tiz: there is a certain amount of work to maintain anything, especially a device that can heat your whole house and/or provide hot water. If you are a 'hands off' kinda guy, still, there is little you have to do. A wood stove requires you to feed it, clean up behind it, and remove ashes; so does a pellet stove, so does an oil, NG, propane or any other boiler, except an electric boiler. Matt and Dave provide the facts, and most folks are just fine with the requirements. Their products are safe, sturdy, robust, cost effective, and damned near bulletproof. Try one for a season....or a lifetime. Enjoy warmth and quiet in your home. As you may have learned, even in a perfect world, nothing is perfect! Damned close, however.