How Eco Friendly Is Your Fireplace? - Quicken Loans Zing BlogWood-burning stoves and traditional fireplaces have kept families warm for centuries. But, recently, natural-gas fireplaces have gained popularity because of their simplicity and minimal maintenance. In today’s environmentally conscious world, which fireplace is truly more eco-friendly?

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

There’s nothing like building a fire in your fireplace, listening to it crackle through the night, and enjoying its warmth. While this may be relaxing, there’s a debate right now about how “carbon neutral” firewood actually is. (Carbon neutral basically means the product doesn’t increase the amount of carbon dioxide already in the air, and it doesn’t have a carbon footprint.)

Firewood is considered more eco-friendly than natural gas mainly because it’s a renewable resource, but the smoke is still a pollutant. Some sources say the smoke caused by burning wood has a smaller carbon footprint than a tree that’s naturally biodegrading, which technically makes wood burning carbon neutral.

Now, while wood-burning fireplaces may be easier on the environment, it’s important to remember that an improperly maintained fireplace can actually pull heat from your room, making your home less energy efficient. This happens when your chimney and fireplace are poorly sealed and let the heat escape out of your house. It’s important to regularly clean your fireplace out and occasionally check your chimney for a draft.

Gas Log Fireplaces

First off, one of the main things to remember about a gas fireplace is that most are simply for decoration, and shouldn’t be expected to heat an entire room. Gas log fireplaces are very simple to start, usually with just the flip of a switch, and come in a variety of designs to match any home’s decoration.

As for being eco-friendly, these fireplaces are burning natural gas or liquid propane (which are fossil fuels) in most instances, and emitting fumes into the atmosphere. However, emission is still low because this type of fireplace is typically used for special occasions, as opposed to daily. These should be thought of as decorative – not as an alternative to a furnace.

The Verdict

So, in the big picture, a natural wood-burning fireplace is more eco-friendly. But this option isn’t necessarily the most ideal for everyone. If your fireplace is sealed and you have the firewood, by all means, continue to burn away!

But if you have a wood-burning fireplace that seems to remain dormant all winter because of the extra stress and care that comes with it, a gas log pit is a great option that’s still fairly eco-friendly. Most traditional fireplaces can be fitted with gas logs and the proper fuel to give off that holiday charm with the flip of a switch.

 

So, what kind of fireplace do you have: gas or wood-burning? And what tips or advice do you have to make your whole home more eco-friendly during the winter season? We’d love to hear – feel free to comment below!

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I had an open fireplace that was not doing much. I inserted a slow combustion, low emission fireplace in it, and since then we have been heating the house (a 2-level single home) using only the heat from the fireplace (except in the basement, heat doesnt go down). This is so efficient, we love it. Even, we can see from the smoke coming out of the chimney, it is almost transparent, showing that the pollution we generate is very little.
    We saved so much on electricity (mind you, we live in Quebec so our electricity is super cheap anyway) and from mid-October to March, the house has this warm feeling of weekend at the cottage. We love it!

    1. Glad this worked out so well for you. Your description of your home in the winter sounds like a little piece of heaven on Earth!

  2. […] known as vent-free or unvented gas logs, produce much more heat than yellow flame logs. They burn hotter and cleaner but can still produce the by-products of any gas fire, so you’ll still want to check for damage […]

  3. I love wood burning fire places but they are inconvenient to use inside with the mess and the hassle. Thanks for the great information!

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