As cold weather sets in, home heating starts to become a real problem for many reasons. It is necessary not only to warm ourselves up, but also to warm the surrounding space to a comfortable temperature.
An excellent option for an alternative source of heat in the house can be a gas, wood-burning or electric fireplace, which, in addition to its main function, will provide an expressive interior, emphasizing its individual style.
Being a striking element of decor, modern fireplaces for the home today are installed both in closed and open spaces, including becoming a favorite vacation spot for the whole family. Their presence in the interior creates a special magical atmosphere with a pleasant feeling of extraordinary comfort.
Fireplaces for home - luxury or necessity
It is believed that fireplaces for the home have a reputation for being environmentally harmful for heating, due to their inefficiency and emissions, which can also have adverse health effects. However, this is nothing more than another myth that should not be believed.
The correct choice of fireplace and skillful handling of fuel eliminate the risk of fire and reduce the presence of emissions to a minimum level that is absolutely harmless to human health.
Questions that must be considered when arranging a fireplace in the house
- Emissions . Combustion of wood, compared to combustion of ethanol or gas, requires various additional appliances due to the combustion products produced. These emissions can cause health problems and other problems not only for you, but also for your neighbors.
- Ventilation . When you use wood, gas or coal as a fuel source, emissions must be discharged through a chimney. Ethanol is a very clean combustion fuel and does not require a chimney. However, it is important to be aware of ventilation problems associated with ethanol combustion sites.
Building codes regulate the construction of fireplaces and chimneys, so you should consult with a specialist before starting work as the rules vary.
When choosing a fireplace, you need to consider the cost, availability and storage of the different fuels for your fireplace. Wood is available from many sources, some of which are free (for example, firewood from a tree fallen in the forest). However, wood is bulky and requires a lot of storage space. Gas is also easy to buy and store, but access to the gas pipeline is required, or it needs to be purchased in cylinders.
If you're connected to a gas grid, gas will be relatively cheap, but if you only have access to bottled gas, heating costs can be as expensive as electricity. Ethanol is easier and cheaper to buy because renewable energy sources are becoming very popular.
Interesting to know! Contrary to popular belief, ethanol-based portable heaters can generate significant amounts of heat.
Fireplace fuel efficiency comparison
Below is a comparison of the efficiency of fireplace fuel. However, before making a choice, you also need to consider the price of each type of fuel and the efficiency of the fireplace itself:
|Type of fuel||Combustion efficiency|
|Wood||4.4 kWh per kilogram;|
|Natural gas||10.8 kWh per kilogram;|
|Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)||13.8 kWh per kilogram;|
|Ethanol||8.3 kWh per kilogram.|
The efficiency of wood-burning fireplaces
Let us consider in more detail the effectiveness of wood-burning fireplaces, depending on their type.
- Standard open fireplace - up to 10% efficiency;
- Fireplace insert - efficiency from 20 to 35%;
- Simple ascending furnace or heater (leaky) - 20 to 40% efficiency;
- Airtight plate or heater - 50 to 70% efficiency.
Traditional open fireplaces that are fueled by fuel are very inefficient, but their design looks add style to the room. Only the small amount of heat they generate is radiated into the room. The remaining heat is lost in the air or goes out into the chimney. Modifications and various inserts are installed in order to make the wood-burning fireplace functional.
Important! A well-designed and well-positioned fireplace in your home will allow you to perform at its best, transferring more heat into your home while ensuring a significant reduction in emissions.
Choosing a fireplace with different combustion methods
|Fireplace type||Combustion efficiency|
|Standard open fireplace||up to 10% efficiency;|
|Fireplace insert||efficiency from 20 to 35%;|
|Simple ascending oven or heater (leaky)||efficiency from 20 to 40%;|
|Sealed plate or heater||efficiency from 50 to 70%.|
The simplest fireplace is an ordinary open hearth that creates an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. But no matter how attractive they are with their living flame, such fireplaces require large cash costs for construction, energy costs. In addition, such fireplaces pollute the air to a greater extent, no matter how ideally the exhaust system works.
The problem can be solved - improved, modern fireplaces for the home, which, thanks to new technologies, can work in living quarters with much more efficient efficiency and safety.
Fireplace inserts (inserts)
Fireplace inserts (inserts) are hollow metal structures built into an open fireplace. Instead of heat going straight up, air in the chimney circulates around the insert and heats the room.
These home fireplaces can be optionally equipped with doors and air controls, as well as fans to help move hot air into the room.
Long burning fireplace stove
This stove is a closed type of fireplace, the main feature of which is the uncontrolled flow of air, as a result of which the so-called effect of prolonged combustion of fuel - pyrolysis occurs. Despite the high initial costs, such ovens have proven themselves well. However, it should be noted that they are less efficient than a conventional wood or gas fireplace and are more suitable for small spaces.
The long burning fireplace stove combines an airtight firebox, air intake controls, baffles and inlets for secondary air and combustion chambers that maximize the conversion of fuel to heat.
Pyrolysis combustion allows the wood to burn almost completely, with the result that less ash remains inside. More efficient units are installed in existing masonry to improve home heating.
Wood burning fireplaces for home
Wood is a renewable natural resource, so there should not be a shortage with this type of fuel, it can always be quickly and easily obtained.
Ash waste can also be used, for example, to fertilize the soil in the garden. After all, wood ash is a source of potassium, phosphorus and many other useful trace elements. The main thing is to act with caution and not overdo it, as the excessive presence of ash raises the pH of the soil, which will not have the best effect on most cultivated plants.
Disadvantages of wood fireplaces
- If you plan to harvest firewood in a large volume, you will need a lot of space (dry and sheltered from rain) to store them.
- Firewood should not be stored near the house, as this is an increased risk of fire hazard. It can also provoke the appearance of rodents and termites.
- In order for the chimney or chimney to function efficiently and not pose a fire risk, it must be cleaned regularly.
- Before using the wood, it is imperative to dry it, since burning damp wood is not only less effective, but also leads to the accumulation of creosote in the chimney, which can catch fire.
Advice! It is recommended to purchase Australian-made wood burning fireplaces.
For reference! In Australia, the basic principle is that wood heaters manufactured since 1992 must comply with AS / NZS 4013 in order to ensure that smoke emissions are within reasonable limits for humans.
The installation of wood-fired heaters is regulated by Australian standard AS / NZS 2918 . This means that you need to have a minimum chimney height of 4.6 meters, it should be vertical, and the end of the chimney should not be near windows or doors to prevent exhaust air from getting back into the house.
Gas fireplaces burn natural or liquefied petroleum gas. Depending on the modification, models are produced with or without a chimney. An important rule for rooms heated with gas is good ventilation.
A gas fireplace can be stationary or portable. The latter has some advantage, in view of the fact that during unheated months it can be moved to another place, thereby freeing up free space.
Emissions from the gas fired heater are water vapor and carbon dioxide, but incomplete combustion can also produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Good ventilation is essential to ensure a constant supply of fresh air. Otherwise, due to an excess of combustion products, a person may experience health problems. That is why security measures must be strictly followed.
The main advantage of gas fireplaces over wood-burning ones is that the chimney for the former must be installed strictly in a vertical position, while for fireplaces operating on blue fuel, the latest technologies allow you to lay pipes for the removal of combustion products horizontally. This means that they can be used in previously unsuitable places for this, for example, city apartments.
Like any invention of mankind, gas fireplaces have their advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of. Let's take a closer look at all of them.
The obvious advantages of gas fireplaces:
- The combustion products of natural gas are safer and cleaner than those from the combustion of wood or coal;
- Easy to install and connect if there is a central gas supply in the house;
- The minimum amount of harmful emissions into the environment, about one third of that of standard wood-burning fireplaces;
- Fire - has a more natural look. However, some models imitate the traditional crackling of firewood;
Among the disadvantages are:
- If the fireplace is installed incorrectly - there is a risk of gas leakage;
- Defective units can emit harmful to humans - carbon monoxide;
- Require regular maintenance, in the form of replacing gaskets and checking the performance and correct functioning of the chimney;
Despite the fact that ethanol is a relatively new type of fuel, fireplaces for the home using this natural product have already gained immense popularity.
Ethanol is produced industrially, namely as a result of alcoholic fermentation (fermentation) of sugar cane, beets or starchy grains. The separated alcohol is concentrated and then dehydrated to form bioethanol.
Modern ethanol fireplaces come in a variety of styles, from small tabletop models to full-size stationary stoves, including outdoor ones. They can be purchased both ready-made and custom-made.
- Fireplaces for the home that burn ethanol do not require a chimney or ventilation, as ethanol burns cleanly without emitting any foul substances;
- Self-service possible;
- No ash for cleaning and disposal;
- Can be used to convert an existing wood or gas fireplace;
- Burns oxygen in the room, emitting carbon dioxide and water vapor;
- Unpleasant odors may appear during refueling, first start-up or extinguishing the flame;
- Fuel is flammable, so care must be taken to have a fire extinguisher on hand;
- Do not refuel when the fireplace is hot;
It should be noted that the first two drawbacks can be minimized with sufficient room ventilation.
Important! Be sure to wash your hands with soap or disinfectant wipes after refueling the fireplace.
Regardless of what kind of fireplaces for your home you liked from the aesthetic point of view, the determining factor in the choice will be its safety. If you do not have proper experience in the construction of stoves and fireplaces, it is better to turn to specialists for help.