Costly utility bills and the lack of being heat efficient have earned wood-burning fireplaces a bad rap. Traditional open-hearth fireplaces are known for their inefficiency at heating a home. They can put off soot and fine particles that reduce indoor air quality. Because of this, gas fireplaces have become trendy in newer homes, and many open-hearth fireplaces have been filled with gas fireplace inserts.
There are many people who love a wood fire. Whether it’s because they enjoy chopping and stacking their own firewood or they are just partial to the warm, golden glow and gentle crackle of a wood-burning fire. For whatever reason, there is a way to make your home more heat efficient with wood. A wood-burning fireplace insert or heating stove can provide you with a warm fire that heats your home efficiently.
Traditional open-hearth wood-burning fireplaces have an efficiency of only 10 percent. This means the fireplace returns about 10 percent of the fire’s heat to your home. The remaining 90 percent of the fire’s heat goes up the chimney. With that in mind, the U.S. EPA cautions that an open-hearth fireplace should not be considered a heating appliance. Because of it’s open face and open chimney, an open-hearth fireplace can actually cause your home to lose heat and raise your heating bills. It’s estimated that 8 percent of a home’s warm air escapes up the chimney flue of an open-hearth fireplace.
A wood-burning fireplace insert can turn your open-hearth fireplace into a heat efficient source. A wood-burning stove can be added to a common area for zone heating, or it can be placed on a lower level and attached to ductwork to help heat your home. Depending on the fireplace insert or heating stove you choose, your new heating appliance can be expected to have an efficiency rating between 65 and 83 percent. This can lower your home-heating bills by 10 to 40 percent.
Fitting your open-hearth fireplace with a fireplace insert can also improve your indoor air quality. However, wood fires release fine particles into the air. This has caused the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association to advise against the use of open-hearth, wood-burning fireplaces. Now this is why having an insert is important. As a result, the fire is sealed off from your home, so your indoor air isn’t being filled with fine particles. In addition, they burn much better, meaning more of the smoke and soot is burned away. This causes EPA-certified wood-burning inserts and stoves to release less pollution than a traditional wood fire.
Selecting a wood-burning insert or stove
There are a lot of considerations when selecting a wood-burning fireplace insert or heating stove. It must be the proper size to meet your home-heating needs. In addition, you will want an insert or stove that fits with your personality as well as your home style. If you want to heat your home efficiently with wood fires this winter, contact the experts at Tri-County Hearth & Patio Center at 301-843-1771 or visit the showroom today! We can help you explore all of our wood-burning options and find a model that is right for your home.