November 22, 2022
When it comes to the fall and winter time, there is nothing that quite sets the mood like cuddling up in front of a fireplace and listening to the crackling wood. In the North Bay Area, using a fireplace comes with several restrictions, that may be overwhelming enough; however, nothing seems to replace the ambiance these wood burning devices tend to set, so when you can use yours, you likely take every opportunity to do so. The question is; should you use your fireplace with your home’s heat source?
Should You Use Your Fireplace with Your Home’s Heat?
As if the guidelines involving wood burning devices that we have to follow in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties aren’t enough, you should also think about if burning your fireplace is saving you money or costing you. When considering if you should use your fireplace with your home’s heat, the answer is about as simple as the laws we have to follow to use them.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wood and gas fireplaces are the most inefficient heat sources for the home. The U.S. Department of Energy says that the primary reason for the energy loss is the fireplace’s damper; either it being left open or not properly sealed. They estimate that this circumstance alone can result in your energy usage increasing by up to 30%, or around $200 a year. It is estimated that between 80% to 90% of heat produced by a wood burning fireplace goes up in smoke, literally, and you and your home don’t feel the effects of it.
With all that being said, when it comes down to if you should use your fireplace in conjunction with your home’s heat, it depends on your home and your heat source and its effectiveness. Your ductwork, thermostat, and type of furnace can all play a major role. It is widely believed that a furnace is the better choice for heat, as it’s more efficient and can distribute the heat evenly throughout the home.
Reasons you Should Keep Your Furnace on While Enjoying a Fire
As we have reviewed above, your home’s heater is the best option when it comes to heating your home; however, if you are going to enjoy sitting in front of your home’s fireplace, you really shouldn’t turn off your home’s central HVAC. Why?
It will cause energy to be lost and wasted. If you shut off your HVAC unit to utilize your fireplace, your heater will eventually need to be turned back on. When you go to turn your heater back on, many of the rooms in your home have probably cooled down quite a bit, meaning your furnace will have to work harder and longer to warm them back up. That can use a lot of energy and put a strain on your HVAC system.
A fireplace cannot thoroughly heat your home. As we reviewed above, your fireplace should not be used a main source of heat for your home. Using a fireplace to heat a home is less efficient than using a furnace. Furnaces have less heat loss than fireplaces and can circulate air better. A fireplace heats the immediate area or a home but lacks ductwork to distribute the heat throughout the entire house.
You cannot leave a fire unattended. A fireplace can be a good source of heat for the short term, usually in a small space, but it’s not a good idea to shut off the heater and leave the fire burning overnight, unattended. Also, as we know per our California guidelines, the air that is produced from a fireplace can have some safety risks.
Should you use your fireplace with your home’s heat? Like we said, there is not an easy answer. To put this simply you should not use a fireplace to replace your home’s heating source; however, if using one, you should still keep your HVAC on.
If you have a problem with your home’s heat, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. We are very good at troubleshooting furnaces and getting you back into heat in no time. We service and repair all makes and models. The right tools and expertise make all the difference. We are your North Bay Area heating experts.
Regardless of whether it is a repair or replacement, you can depend on Bragg for expert consultation that meets or exceeds your expectations. We will always give you an honest assessment of your heating situation so you can make an informed decision. Contact us today.