Energy-efficient Options for Heating

The United States Energy Department ranks electric heating of any kind the most expensive and least efficient ways of heating a home. Thankfully there are several different options for heating that can also be a wonderful addition to your home that is warm and inviting.

Retrofitting your masonry fireplace to an energy-efficient heating system increases heat distribution and saves money.

Retrofitting your masonry fireplace to an energy-efficient heating system increases heat distribution and saves money.


A typical fireplace in the home is usually the focal point in any room is it located. They can be beautiful architecture and add additional heat and beauty to any home. Choices for fuel can be wood or gas, although there are trade offs for each, gas is more efficient for heating needs. Wood fireplaces need lots of venting and nearly 20 percent of the heat can go up the chimney flue instead of heating the inside of your hoe. Gas does not need to be vented as much as wood. Many gas fireplaces have a glass front stopping the warm air inside the home from escaping through the chimney. Some gas fireplaces are vent-free and do not even require venting to the outside.

Gas fireplaces are also easier to control and adjust and are available in any size. They can also be installed in any home, chimney or no chimney

Wood and Pellet Heating

Wood stoves are one of the most oldest heating mechanisms and have stayed popular because they are the most efficient ways to heat a home. They save so much energy, that in 2011 the US Government granted a income tax credit for purchasing one for you home up to $300.

Modern wood burning or pellet stoves can operate with incredible efficiency over their older vintage counterparts, sometimes up to 50 percent according to the EPA. Newer stoves also are cleaner and will keep the air in your home and in your neighborhood cleaner and less polluted. Most fireplaces can be retrofitted with wood burning stove for increased heat within a room or home. They can add beauty an detail to a home without the site of a empty firebox.

Free standing wood burning or pellet stoves increase their efficiency because the heat can radiate from all sides instead of just the front. Most models are at or above the 75 percent efficiency rating to qualify for a energy tax credit.

Wood vs. Pellet

If considering a wood burning or pellet stove, it is important to consider the fuel used. Wood is the traditional choice and an excellent choice for cast iron stoves and fireplaces. Harder more dense woods will burn hotter and have higher BTU ratings. Also make sure woods are dry and seasoned for full effectiveness and lower smoke and soot.

Pellets are tiny pellets that are used in place of wood. They burn cleaner, hotter, and are more efficient than raw wood. This eco-friendly fuel alternative allows the greatest heating efficiency addition to any homes. Pellets can be found at most hardware stores and are available in a variety of grades. Standard grades will produce more ash while the premium grade will be more expensive, but will will require less maintenance and cleaning. Either way, pellets reduce harmful emissions over wood by 200 percent, and by over 5800 percent over a standard fireplace. Burning pellets over wood cuts emissions, cuts creosote, and is the most efficient alternative heating choice.