Stay Green With a High-Efficiency Fireplace for Your Homestead

Learn why a EPA-certified, high-efficiency fireplace burns more efficiently with less air pollution than conventional masonry fireplaces, steel heat forms, radiant fireplaces or "zero-clearance" factory-built fireplaces.


| October/November 2003



An EPA-certified Energy King Bay 2000 fireplace insert.

An EPA-certified Energy King Bay 2000 fireplace insert.


ENERGY KING

Stay green by choosing a high-efficiency fireplace that burns more efficiently and produces less air pollution.

The classic fireplace, with a blazing fire open to the room, is a traditional symbol of comfort and security. Many people include a fireplace among their "must have" features when planning for their dream home. On a more practical level, an open fireplace is notoriously inefficient as a means of heating a room. Its appetite for air, to keep smoke from the fire going up the chimney instead of out into the room, is what causes the inefficiency.

But lots of people, including many who already heat their homes with a woodstove, probably would consider a high-efficiency fireplace instead — if they could find one that would do the job efficiently. The enduring popularity of fireplaces combined with the choice many of us make to use renewable wood heat for our homes has prompted a number of changes in traditional fireplace design that attempt to address the inefficiency problem.

To be an effective heater, a fireplace must borrow some of the features perfected by woodstove designers over the last 20 years. These include gasketed, ceramic glass doors with an airwash system to keep them clean; firebox insulation and internal baffling. An adjustable combustion air supply also is needed to control the burn rate and, therefore, the output of heat.

Some fireplaces with all these features are on the market. The quick way to find them is to look for either factory-built fireplaces or fireplace inserts that are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as meeting the EPA smoke emission standards, which stipulate acceptable concentrations of air polluting emissions from freestanding woodstoves and fireplace inserts.

In designing these fireplaces to burn efficiently enough to meet the standards, the manufacturers have produced some beautiful units that also are able to provide significant heat to your home.





dairy goat

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.

LEARN MORE