For homeowners who love to see a roaring fire burning in an open fireplace, the sad truth is that traditional wood-burning fireplaces do little to add heat to your home. In fact, open-hearth fireplaces send an estimated 90 percent of the fire’s heat up your chimney, and heated air from your home travels up and out of the fireplace even when your fireplace isn’t in use. That means that your open-hearth fireplace can actually lower home’s efficiency and increase your home’s heating bills. The good news is you can enjoy a fire — gas, wood or pellet — in an efficient way that decreases your home’s heating bills and lessens your environmental footprint.
Energy-efficient Gas Fireplaces
When it comes to efficient home heating, gas fireplaces offer the best options. Direct-vent gas fireplaces are closed systems that vent to the outside. One duct pulls cold air from outside to fuel the fire, then the other vent exhausts the fumes and particles generated by the burning fireplace. Direct-vent fireplaces are up to 77 percent efficient. The most efficient gas fireplace options are ventless fireplaces. These fireplaces burn hot enough that they don’t require outside ventilation, and they return 99 percent of the fire’s heat to your home. However, these fireplaces do create moisture and other byproducts that can have an impact on your home.
Energy-efficient Wood Fireplaces
Those who love wood-burning fireplaces don’t have to give up on this traditional fireplace fuel altogether. EPA-certified wood-burning fireplaces and fireplace inserts utilize blowers and converters that increase the heat output of your fireplace and close of your open hearth so heat isn’t lost through the chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use. EPA-certified wood-burning fireplaces, inserts and heating stoves are up to 75 percent efficient, making them nearly as efficient a choice as gas fireplaces and heating stoves.
Energy-efficient pellet stoves
Pellet stoves offer the warm glow and traditional beauty of wood-burning fireplaces, but they are far more efficient. Pellet stoves burn dehydrated wood pellets, and because there is no moisture left in the wood used as fuel, the fires are able to burn hotter and more efficiently. In fact, pellet stoves can be up to 98 percent energy efficient. It is important to note, however, that pellet stoves do require electricity to power blowers, igniters and the auger that feeds pellets into the fire chamber, so they can cause slight increases in home energy bills.
If you’re looking for energy-efficient fireplace options, Fluesbrothers Chimney Service can help! Our fireplace experts can listen to your home-heating needs and advise you on which type of fireplace or heating stove will best suit you. Talk to us about how important energy efficiency is to you, and we will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of each type of fireplace and help you find the most energy-efficient choice for your home.