Author Topic: fireplace energy consumption  (Read 2676 times)

Offline yarbrough28310

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fireplace energy consumption
« on: December 14, 2018, 04:47:16 PM »
This is the first house Ive ever had a gas fireplace in so Im still familiarizing myself with it.  My question is what is more energy efficient; (1)Running the fireplace with gas furnace off, (2) running fireplace with house fan on circulating the air or (3) forget about the fireplace and only use it as back-up heat. 

Offline Hurricane

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2018, 05:47:45 PM »
Forget about it except for emergencies and those times when you just want the "ambience" of a fireplace.
Fireplaces can actually draw an awful lot of heat out of the house, right up the chimney.
Just how much will depend on the design of your particular fireplace.

Try using it when it's a little cooler outside, and monitor the temps in the rooms farthest away. Or you may be able to notice how much your main heat source runs, with and without the fireplace.

I wish we had a two-cents-worth smiley  :)

Offline yarbrough28310

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2018, 05:58:59 PM »
Thanks hurricane.  My chimney is closed, but I realize heat still escapes.  The fireplace keeps the main part of the house  freakin' HOT, so the furnace never turns on.  The result is the bedrooms at the other end of the house are chilly.  I just went to wally world and purchased 2 indoor/outdoor weather stations so I can monitor the temp swings.   
My main question (and I think you answered it) is does the gas fireplace actually consume more gas in a set period. 
Thanks in advanced.  This is my first trip back to the forums in about 8 years, lots of great info here.  Lots of knowledgeable people

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 08:11:50 PM »
I've seen a gas fireplace that had an air vent in back, to bring in air from outside the house.  It ought to reduce the sucking-in of cold air into other rooms, but I don't have any personal experience to verify that.

I'm guessing you don't want to sledgehammer a hole in the back of your fireplace just to try it. 8)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2018, 08:37:13 PM »
I can't answer your question.  But I had a gas "wood stove" in my family room.  I found that leaving the pilot light burning all the time drained a 200 lb. propane tank over the course of the year.

Turn off the pilot over the Summer when there's little chance of using the stove.

Offline yarbrough28310

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2018, 08:49:03 PM »
You would be correct Mr. Bill, I do not want to take a hammer to the fireplace :D.  So I've researched the fireplace insert and this is actually a duel fuel fire place.  It was originally build to use wood, but has been retrofitted for gas.  So it does have a modern chimney that can be closed (damper?).  It also has a lever on the side that opens a vent bringing
 in outside air so it isn't creating a cold draft sucking cold air in from wherever. 
The house was built in 1993 in a neighborhood outside of town so we aren't talking about a early 1900s farmhouse with a huge fireplace and huge chimney.   
What I cant find is info that tells me the fuel consumption rate of the heater or the fireplace.  I do have the weatherstations placed so I can monitor the current temps in 4 locations of the house along with the highs and lows.  Unfortunatly this has been an abnormally warm night so the heater hasnt come on and I havent lit the fire. 
Any more input will be appreciated.

Offline yarbrough28310

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2018, 08:55:36 PM »
Fritz, I would have a heart attack if I was missing 200lbs.   :o  I actually turn off the gas if Im not currently using it.  I didn't realize the pilot used that much, but I have twin 2 year olds, and they spent the summer getting into it.  So regardless of how many times they get their tails popped, I sill dont want an open flame at their level.   

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2018, 09:10:53 PM »
Yep, when the propane guy came and filled the tank, I was shocked.

I ended up taking out the propane and the stove since I rarely used it.  It wasn't very useful, It was in an area where the air flow wouldn't heat the rest of the house and we don't spend a lot of time.

Offline IKN

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 08:44:48 AM »
Thanks hurricane.  My chimney is closed, but I realize heat still escapes.  The fireplace keeps the main part of the house  freakin' HOT, so the furnace never turns on.  The result is the bedrooms at the other end of the house are chilly.

The thermostat for your furnace should have a switch for the fan with either "ON" or "AUTO" for the settings.
When/if you run the fireplace for heat and power is available, select "ON" for the fan. This will run the furnace main circulating fan constantly while selected and will circulate the heat throughout the house which should somewhat equalize the temperature throughout the house.
Just remember to place it back in "AUTO" when the fireplace is not in use.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 05:01:55 PM »
wow - 200lbs!  yikes. 
We have a gas fireplace. 
It has an outside vent, and in the cold winter mornings, it sucks cold air inside and it is colder there.  We turn it on every morning just to get rid of that.
 The kids have a habit of being cold in the mornings during the summer so they still like to turn it on in the summer.  I told them to knock it off or I would turn off the pilot light.  I have done that a few summers.  The problem was that then I had to relight the pilot, and one year a teeny tiny spider blocked the pilot pipe; that cost a call to a gas company  :o 
YMMV but that is our experience

Offline Stwood

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2019, 09:43:32 AM »
Dual fuel. Hmmmm yea. I would be looking into using it for it's main intended purpose. Burning wood.
But the only way to save on the budget there is to cut and put the wood up yourself.
So are you able/willing/have time to do that. And, are you familiar with burning wood.
I would also want to check out the chimney before chunking wood in there.

Offline leadeye

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2019, 05:58:18 PM »
I think the honest answer is it depends. If your comfortable with just the gas fireplace running and the BTU use is lower than your furnace your saving money. Using a furnace blower to recirculate heat is usually inefficient and if pulling through ducts in the attic or crawlspace can cool the air more. I'm with STWOOD if you can burn wood and you main concern is saving money I'd go that route. It's more labor intensive, requires more space, and would need to be modified from it's current state which would require upfront money but in the long run can save money. In my area even if paying for a cord $180 to $210 equals about $750 in propane prices on a BTU comparison. As an aside wood stoves are most efficient then inserts and lastly open fireplaces.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: fireplace energy consumption
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2020, 03:56:56 PM »
If it draws fresh air from the house, it will cool the far rooms because it's sucking air through the walls (gaps, etc,). If it has it's own fresh air intake, then it will heat the house.

My parents put in a real wood stove to replace the propane fireplace that was originally installed in the house when it was built. An expensive unit out of Canada that had it's own fresh air intake down the chimney. It had forced air out the front side plus a separate forced air duct so it could be tied into the main ductwork. Glass doors, the fire was completely sealed off inside the fireplace. Really nice looking. It would heat most of the house even though they didn't tie it into the main heat run.