Fireplaces bring a home to life unlike any other appliance. What better place is there to gather than around a cozy fire? A masonry fireplace is often an architectural centerpiece of a home’s main living space. Although a traditional fireplace is a beautiful and sought-after amenity, many homeowners are equally interested in cutting both heating costs and air pollution. Fortunately, there are numerous hearth products today that offer a fire to enjoy plus eco-friendly supplemental heat. The wide variety of hearth products include units suitable for any room, and they may be more affordable than you would expect.
There is no denying that the charm of a masonry fireplace is irresistible, but it’s not tough to pass on its inefficiency. Masonry fireplaces provide less than 10% of the heat from the fire to the home. The other 90% or so goes up the chimney, along with combustion byproducts. When the fireplace isn’t in use, air is usually swapped from inside to outside and vice versa, through the chimney. This is another element of masonry fireplace inefficiency that spikes utility costs.
Factory-built fireplaces, on the other hand, meet EPA requirements, which means that they have high efficiency ratings. The engineering is what makes pre-fab fireplaces excellent as supplemental heat sources. A firebox is enclosed within a steel cabinet. Between the boxes, air circulates; and heat is transferred into the room while keeping the unit cool.
Whereas a masonry fireplace involves special construction and costs upwards of $20,000, factory-built fireplaces are affordable. Chimneys are not required for venting. Due to the aforementioned construction of prefab fireplaces, it’s safe to install them near combustible materials. These affordable fireplaces can be installed in virtually any room of your home.
If you do install multiple fireplaces, you can cut utility costs further by zone heating in wintertime. This means you turn off central heating and warm only the room you’re in.
Stoves are also great options for home heating. Same as with fireplaces or fireplace inserts, they can be fueled by wood, gas, or pellets. In addition to the traditional cast iron construction, stoves are available in steel, stone, and porcelain finishes. Highly efficient, freestanding stoves achieve excellent combustion, leaving a minimal amount of ash. Modern wood stoves burn longer and provide more heat using less fuel. Heat radiates from stoves, to provide comfortable heat on the coldest of days.
The styles available in hearth products are incredibly diverse. No matter what type of décor you have in your home, there is a fireplace or stove that will add to the aesthetics. According to the National Association of Realtors, the value to your home for added fireplaces is about 12% per fireplace. Modern, efficient stoves should give a similar boost in value.
For the short-term, long-term, and in-between, installing hearth products is a value-added investment that can add more life, warmth, and appeal to your home.