A fireplace is more than a comfy spot to warm your feet. Its inviting atmosphere also improves the value of your home. And because it heats your house without activating your thermostat, it can even help lower your energy bill. However, homeowners should think carefully before installing a fireplace in their house. While all fireplaces are equally cozy, they aren’t equally efficient. In fact, some lose 90 percent of their heat out the chimney, drawing additional warm air out of your house in the process. An energy efficient fireplace, on the other hand, heats your home while reducing energy consumption and your environmental impact.
Fireplace Efficiency Ratings
Fireplaces are rated according to how well they convert and transfer heat. But just because a unit is highly rated in one area doesn’t mean it’s highly rated in the other area as well. Salesmen sometimes emphasize one in order to sell less efficient units. Before buying a fireplace, you’ll need to consider its:
- Combustion Efficiency. Estimates how much fuel is converted into heat inside the fireplace. Keep in mind that this rating assumes the homeowner will be using high-quality fuel, like ash, oak, or elm, which produce lots of heat, unlike alder or willow, which produce very little.
- Overall Efficiency. Estimates how much heat from the fireplace is transferred out into your home, rather than sucked up the chimney or absorbed by its brick, steel, glass, or aluminum structure.
If you already have a fireplace installed in your home, there are ways to increase its efficiency. First, make sure your wood is in good condition. Burning wet wood generates a lot of smoke. This can not only waft out into the room, but it sends most of the heat up the chimney. Second, installing glass doors in front of your fireplace reduces the amount of ambient air that gets drawn inside and keeps it circulating instead, which helps maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the house.
Energy Efficient Fireplaces
Traditional fireplaces lose a lot of energy. By contrast, modern fireplaces release more heat into the room, making them a viable alternative to modern furnaces. The most energy efficient fireplaces on the market are:
- Rumford Fireplaces. A tall, narrow fireplace with angled sides that reflect heat back into the room while creating a big updraft that prevents smoke from wafting out of the chimney.
- Wood-Pellet Stoves. Wood-pellets generate more heat and fewer emissions than traditional firewood. For the most efficient models, look for stoves that are EPA-certified, generally distinguishable by their single metal door. However, if you’re uncertain, look for the EPA logo on the back label.
- Fireplace Inserts. A fireproof box made from steel or cast iron, with an insulated glass door in front. The metal frame traps the heat while a built-in fan circulates warm air through the room. Inserts are powered by a wide range of fuels, including electricity, gas, propane, wood, pellets, or coal.
- Gas Fireplaces. Gas fireplaces are powered by natural gas or propane. They burn so cleanly (over 99 percent of their fuel is converted to heat) that some models don’t even require ventilation. Installing a gas fireplace combines the strengths of traditional and electric fireplaces. Like electric fireplaces, gas fireplaces produce little residue and are easy to clean. And because propane and natural gas are both cheaper than electricity, installing a gas fireplace lets you heat your home at a significantly lower cost, like a traditional fireplace.
Save Money By Joining Agway
Installing an energy efficient fireplace helps you save money day-to-day, but joining Agway helps you save money long-term. Our EnergyGuardTM program protects your furnace, boiler, air conditioner, and internal wiring* against wear and tear. This type of damage can cost hundreds of dollars to fix and isn’t covered by home insurance. Fortunately, it is covered by EnergyGuardTM.
When the need for repair occurs, our customers don’t have to waste time hunting for a qualified technician. They contact us instead. We send an experienced contractor out to your home as soon as possible. Then, we not only pay for the cost of the visit, but all covered parts as well. There are no service fees or deductibles either. Contact us to start saving on repairs today!
*Coverage depends on which commodity you purchase.