With homeowners facing the inevitable crunch of rising energy prices this heating season, Hearth & Home Technologies, the world’s largest fireplace manufacturer and leading provider of hearth products, reminds homeowners that wise use of gas fireplaces can significantly reduce their monthly heating bill. While higher natural gas and liquid propane prices may tempt cost-conscious homeowners to limit their gas fireplace use, gas fireplaces can actually reduce dependence on a central furnace—providing immediate cost savings.
Zone Heating with Gas Fireplaces
By practicing zone heating with gas fireplaces, homeowners heat the room or living area where people spend the most time. This allows them to turn down the thermostat on their central furnace and use the gas fireplace as a supplemental heat source. As the central heating supply, furnaces distribute heat across the entire house including rooms that are not in use. Operating a furnace for one hour at 75,000 -100,000 Btu cost a homeowner $1.12 - $1.49 based on last month’s national average natural gas rate. By comparison, a natural gas fireplace running at 30,000 Btu per hour cost only 45 cents. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense to limit the furnace output whenever possible and heat the most frequently used rooms with a gas fireplace.
“Homeowners spend the majority of their time usually in the family room and kitchen,” said Trisha Gregory, retail channel marketing manager, Hearth & Home Technologies. “By adding a gas fireplace to the family room, homeowners can the heat the space they spend the most time in. And if the family room is in the lower level of the home, homeowners gain the advantage of the natural heat rising to other levels of the home.”
What to Look For
Homeowners considering buying a gas fireplace should first look for units that are A.F.U.E. (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rated. A.F.U.E. gas fireplaces are tested to the same standard used to rate today’s energy efficient furnaces. The second thing to look for is direct vent gas fireplaces. Direct vent gas fireplaces burn efficiently with up to 70 percent of the heat they generate remaining in the house.
Direct vent gas technology allows gas fireplaces to install in virtually any room of the home at a fraction of the cost of a masonry fireplace. This makes them an ideal choice for zone heating. They are particularly effective for zone heating because people absorb the radiant heat from the glass front while the firebox also heats the air in the room. Masonry woodburning fireplaces in comparison can lose up 85 percent of the fire’s heat through the chimney. Direct vent gas fireplaces also conveniently operate at the push of a button via a wall control or remote control. And they do not require any ash clean up after use.
Latest Cost-Saving Technology
In addition to zone heating savings, homeowners can save up to $12 each month on their gas bill by selecting a direct vent gas fireplace with an intermittent pilot ignition (IPI) system. For example, Heat & Glo™, Heatilator® and Quadra-Fire® brand direct vent gas fireplaces feature a patented IPI system known as Intellifire®. This electric ignition system eliminates to keep the pilot light always lit to use the fireplace. The IPI system automatically turns on the pilot when the homeowner turns on the fireplace. An IPI system can reduce as much as half the gas used by a fireplace, over nine million Btu per year, by turning on and off the pilot light.
Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra-Fire also offer Heat-Zone™ technology to further reduce heating costs. Different from zone heating, Heat-Zone allows homeowners to disperse heat from the fireplace up to two other rooms in their home. With a Heat-Zone option turned on, the fireplace directs heat to another location through flexible ducting that’s finished off with a standard floor grate. A fan system draws the air from around the firebox and pushes it into an area where warmth is more desirable at the time. It’s the perfect answer for those wanting a flexible heat source for more than one room without maintaining a higher setting on their furnace.
Another heat enhancing feature available only on Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra-Fire brand gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts is Firebrick™ technology. FireBrick is a patented technology that replaces the fireplace’s metal firebox with a molded ceramic material. This creates a seamless firebox that generates up to 15 percent more radiant heat than its metal counterparts. Instead of losing heat due to convection through the sides and back of a metal firebox, Firebrick technology directs the additional heat into the room. In fact, Firebrick fireboxes generate so much radiant heat they don’t require a fan to disperse heat into the room.
Some new direct vent gas fireplaces are even programmable enabling a homeowner to program the unit to light or shut off at anytime. For example, the Heat & Glo Soulstice™ direct vent gas fireplace is a stylish fireplace that’s ideal for intimate spaces such as the master suite. It comes standard with a sleep timer so homeowners can fall to sleep to the warmth and beauty of a fire or wake up to one. As a result, homeowners can limit their furnace use earlier in the evening and delay its use in the morning.
Homeowners concerned about reducing their heating bill can look to gas fireplaces as a viable solution. By using the appliances properly and employing the latest technology available, they can obtain a functional supplemental heat source while also reaping the lifestyle benefits that come from spending time in front of the hearth.
Hearth & Home Technologies is the world’s largest fireplace manufacturer and a leading provider of hearth products for the home. The Hearth & Home Technologies family includes Heat & Glo™, Heatilator® and Quadra-Fire® brand hearth products and Fireside Hearth & Home™ brand hearth retail stores. More information on Hearth & Home Technologies can be found at www.hearthnhome.com.