Is A Fireplace An Efficient Heating Source?

With so many of us today being mindful of both high utility costs and being kind to the environment, a lot of people question whether a fireplace is an efficient heating source. Burning wood in your wood burning fireplace is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly, which are good things. But the type of fireplace you have determines whether or not it is truly a cost-cutting heating source that is good to our planet.

If you have a traditional masonry fireplace, you not only have a beautiful architectural feature in your home, you also have an appliance in which you can, of course, burn firewood. Firewood is a carbon neutral fuel, unlike the energy sources which fuel the electricity supplied by utility companies. The same amount of carbon is released into our environment by a tree, whether it is burned in a fireplace or whether it decays naturally over time. Firewood is also a sustainable fuel that is the least expensive among all the fuels used to provide heat.

The amount of heat that serves to warm your home may not truly be efficient, however. The efficiency of a traditional fireplace is only about 10%, which means approximately 90% of the heat is lost up the chimney. In addition, masonry fireplaces can draw up to 10% more cold air inside than if there were no fireplace. Some improvements have been made to masonry fireplace designs, such as slanting the hearth’s back wall to radiate more heat into the home.

To transform your fireplace and/or chimney system into a truly efficient heating system that can be relied on to provide a significant amount of heat, however, involves installing a fireplace insert, factory-built fireplace, or wood-burning stove. Efficiency is at the heart of the design of these modern appliances, and it is truly impressive how much heat they can potentially provide.

The fireplace inserts, wood-burning stoves, and factory built fireplaces which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be depended upon to provide a substantial amount of heat that makes a difference in your utility costs. The design of the appliances allow for more complete combustion; this means less pollution as well as hotter, more long-lasting fires. Some factory-built fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and fireplace inserts have built-in blowers and fans which provide even distribution of heat throughout your home.

The efficiency of these modern EPA-approved wood-burning appliances results in a cleaner environment, since they produce less smoke, particles, and creosote.

There is no need to sacrifice aesthetics as you transform your fireplace into an efficient heating system. Fireplace inserts have glass doors, which allow you to get the same enjoyment of watching crackling fires. There are many makes and models of wood-burning stoves and factory-built fireplaces; and there are attractive styles to match any type of décor. Whether you prefer a rustic, contemporary, traditional, modern, or shabby chic style, there is a model that will serve to complement your home.

How much more efficient are fireplace inserts, wood-burning stoves, and factory built fireplaces than traditional masonry fireplaces? It depends upon the particular model you choose, but it is possible to get efficiencies as high as 85%. Contact your certified wood heating technicians for help in deciding on the heating appliance that is right for you.