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Does a fireplace fire help heat a home and lower heating costs?

Started 1326602160.953 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1326680495.32 by violann

I want to know once and for all and maybe I can get somewhere with these people. Thanks in advanceSmile

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Brabls1326603172.21714740 PostsRegistered 4/27/2007

Ib there is a special mechanism & fully screen, it can help. Regular old fire place, no.

There are plenty of web sites. Or go to a fireplace store.

Last edited on 1/14/2012

Last edited on 1/14/2012

Cardamom1326603454.3377096 PostsRegistered 6/24/2006
My fireplace heats my great room, not my whole house. The problem is that the thermostat is in the great room so the heat turns off and the rest of my house is freezing. So possibly in my case my bill will be lower because the heat is off. I would not use this as a heat source and I am hesitant to have a fire because I know my bedroom will be freezing. I think it would work better in a two story where heat rises.

RedConvert­ibleGirl1326603478.65714999 PostsRegistered 9/3/2005Pacific NW

Not in any home I've ever owned . A fireplace insert definitely heats the room it's in, but I haven't found just a fireplace to be that effective.

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cinebee13266048106578 PostsRegistered 5/7/2007

We have gas fireplaces in the family room, kitchen, and master bedroom. I do think they add heat to the rooms, but I've never seen that they help with the electric bill (everything else in our house is electric, including the central air/heat.)

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desertDi1326611877.05317465 PostsRegistered 7/14/2007Surface of the Sun

The majority of the heat goes up the chimney

Witchy Wom­an1326629762.082909 PostsRegistered 12/17/2005

My husband is a builder/bricklayer. When we built our dream home, we knew fireplaces and chimneys were something we wanted....so, we put one in the dining, living and master bedrooms. They are beautiful and have antique mantels and outside, huge, tall chimneys with decorative brickwork and caps.

I burned a wood fire in the living room one time....

I can tell you that a traditional fireplace will NOT heat your house...it feels great close to it while it is burning, but it is pulling all the air/heat out of your house.

We added gas logs over the years and do use them, but not for seriously heating the house or the room.....they do knock the chill off, but that's about it. I don't like the closed inserts and want to see flames, so....we burn them mostly around holidays and when we have company....at one point, I just put candles in them!

I'm glad my husband built them for us as they add so much to the look of our Victorian home......but they can cost thousands to build, and are purely ornamental in terms of added heat to any home if you burn them as an open unit.

imaclothes­hog1326629893.79323660 PostsRegistered 2/12/2006


Last edited on 1/15/2012

Last edited on 1/15/2012

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it". ~Erma Bombeck

imaclothes­hog1326629951.17323660 PostsRegistered 2/12/2006

Not to hijack the thread but Witchy, your home sounds absolutely lovely. Smile

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it". ~Erma Bombeck

circles1326632240.1619194 PostsRegistered 5/11/2005N.J.

I,too, have to say that the houses I have lived in the fireplace was only warm if you stood in front of it....it won't heat the entire room...much less the entire home...

I found them to be a pita so rarely ever used..I hated the messy clean up...having to monitor the fire..waiting for the fire to burn down so you could go to bed....God forbid an emergency came up where you had to leave your home and now had to find a way to put the fire out...

I live in an apartment and don't plan on buying another home...but if I did...a fireplace would not be a "must" .....

ballyk1326636184.9275075 PostsRegistered 7/3/2006
On 1/15/2012 Amphitrite said:

My grandparents did not have central heat and air when I was a child. They had a fireplace with a wood burning stove, which had a blower of some type that blew the hot air back into the room. That stove heated the whole house, except the back bedrooms got cold if you closed the doors. They heated their house that way for years.

We heated our house that way for 20 years and cut our own wood. Therefore no heating cost. A lot of work though.

gardenman1326636643.94717975 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

Does a fireplace help heat a home? The answer is: It depends. Go back over a hundred and fifity or so years ago and fireplaces were the only heat source in most homes. They had multiple fireplaces typically around a central chimney mass with a fire going constantly. That entire brick mass of the chimney would become a giant radiator in the house and help to heat the whole house. With the fire constantly burning the heat builds and builds and builds. Even then most people would cluster close to the fireplace to stay warm. Modern fireplaces with insulated metal chimneys and little thermal mass with a fire lit more as decoration than a heat source aren't as effective in heating a home. They're typically much more efficient than the older fireplaces, but without that large thermal mass of a giant chimney that's heated 24 hours a day, they just aren't effective as a heat source.

Does it lower heating costs? Not unless you've got a free source of wood. A fire roaring away 24 hours a day eats a lot of wood. Firewood costs are such that you'd probably spend more heating a typical home with firewood than you would with a conventional fuel. The amount of firewood you'd go through trying to heat even a small house with nothing but firewood for a whole winter would be enormous. There's also an environmental impact. Wood fires aren't the most environmentally friendly things. The government's been pretty lenient in regulating wood burning fireplaces so far, but I have few doubts that they'll turn their attention to fireplace emissions at some time in the very near future.

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osp13031326636886.5159 PostsRegistered 9/2/2009

When I purchased my home several years ago it had a fireplace in the living room. I immediately had a wood burning insert installed in it. The heat it produces is amazing. It also has a blower on it so when the fire reaches a certain temperature, the blower turns on and blows all that wonderful heat throughout the room. You can even adjust the amount of heat it blows out or shut it off completely. The front door of the insert has a nice size piece of glass so you can watch the beauty of the fire. Also, the place I purchased it from delivered and installed it for free. I live in Northeast Ohio where our winters can be very brutal. I usually go through a cord of wood a winter and my gas bill has dropped tremendously. It is by far one of the best investments I have ever made in my home.

yellowrose1326637880.134368 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

ditto to what osp said. Our central heat unit has a heat pump, and when it gets below freezing it doesn't blow warm air unless we want to use the emergency heat, so we have to use the fireplace. With the blower, the house stays toasty warm.

drizzellla1326640345.3331686 PostsRegistered 7/16/2007

I know of two houses that have the fireplace in the center of the house. And the fireplaces are made of stone. The fireplace is in the livingroom and the back of the fireplace is part of the kitchen wall. When there is a fire in the fireplace the stone gets warm and keeps the entire first floor comfortable.

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PinkyPetun­ia1326640770.3274687 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004NJ

We have a gas fireplace (decorative logs appear to burn). It is attractive when it's on. It warms the great room up a little, but the room has a high cathedral ceiling and all the heat just rises up and heats the open loft area on the 2nd floor. We don't use it that much, only when it's very cold and we're in the great room.

Breky1326640921.9672054 PostsRegistered 6/29/2008Connecticut Shoreline

No. It provides radiant heating in the immediate area of the fireplace, but it eats oxygen and pulls warmth from your home reducing the heat from other areas of your home.

A gas fireplace, or an even more efficient propane fireplace can provide heat to the home while providing ambiance. As long as the fireplace is installed properly and is vented to the outside so it will draw in air from the outside rather than pull air from your home. If it pulls air from the inside of your home you will draw the warm air up the chimney just like a regular fireplace.

A high efficiency propane fireplace vented to receive air from the outside is the best bet.

JMHO - Pats

Lynneuk1326643048.6778614 PostsRegistered 11/3/2006

We bought a high end electric fireplace a few years ago. It isn't like the ones you see at Home Depot, it is really beautiful. To be honest we got it as a focal point and for the ambiance but we were pleasantly surprised at how effective it is at heating the downstairs.

It doesn't seem to raise our electric bill hardly at all and definitely lowers our gas bill because the furnace isn't running.

I like the look and feel of a real fireplace but I think the mess and safety issue are not worth it. They are not effective at heating a home either.

When such attractive,functional gas or electric fireplaces are now available it doesn't seem worth it to use a real one.

Maggie Nol­ia1326644242.96714669 PostsRegistered 1/30/2006

Does a fireplace fire help heat a home and lower heating costs?

No! Absolutely not!

I wouldn't give you 15 cents for a fireplace. They s u c k whatever warm air there is in your house and throw it out through the chimney.

In my particular case, my house is built so tightly, that we had to open a window for the fireplace to "draw". Needless to say, there have been just two fires in that fireplace in the over 25 years that I've lived here, and those two were soon after moving here.

If you need "ambiance" and think a fireplace might provide that, save yourself a lot of money and just buy one of those fireplace DVDs.

Last edited on 1/15/2012

Last edited on 1/15/2012

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MotorCity ­Chick1326655498.691816 PostsRegistered 2/1/2005Michigan

YES YES YES!!!! We converted our natural fireplace to gas and we were shocked at the savings!! Our house is so much warmer and the gas savings was significant!

MarthaStew­ardess1326657595.77840 PostsRegistered 11/14/2006
On 1/15/2012 PinkyPetunia said:

We have a gas fireplace (decorative logs appear to burn). It is attractive when it's on. It warms the great room up a little, but the room has a high cathedral ceiling and all the heat just rises up and heats the open loft area on the 2nd floor. We don't use it that much, only when it's very cold and we're in the great room.

Same here. I do like to see the fire and it does a nice job of heating the large great room, but I rarely use it. I have a spare bedroom upstairs that has a couch, tv, computer, etc that I use in the winter time. It's lovely and cozy up there.

I remember as a kid when I lived with my grandparents and they had a fireplace. It was a coal fire. I always loved cleaning it out in the morning and getting it ready for the next fire that day.

goodstuff1326660357.2217170 PostsRegistered 11/11/2008

The gas logs in our living room help to keep that room a bit warmer so we can sit in there comfortably and keep the thermostat setting low. The fireplace does nothing for the rest of the house.

di-mc1326660600.2437669 PostsRegistered 12/4/2006the real world

You have to outfit your fireplace with a wood burning stove. Those things really heat up the house! We had one in VT and it was wonderful!

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violann1326680495.3213938 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004
We have two fireplaces with gas inserts, one in the living room and one in the kichen. They make the house much more comfortable in cold weather and they are both much prettier than wood fires. They contributed very little as wood burners.

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