If you’re looking to improve the warmth and character of your home, most home owners think of adding a traditional wood burning fireplace. This will enhance the ambience with a romantic atmosphere, but it will also waste an amazing amount of energy. It is estimated that a traditional wood burning fireplace converts only 15% of the energy of the wood into actual heat, so what is the solution?
Yes, new more energy efficient fireplace models are making wood-burners actually achieve energy ratings of more than 75% efficiency. Gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts are getting even higher efficiency. Here are just a few options that make the compromise between ambience and efficiency.
Energy efficient wood burning fireplaces avoid the flaw of the standard design that directs most of the heated air straight up the chimney. Rumford models have a shallow box feature that allows more heat to be reflected back into the room. EPA-rated designs pull in air from outdoors for combustion and the room air is circulated around the firebox to ensure improved maximum heat. In addition, they produce far less pollution in the air than their standard counterparts.
A fireplace insert is a sealed metal box that is designed to be inserted into a masonry fireplace opening. They burn various biomass fuels, especially pellets and wood, and can achieve 80% energy-efficiency. They combust using outside air and circulate warm air from inside the home.
Gas fireplaces are another option. They are convenient and far lower maintenance. Direct venting models combust outside air, which is pulled through a two-way vent and can achieve up to 77% energy efficiency. Vent free options can be even more efficient as they don’t vent exhaust outside but they do release plenty of moisture into indoor air.
If you already have a standard wood-burning fireplace, you can make it more efficient. Installing glass or metal doors reduces the amount of warm air pulled into the fireplace whilst burning. You could expect to pay approximately $300-$500 dollars to have glass doors supplied and installed.
It is worth considering that some designs of a fireplace may qualify for tax credits. There are federal and state programs for a variety of home improvements for energy efficiency.
If you would be interested in learning more about showcasing Stephenville homes or any Erath County homes, please contact us, and we’d be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.