Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fireplace For Heating A Home

In the winter months, there's this temptation to have a fire in the old fireplace.  Here's the problem:: a typical wood burning fireplace is about 20% efficient.  They draw up to 400 cubic feet per minute.   In a 3,000 sq. ft. house, this massive flow would force the heating system to re-heat all the air in the house three times every hour. That’s why operating fireplaces may actually have a negative efficiency.

The situation isn’t much better when the fire dies down, because you must leave the damper open until the fire is totally dead. Dampers often stay open all the time. You might as well leave a window open. Even when closed, dampers could have as much “leakage area” as all the windows and doors combined. Energy analysis standards often ignore these losses. So your house really isn’t as energy efficient as you think.

If you feel the need to have a fireplace going:   Look into electric fireplaces that use Hollywood-quality illusion to create a convincing fire.  If you must have an operating fireplace look into one of the new models certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency for efficiency. These are specially designed “air-tight” woodstoves that fit in masonry or wood-framed walls. They look very similar to traditional fireplaces.

For more info, please refer to this page.

The Frugal Maestro

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