If you’re in the process of deciding which fireplace fuel type is right for you, a wood fireplace is likely high on your list. The benefits of wood fireplaces include things like the unmistakable smell and sound of a beautiful, roaring wood fire, and the ease at which wood is available for burning, but there are other factors to consider. Browse our list of pros and cons of wood fireplaces below to help make the best fuel type decision for your home.
- Aesthetics of the fire – smell, crackling sound, glow.
- The experience of chopping wood and actually building a fire.
- Firewood is more readily available in some areas.
- Can be used to supplement the furnace to heat home, reduce heating bills.
- Cleaning the fireplace, hauling ashes, sooting.
- Cost of wood is greater than gas in most areas and is rising.
- Requires a chimney, chase, footings, etc.
- May cause odors and particulates in the air.
- Requires continuous maintenance to keep fire burning.
- Peaks and valleys in heat output.
Does my wood fireplace need an outside air kit?
Though you do not technically need one, it is recommended that you install an outdoor air kit with your wood burning fireplace. This kit provides additional combustion air that is pulled in from outside of your home, feeding your fire with more oxygen to boost performance. These kits are especially helpful in homes that are well insulated and tightly constructed.
What constitutes a zero clearance fireplace?
There are two different meanings to the term “zero clearance”. It either refers to the ability to install a fireplace model directly on the floor without any additional clearance provided by footings, or the ability to finish the fireplace all the way up to its face – with no exposed metal seen once installed.
Can I install my own hearth appliance?
Due to the strict regulation of fireplace installation in accordance with local and national building codes, it is recommended that your appliance be installed by a factory-trained technician.
I have a new wood-burning fireplace, how do I start my first fire?
In the event that your fireplace does not use a gas starter make sure to start with kindling (small sticks). You can place the kindling on top of recycled newspaper in a crisscross manner. You should place these materials under the grate first, then you can place the logs on to the grate. Make sure to organize the logs in a safe structure so the logs do not move around too much. To ensure safety, you should create small fires first. Overfilling the fireplace will create an unsafe environment, so remember to start small in the beginning stages.
Finding a model or serial number
You will find this information on your appliance’s rating plate. This plate is located in different areas depending on the type of appliance you own.
• Wood Fireplaces: Either of the upper sides of the firebox, or on the smoke shield
• Gas Inserts & Fireplaces: Lower cavity controls
• Gas Stoves: Inside pedestal base or on the back of the appliance
Are fireplaces that burn wood efficient?
Fireplaces that are used to burn wood can create a bit of heat for the surrounding area, but the fireplace should primarily be used for aesthetic purposes. The fireplace models that are created to circulate heat are still not the best for generating heat. These models take a lot of air from the room. Many of our wood burning stoves produce fresh, crisp air. This applies to our inserts as well.
Is it possible to put glass doors on my wood burning fireplace?
It is possible to add glass doors to your current fireplace. If you have a model that is old, make sure to contact your representative from Fireside Hearth & Homes to see what doors are compatible with the model you have. It is key to make sure that the doors you are purchasing work with the fireplace that you already own. If the door is not compatible, it could cause a future fire hazard issue and block off necessary cold air used in the system.
What functions do glass doors on my wood burning fireplace have?
The doors should only sit at completely open or completely closed. When the fire is first being produced, you should have the glass doors completely open. The doors should also be completely open if you have a very powerful fire. As the fire begins to diminish you should close the doors. This will prevent the air in the room from escaping through the chimney. If you choose to burn logs that aren’t 100% natural, such as a gas log, you will want to keep the doors completely open as well. It is very important to remember that the mesh screen should remain closed at all times in the burning process. If the fireplace is see-through, the doors should mirror each other, if one door is closed then the other door should be closed as well.
If I do not want all the air going up the chimney, can I close my damper part way on my wood burning fireplace?
Do not partly close the damper. This apparatus should always be completely open when the wood burning fireplace is in use. If you are using gas logs, this is particularly important. The flue/chimney damper should stay open to stop smoke from overflowing back to the area it is coming from. Carbon monoxide can also be an issue if the damper is not open all the way.
Is it possible to add a fan to my fireplace that burns wood?
Yes, but only if you have the model that is for circulating heat. This model has louvers in the upper and lower areas of the fireplace. This is particularly easy if your model has connection box with electrical power running to it. This is located behind the bottom louver. Once you find this area you can add a fan to your fireplace.
How much air will a fan kit produce that is attached to a fireplace that burns wood?
The fans are intentionally created with less CFMs (cubic feet per minute). Also, the fan was designed to be quiet, which works hand in hand with less CFMs. Lastly, the fans were designed this way so that the air being pushed into the room would remain warm.
Is it normal to feel cold air coming from the fireplace?
A cold draft can be caused by a few different scenarios. It is important to check if the damper is closed. You can also reference the manual you received for installing the fireplace. This manual will can show you other closures that need to be closed. Cement mounts may also produce cooler air, versus wood mounts. Also, your unit needs to be insulated correctly. You’ll want to double check the chase area/doghouse for proper insulation. You can always reach out to your builder for further questions.
I would like my fireplace that burns wood to now use gas, what are my options?
Is heating efficiency a main concern of yours? If the answer is yes, then a gas insert is the most efficient route to take. This will produce a lot of direct heat flow into the area. It important to remember that the insert will be 5 times for expensive then a high quality gas log unit. But, the insert’s efficiency will pay back the overall cost by lowering your gas bills over 3 to 4 years. You can choose from one of our many inserts or vented gas logs. It is highly recommended that you do not install a room-vented or vent free log set in the wood burning fireplace. If this action is completed, your warranty will no longer be valid on your fireplace. Also, this action could have an effect on your homeowner’s insurance.
What does the initial cost of my fireplace, stove and insert cover?
The cost only covers the unit you purchased. The additional items like the fronts, surroundings, piping, electric/gas connections, and the install will be an extra expense on top of the retail price.
How can I decrease the loud noise coming from my fan?
You can control the fan with the rheostat control, which it like a dimmer. Moving the control up and down will decrease and increase the noise of the fan. Please contact your representative for further information if the loud noise does not stop.
Is it possible for my wood burning fireplace to burn wood again after a gas log set was used?
You will need to make sure that the damper is still in place and working correctly. If this is missing, you can purchase a repair kit for the damper. The damper is necessary for the stove to burn wood. If you have a gas log set and it is vented, then you will have to cap the gas line, take out the log set, and replace the grate with one that is used for natural wood.
There is an weird smell coming from my fireplace that burns wood, how can I get rid of it?
You will need to identify what you are burning first, when using a new wood burning fireplace. The three items that you should be burning include – kindling, seasoned wood and newspaper. Anything besides these items can cause an order, such as firestarters. If you have an old fireplace that has been used previously you’ll want to think about what you have burned in the past. Also, you’ll want to think about your past cleaning habits. Firestarters and prefabricated logs have a waxy substance on them that does not disappear when burned. The wax will remain in your stove and possibly collect beneath the hearth refractory. This collection could be the culprit of a stinky smell. It is important to check what is sitting on the fireplace itself, because these items might create a smell when heated up.
Is it possible to use an unvented log in my fire place that burns wood?
If you burn unvented logs your warranty will no longer be valid on the fireplace. Also, it is possible that your homeowner’s insurance could become invalid. The ANSI Z21.60 standards are what we go by, so if you have an unvented gas log set that meets these standards you can use that. You will want to make sure you remove the damper from the fireplace. If you do not use a log set that matches these standards you could be at risk for unsafe circumstances.
Can you tell me the main differences between a wood-burning stove that uses a catalytic converter versus the Quadra-Fire system?
A stove with a catalytic converter does not burn with the efficiency and cleanliness that our Quadra-Fire stoves possess. Also, other stoves require more maintenance than ours. This is all possible because our Quadra-Fire wood stove system has a set of secondary burn tubes. Just over half of the warmth that emits from a wood stove generates from burning the smoke. The secondary burn tubes will burn the smoke that is inside the box of the fireplace vs. the smoke in the chimney. The EPA standard for emissions is 6 grams per hour. Our Quadra-Fire wood stove produces less than 6 grams per hour, making the burning process very clean. Also, if you do use a catalytic converter in your stove you will need to switch out converter numerous times, which can become pretty expensive over time. No replacement is necessary with the secondary burn tubes.