The Easy and Efficient Way to Heat Your Home:

The Easy and Efficient Way to Heat Your Home:
hile many people agree that a roaring fire on a cold
day helps make a house a home, choosing from
today’s myriad of hearth options can be confusing, especially
when trying to balance aesthetics with efficiency. From style
to fuel type and heating needs to installation restrictions,
there is a fireplace, stove, insert or log set that is right for you
and your house.
Traditional fireplaces provide the ambiance of a roaring
fire, but send most of their heat and all of the combustion
by-products up the chimney. Today’s consumers not only
demand ambiance, but also want to capture the heat while
reducing the environmental impact. Manufacturers have
responded with attractive fireplaces, stoves and other
options that warm the living areas of your home while saving
you money on your heating bill.
Enjoying a fire can be as simple as pushing a button or as
engaging as cutting your own wood, building and tending
a fire. Your local hearth retailer can help determine the best
product based on climate, lifestyle and your home’s layout.
Did You Know?
Zone heating (putting heat
where you need it, when
you need it) allows you to
turn down the thermostat
on your central heating
system, and save money on
your energy bill.
Zone Heating:
Heat Where and
When You Need It
A central furnace can
waste money by heating
your entire home – even
unoccupied rooms. Zone
heating, with a fireplace,
stove, or logset insert in
the rooms your family
occupies most, allows you to turn down the thermostat of the
central furnace and can decrease your fuel bill by 20 to 40
percent.* Zone heating is the perfect solution for warming a
cold room or a new room addition.
Did You Know?
Modern fireplaces are
engineered as a firebox
Fireplaces add value to
enclosed within a steel
your home - about 12
cabinet. Air circulates between percent per fireplace.
the inner and outer boxes
- National Association
transferring the heat to
of Realtors
your room and keeping the
outer wall relatively cool. Spacers surrounding the cabinet
allow it to be installed close to the wood framing in new
construction or remodeling.
Compared to a site-built fireplace, factory-built systems are
surprisingly inexpensive to purchase and install. They use
a safe, lightweight chimney (or no chimney at all) and do
not need the additional structural support required for a
masonry chimney. They can be easily and safely installed in
almost any room.
Freestanding stoves are the most versatile hearth product.
They can be made from cast iron, steel or stone and come
in a wide selection of sizes and styles finished in porcelain,
enamel or paint. Today’s stoves are very efficient, produce
minimal ash, burn longer and use less fuel. Heat radiates
from their thick metal or stone construction to keep homes
cozy on the coldest winter days. And many have a ceramic
glass to allow fire viewing.
Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts install into existing fireplaces – masonry
or factory-built – to improve efficiency and reduce
environmental impact. A fireplace insert is essentially the
same as a freestanding stove except it uses an existing
chimney, though a flue liner or other modification may
be necessary. Vent-free natural gas, propane and electric
fireplace inserts require no chimney or flue modification.
Manufactured Log Sets
More Choices Than Ever
Every year, hearth manufacturers offer more products in sizes,
styles and colors to match your home décor with features to
enhance your enjoyment. Let or your local
retailer help you find the latest in hearth technology and
design for your home.
If you have an existing fireplace but dislike hauling in the
logs and scooping out the ash, a gas or electric log set puts
an instant fire at your fingertips. Both gas and electric log
sets provide dramatic realism, from the realistic ceramic fiber
or concrete logs down to the glowing embers. Electric log
sets are especially popular for apartments where access to
gas may be limited.
Ambiance vs. Heating: Is there a Choice?
There can be a balance between aesthetics and efficiency
in hearth products. But there are a number of products on
the market that are designed for ambiance and decorative
purposes only. These decorative hearth products should not
be confused with heater-listed options that are featured on
the attached chart entitled “At-a-Glance.”
Decorative Hearth Products
Fireplaces Open, traditonal wood, some direct-vent
gas and electric fireplaces
Some direct-vent gas and electric stoves
Direct-vent gas and some electric inserts
Log Sets
Vented gas and some electric log sets
A Hearth Product For Any Room: Easier and
More Affordable Than You Think
Installing a fireplace once required building an expensive
chimney, base and flue system. With today’s multiple
venting options, a fireplace, stove or log set can be installed
almost anywhere in your home – even in non-traditional
locations such as the kitchen, home office, master bedroom
or even the bathroom.
Many hearth products can be installed in an existing room
affordably with very little effort and without the need for
major remodeling. Whether updating an existing hearth
product or adding a new fireplace, fireplace insert, stove or
log set, there are a variety of products available to fit your
For safe and reliable installation of any hearth product, the
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) recommends
that a professional installer certified by the National
Fireplace Institute® perform all installation tasks.
Fueling the Fire
When selecting an appliance, it is important to evaluate
product efficiency with the price of the selected fuel in the
geographic location in which you reside.
HPBA has developed an easy to use fuel calculator (www. that provides the projected cost of
the hearth product’s use. Your local hearth retailer can help
you decide which fuel will suit your needs and lifestyle.
Wood Fireplaces, Stoves and Inserts
The wood-burning technology in today’s stoves reduces
pollution and increases efficiency. Residential wood stoves
are now certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) to produce as much as 90 percent less wood
smoke emissions than uncertified wood-burning appliances.
Gas Fireplaces, Stoves, Inserts and Log Sets
Gas stoves, fireplaces, fireplace inserts and log sets are all
available with manual controls, remotes, wall thermostats
and remote thermostats. Most offer blowers to help
circulate the heat. Gas inserts and log sets can provide a
unique alternative to existing wood-burning fireplaces. Gas
stoves, fireplaces, inserts and log sets can burn either natural
gas or propane.
Pellet, Corn and Alternative Fuel Stoves and Inserts
Pellet stoves and fireplace inserts use fuel made from
renewable resources – recycled wood waste, dried corn,
and other materials, and
Did You Know?
have been growing in
popularity. Simple to use,
According to the National
the pellets are poured into
Association of Home
a hopper, which feeds the
Builders, fireplaces rank
fuel automatically into the
among the top three
stove’s burn pot. A single
features desired by new
load can burn up to 24
home buyers.
Electric Fireplaces
Electric hearth products have great appeal for consumers
because of their ease of installation, safe, cool-to-the-touch
exteriors, and their clean, hassle-free convenience. Thanks
to new technology, electric fireplace users can enjoy the
ambiance of a fire with or without heat. Electric fireplaces
can be installed in virtually any room without special
venting or fuel supply as they simply plug into any standard
household electrical outlet.
Manufacturers are continually working to improve the
options available to consumers. From models that offer
higher efficiency ratings to more diverse designs, there is
a hearth product for every home.
Find out more at
* ACEE 1990 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
Proceedings, Volume 9.
HPBA Heating Products at-a-Glance: Your Local Hearth Retailer Can Help Select the Best Product For Your Home
Most fireplaces are
engineered and pre-built.
Factory-built fireplaces are
surprisingly inexpensive, use a
safe, lightweight chimney and
Factory-built fireplaces are
do not need any additional
available in a range of sizes
structural support. Because
and can be open on one, two
they have fewer limitations than
(“see-through” and corner
models), three (“peninsula”) or site-built masonry fireplaces,
they can be easily and safely
four sides (“oasis”).
installed in almost any room.
Brick, stone, marble and
Gas vent-free fireplaces
other facing materials can be
combined with your choice of require no chimney or flue
mantels to suit your décor.
Electric fireplaces simply
plugin to an electrical outlet.
burn wood
as well as
natural gas
or propane.
A stove can be installed almost
anywhere in the home. As
stove construction is extremely
air-tight and durable, clearance
to walls could be as little as six
burn wood,
natural gas
coal, wood
pellets, oil
or run on
The most versatile hearth
product, stoves are available
in a wide selection of sizes and
styles, and can be made of
steel, stone or cast iron.
Vent-free gas stoves require
no chimney or fire modification.
Log Sets
Fireplace inserts are heating
units that retrofit into an
existing fireplace (masonry
or factory-built). Inserts are
used to change an existing
non-efficient fireplace into an
efficient room heater.
A set of logs may be the most
convenient way to have flames
at your fingertips. Log sets
provide dramatic realism from
the ceramic logs.
Inserts utilize the existing
chimney, though a flue liner
or other modification may be
Vent-free inserts for gas,
electric or propane require no
chimney or flue modification.
Most have blowers to circulate
the heat.
Log sets can be inserted
into an existing fireplace,
though modifications may be
Vent-free gas log sets require
no chimney or fire modification.
(in US$)
Typical cost of post
construction (remodel) of an
EPA certified wood-burning
fireplace: $3,000-$5,000.
Factory-built fireplaces (EPA Certified) are
heater-listed and can be 60 - 80% efficient.
Typical cost of post
construction (remodel) of a
gas fireplace: $3,000-$5,000
(assumes no gas line work).
Electric fireplaces are the
easiest to install as no
venting or chimney is
required. The typical cost:
Typical cost of a
wood stove with new
chimney: $3,000-$4,200.
Pellet stove: $3,500-$4,000.
Gas stove: $3,000-$4,000.
Electric stoves offer easy
installation and require no
venting or chimney. The
typical cost: $100-$600.
burn wood,
natural gas,
wood and
corn pellets,
or run on
Typical cost of a wood,
pellet or gas insert into
existing fireplace with new
liner: $3,000-$4,000 (assumes
no gas line work).
Log sets
use natural
or run on
Typical cost of vent-free
gas log sets: $400-$1,000.
Electric inserts are simple to
install into an existing unused
masonry fireplace. The typical
cost: $100-$300.
Typical cost of electric log
sets: $100-$300.
Heater-listed direct-vent gas fireplaces are
58 - 80% efficient.
Vent-free gas fireplaces are 92 - 99% efficient.
Condensing gas fireplaces, an emerging
technology, are 82 - 94% efficient.
Electric fireplaces with heating elements are
up to 99% efficient.
Wood stoves (EPA certified) are 60 - 80% efficient.
Pellet stoves are 50 - 80% efficient.
Corn stoves are 40 - 75% efficient.***
Heater-listed direct-vent gas stoves are
58 - 80% efficient.
Vent-free gas stoves are 92 - 99% efficient.
Electric stoves are up to 99% efficient.
Wood inserts (EPA certified) are 60 - 80% efficient.
Pellet inserts are 50 - 80% efficient.
Heater-listed direct-vent gas fireplace inserts
are 58 - 80% efficient.
Vent-free gas inserts are 92 - 99% efficient.
Electric inserts are up to 99% efficient.
Vent-free gas log sets are 92 - 99% efficient.
Electric log sets are up to 99% efficient.
* Accessories such as remote controls and gas line work may add to the estimated cost.
**Efficiency Notes: 1) Vent-free gas appliances: Some sources use 92-99% depending on how efficiencies are measured. 2) Electric appliances: The energy efficiency measured on this chart does not take into account getting electricity to
the house. 3) Canadian residents: For more information on the efficiency ratings for gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts, go to Vent-free products are not available in Canada.
4) Data for efficiency ratings came from multiple sources, including: HPBA members,, Vent-Free Gas Products Alliance, 5) The estimated efficiency number (higher is better) is the result of measuring how
much energy comes out of the hearth product from the amount of fuel put into it.
Visit to learn more.
*** The delivered efficiency of corn stoves is slightly less than pellet stoves due to the higher moisture content in corn compared to wood pellets.