What are the Benefits of a Fireplace?
A fireplace brings warmth to a home’s ambiance, in addition to providing heat in winter months. A celebration with family and friends is even more festive with a fireplace as a gathering point. Couples in search of a romantic setting need venture no further than their own home that is complete with a fireplace.
The list of benefits of a fireplace go on and on, including great photo ops, the ideal place to hang Christmas stockings, and the following:
More Affordable Heating
Wood is the most inexpensive form of heating fuel, especially if you have access to free firewood. As utility companies raise their rates year after year, many homeowners depend more on fireplaces and wood stoves to reduce their utility bills. It costs over $30 to produce 1 million BTUs with electricity and only $10 to produce the same amount of heat with firewood, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator.
Homeowners who use a fireplace insert, modern wood-burning stove, or pellet stove enjoy the benefit of producing significantly more heat with their firewood than with a traditional masonry fireplace. These modern appliances can potentially be used in place of central heating, which means utility bills shrink to the point of meaningful savings.
The firewood itself will also last longer while producing more heat, because more complete combustion is produced. Some modern appliances also burn the smoke, which increases the heat provided from the same amount of firewood.
When you use wood to heat your home, you reduce your carbon footprint. Whereas fossil fuels release large amounts of carbon when used for heating, wood is carbon neutral. What this means is that firewood releases the same amount of carbon, whether it decays naturally in a forest or is burned in a fireplace.
Firewood is also a renewable resource. If you are intentional about buying firewood from a company that practices sustainable wood harvesting, you will avoid contributing to deforestation. If you cut trees down on your own property, simply re-plant more trees than you cut down, to avoid being a part of deforestation. Trees are important for oxygen creation and carbon dioxide absorption, which is why we need to be careful to avoid using firewood that isn’t replaced by new trees.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides clean-air standards, and local laws can also mandate standards which homeowners are obliged by law to adhere to, as far as the amount of pollution produced by a heating system.
Modern fireplace inserts, pellet stoves, and wood stoves are all modern appliances that usually meet EPA standards and can reduce the amount of pollution produced by wood-burning. Top-of-the-line appliances are sometimes efficient enough to be designated by the EPA as smoke-free appliances.
Backup Heating and Lighting Source
In the worst winter storms, it is not unusual for blackouts to occur. It can be dangerous to lose your heat source in winter. A fireplace makes it possible to keep warm while the electricity is out. The fireplace also provides a means to heat water and food, in addition to being a source of light. The discomfort produced by blackouts is greatly reduced when you have a fireplace.
Fireplaces also increase the value of your home. There are surely more benefits of fireplaces that homeowners enjoy, but all of the above reasons should be enough to convince skeptics.