Choosing a Fireplace
Imagine cozying up to the fireplace on a cold winter night, hot chocolate in hand, snuggled beside your fireplace. Sounds like a great scene, right?
Now imagine losing heat up the chimney-a not so cozy sight.
Many Wisconsin homes feature a fireplace to help heat up during the cold winter months. And while fireplaces can be a great way to zone heat areas in your home, you want to make sure you have an efficient system so you aren’t losing most of the heat your fireplace gives off.
Traditional fireplaces are considered inefficient because they allow heat to escape through the chimney. A more efficient option is a direct vent fireplace. Direct vent fireplaces have advantages over traditional fireplaces including safety, efficiency and versatility.
A direct vent fireplace uses outdoor air instead of indoor air for combustion. It pulls in air from the outdoors through the outer chamber of a double vent pipe; the inner chamber of this pipe exhausts fumes. The natural flow of heat creates a convention loop; as hot air exits the pipe, cooler, denser air is siphoned in to fill the void. Since direct vent fireplaces generate cooler combustion gases, no flue is needed; the pipes can be installed through the wall.
Safety: Direct vent fireplaces eliminate the need for a flue through the roof (chimney) so backdrafting is not an issue. Backdrafting can occur with traditional fireplaces if, for instance, a kitchen fan is pulling air out of the home. The depressurized indoor air can pull harmful gases back into the home instead of exhausting them outdoors.
Efficiency: Direct vent fireplaces burn natural gas or propane and convert most of the fuel to usable heat. They are completely sealed off from the interior of your home by a glass door which prevents significant heat loss. It is estimated that 70% of heat generated by a direct vent fireplace stays in your home.
Versatility: Direct vent fireplaces can be installed through the wall, so they can be placed anywhere in your home. If your home lacks wall space, these fireplaces can be vented upward through the roof as well. They are available in many widths and heights.
Direct vent fireplaces are easier and less expensive to install than a traditional wood-burning or gas masonry fireplace.
One other element to consider when choosing a fireplace: aesthetic or function. Some fireplaces do not actually blow warm air but are purely for the aesthetic and ambiance with the flames. Make sure you do your research and are buying the proper type of fireplace based on your needs!
Whether you are looking to upgrade heating within your current home or are planning to include a fireplace in your new build, we recommend a direct vent fireplace!
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