Eighty to 90 percent of heat produced in a wood-burning fireplace can be lost up the chimney.
While caulking cracks around windows and using compact fluorescent light bulbs and ENERGY STAR® appliances are smart steps toward conversation, one often-overlooked area that has an immediate impact on home energy use is the fireplace. In fact, fireplace options can either harm or help with energy savings, depending on many factors. For instance, is the fireplace vented or non-vented, what type of fuel is used and how much heat escapes the home.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homeowners. With crisper temperatures approaching, fireplaces.com provides a valuable resource for homeowners preparing for a season of high heating bills, resulting from increasing energy prices and demand for oil and natural gas.
There are a variety of hearth options available to help homeowners keep their homes warm and comfortable, while simultaneously lowering utility bills.
- Consider retrofitting energy draining fireplaces with direct vent gas inserts. With little effort, homeowners can convert dated heat-draining wood-burning fireplaces with modern high-efficiency direct vent inserts, which will produce immediate benefits. Operated by the flip of a switch, direct vent gas inserts offer homeowners the greatest level of convenience and little effort. Certified professionals can install a direct vent gas insert into an existing wood-burning fireplace without the need for major construction, heavy remodeling charges or inconvenience. Direct vent gas inserts achieve greater heating efficiency through the use of a sealed system. With this type of system, 100 percent of the combustion air necessary to produce a flame comes from outside the home, eliminating heat loss associated with conventional chimneys. As with wood-burning fireplaces, which can suck the air out of a home, homeowners can see immediate benefits by using this type of hearth. Direct vent gas inserts also ensure healthy indoor air environments and, through lower heating bills, can pay for themselves in a matter of a few years.
- Look into renewable zone heating with gas, pellet or wood-burning appliances. Through zone heating, heat is restricted to the most frequently used parts of the home and helps keep a home's heating costs down. Homeowners can turn down the thermostats on the central furnace and have the option of pellet stoves, wood-burning fireplaces or direct vent gas inserts to zone heat their home. With some hearth products, a 3,500 square-foot home can be heated, but ideally homeowners will be able to heat the rooms used the most.
- Look for EPA 40 when purchasing wood-burning fireplaces, inserts and stoves. High-efficiency wood-burning fireplaces, inserts and stoves are an attractive choice. Since 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required this type of fireplace to pass stringent emission tests – meaning new wood-burning fireplaces burn much cleaner and use less wood to produce greater amounts of heat than dated models. Homeowners should look for the EPA 40 certified high-efficiency models, which give the option to burn the appliance on no-burn or low emission days. In addition, they offer up to 78 percent efficiency, making them a powerful home heating source.
- Don't wait until winter strikes. Waiting until winter to address high heating bills can be a costly mistake. Waiting to explore options until the cold weather arrives can result in long deliveries and installation delays. Homeowners can review their options and find a reputable dealer by visiting fireplaces.com.
Images, product information and industry comments are available upon request. To speak to an expert, contact Katie Burton at 317-873-8100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Hearth & Home Technologies Inc.
Hearth & Home Technologies leads the industry with a wide range of environmentally sustainable whole hearth systems. The Hearth & Home Technologies family includes Heatilator®, Heat & Glo™, Quadra-Fire® and Harman brand hearth products and Fireside Hearth & Home™ brand hearth design centers. The company's environmentally sustainable fireplaces provide energy efficiency, warmth/comfort and excellent indoor air quality. Hearth & Home Technologies' environmentally sustainable fireplaces are also manufactured, packaged and delivered with respect for the environment. Hearth & Home Technologies is a subsidiary of HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI), the second largest office furniture manufacturer in the United States.