout your home. They also draw family members and guests within their glowing circles.

Today, more and more attention is being given to heat efficiency. As a result, manufacturers have come up with new materials and designs that utilize heat to its fullest.

The chapter on "the basics" includes a guide to the characteristics of the basic types of firewood - ease of splitting, ease of burning, amount of heat and smoke density. Of course, not all the woods listed are available in your geographical area.

One striking example of new technology is the pellet stove. Believe it or not, no chimney is needed. The waste gases are vented to the outside through a duct, much the same way a clothes dryer is vented. The stove are easy to operate and can burn for up to 80 hours without having to be refueled.

The drawings in the sections on installation, maintenance and use are easy to understand, as are the descriptions. Do-it-yourselfers who carefully read these sections and follow the steps should have no difficulty in installing a stoves that is safe, attractive and efficient.

"Fireplaces & Wood Stoves" is a 112-page Sunset book. Selling for $7.95, it is available at bookstores and home improvement centers. But if you cannot find a copy in your area, write Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA 94025.