At David White Services in Athens, we often get asked if a fireplace can be used to supplement central heating systems to cut costs. With both gas and electric prices going up year after year, it’s a fair question. However, the answer isn’t a simple yes because it depends on the situation.
Wood-Burning Fireplaces as Heating
Wood-burning stoves used to be a way to heat homes before the introduction of electric and gas central heating systems. However, most wood-burning fireplaces before 1980 have an open-hearth masonry design, which isn’t efficient and often fails to warm a room adequately due to the heat escaping through a drafty chimney. This makes them a less-than-perfect choice for a heating solution.
However, in the past 40 years, sealed inserts that fit snugly into an existing fireplace and standalone models have become increasingly popular. They’re a closed box with a glass front and a vent for the smoke and ash. Many models include a blower that directs the heat into the room. Inserts work well with all fuel choices, including wood, gas, and electricity.
Gas Fireplace Energy Efficiency
Direct-vent gas fireplaces and gas fireplace inserts are excellent solutions to high heating bills. Both are great for zone heating, and if you already have gas lines, then installation is affordable and simple.
Choosing an Electric Fireplace for Heating Solutions
If you’re looking for a more modern solution with the least cost over the life of the fireplace, an electric insert is the best option. Almost none of the heat leaks out of the house, and the average cost is three cents per hour!
A Note on Location
The one thing you should know when trying to use any fireplace to heat all or part of your house is that the location matters. The best way to reduce the use of your furnace or central heating system is to install the fireplace in a room everyone uses the most. That way, there’s less of a need to turn on the primary heating system.
If you’d like to discuss your fireplace’s energy efficiency or you wish to install a new energy-efficient fireplace for winter, contact David White Services in Athens. We also offer heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, and installation.