How to Buy a Wood Fireplace - Part 1 of 2
The ambiance that a wood-burning fireplace creates is hard to beat. When you set out to purchase one, it’s important to understand the basics. This two-part blog series will walk you through wood fireplace basics, helping you to choose the best type for your home and lifestyle.
Two Types of Wood Fireplaces
There are basically two kinds of wood fireplaces: manufactured EPA-certified wood fireplaces, and masonry-built wood fireplaces. They have distinct and important differences…
- Manufactured EPA-certified wood fireplace. Consist of a firebox and venting system that’s produced in a factory and then installed in your home. Usually built into a surround made of stone or brick, you can finish it with a hearth foundation and/or a mantel. EPA-certified wood fireplaces feature advanced design and combustion technologies, making them the most efficient wood fireplaces available. Some models can provide heat for up to 16 hours on a single load of quality wood, while expelling minimal pollutants into the environment. And because they burn so completely, there’s less ash to clean up. They have closed combustion systems, meaning the doors should be closed during operation for the most efficient burn. An example is the Heatilator Constitution.
Constitution EPA-Certified Wood Fireplace
- Masonry-built wood fireplace. Constructed onsite in the home, this type of fireplace is highly inefficient. It has an open combustion system, so is only -15 to +15 percent efficient, exhausting up to 300 cubic feet of heated air outside the home every minute they burn, while dumping pollutants into the environment. The good news – it is possible to significantly improve the performance of a masonry-built fireplace with a fireplace insert.
Benefits of Manufactured EPA-certified Models
Today’s manufactured EPA-certified wood fireplaces are beautiful and functional, with some distinct benefits:
- Some models can be up to 76 percent efficient
- Advanced burn technology gets the most heat out of the wood you harvest or purchase
- They produce minimal emissions and very low levels of particulates
- Your heating bills can be significantly lowered, especially if your central furnace is fueled by heating oil or propane
- You are responsibly burning wood, which is a renewable fuel
But wait, there’s more. Watch for Part 2 of this series coming up next week!