What is the purpose of an indoor fireplace? Is it to promote relaxation and ambience, or can it help to efficiently heat your home?
To better understand fireplaces, it helps to separate fact from fiction. Consider the following common myths that many homeowners believe about wood-burning fireplaces:
• A fireplace is used to heat a home. In truth, a wood-burning fireplace provides a relatively small source of indoor heat. In most homes, a fireplace is used to create a comforting atmosphere when the weather gets cold outside. If you’re looking for ambience and don’t want to spend money on fresh-cut wood for a fireplace, consider buying a portable gel fireplace instead for the same effect at a lower price tag.
• An out of use fireplace doesn’t need an inspection. On the contrary! When a chimney isn’t in use, it’s just as important to inspect a fireplace regularly to check for bird nests and rodent infestations. A seemingly innocent bird nest in a fireplace could lead to large amounts of droppings, leaving homeowners at risk for respiratory infections.
• A fireplace burns efficiently. In actuality, a fireplace is one of the most inefficient sources of heat that you can have in your home. If you’re trying to save money on energy, a wood-burning fireplace isn’t the solution. A roaring fire is known to exhaust over 200,000 ft.³ of air per hour; the air that is being consumed must be replaced by cold air that is brought into the house. As a result, a home heating system will have to work even harder to keep the house at the proper temperature, costing you extra money in electricity.
• An indoor fireplace is safe for your family. Although burning wood in an indoor fireplace will create a rich, earthy smell reminiscent of a campfire, that wonderful aroma can actually pose a health hazard. Burning wood in an indoor fireplace will create air pollution inside and outside of the house. Even a small smoke leakage in a room caused by an improperly working fireplace could expose a family to carcinogens from wood-burning byproducts over the long term. For a cleaner, safer, and more efficient fireplace alternative, consider an indoor gel fireplace instead.
• Softwoods shouldn’t be burned in a fireplace. Many chimney experts advise against burning softwoods like pine since they often contain large amounts of sap, which is known to create creosote buildup in a fireplace. Nonetheless, the University of Georgia provides supporting research that creosote accumulates from burning fires at low temperatures, unrelated to softwoods containing resin. For safe burning, use softwoods that are sufficiently seasoned to eliminate the concern of excess creosote buildup.
To use your indoor fireplace properly, make sure to clean it annually to keep it in the best working condition. Many homeowners also appreciate the ambience created by indoor gel fireplaces, which are portable and eco-friendly and can be placed in any room of the house. If upkeep for your fireplace has become tedious, an indoor gel fireplace can provide an ideal alternative at a fraction of the cost.