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  • Hearth Products: Which Option is Right for You? Part 2 of 2
    Deciding what hearth product is right for your lifestyle and home is an important decision. In Part 1, posted July 11, we provided a general overview of the many kinds of hearth products available, including fuels, features and benefits. Now in Part 2, we’ll discuss performance and installation.

    Gas fireplaces
    • Performance – direct vent models maintain indoor quality with sealed combustion systems that draw air needed for the fire from the outdoors, and exhaust 100% of all combustion byproducts outside the home. Some models are AFUE rated (annual fuel utilization efficiency), which means they are tested to the same standards as furnaces. Technologies like IntelliFire™ and FireBrick™ significantly boost efficiencies.
    • Installation – Gas fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere in your home where natural gas or liquid propane is available. Installation is flexible due to zero clearance construction, which requires minimal space between the fireplace and wallboard or wood (combustible materials).

    Wood fireplaces
    • Performance – EPA-certified models provide heat for many hours on a single load of wood, and because the wood burns so completely, ash cleanup is much easier. They burn clean, expelling minimal pollutants into the outside air – some models produce as little as 3.1 grams per hour. Technologies like Quadra-Fire’s Four-Point Quad-Burn System and Harman’s FireDome™ boost performance and efficiencies considerably.
    • Installation – Installation will vary by placement in the home, type of chimney, and the model of fireplace and surround materials chosen.

    Fireplace inserts
    • Performance – Direct vent gas inserts have two separate flexible liners (pipes) that are run up the existing chimney, terminating above the roof. One liner expels the fire’s combustion and the other brings in combustion air needed to feed the fire. Wood fireplace inserts have a stainless steel, flexible single liner (pipe) that is run up the chimney, terminating above the roof. Pellet fireplace inserts have a hybrid stainless steel vent system that runs vertically up the existing chimney, terminating above the roof.
    • Installation – Upgrading an open masonry built wood fireplace with an energy efficient insert will make it much more efficient, can help to save money, and will transform your fireplace into an efficient heating unit.

    Electric fireplaces
    • Performance – Electric fireplaces don’t require venting and can be positioned anywhere near an electrical outlet.
    • Installation – This is easy, depending on the unit chosen. It can be as simple as simply plugging in the unit.

    Wood stoves
    • Performance – EPA-certified units burn efficiently due to high temperatures, ample oxygen and sufficient burning of gases. They can produce long burns on a single load of wood with minimal ash to clean up and low outdoor air emissions. Technologies like Quadra-Fire’s Four-Point Quad-Burn System and Harman’s FireDome™ boost performance and efficiencies considerably.
    • Installation – Wood stoves have a flue pipe that rises vertically from the stove through the roof, or horizontally through a wall and then vertically outside of the house to the roof.

    Pellet stoves
    • Performance – Many models have programmable thermostats that adjust heat output and control room temperature. Some can produce steady, regulated heat for nearly 24 hours on a single load of pellets, with very little ash. They emit extremely low outside air particulates. Examples of technologies that boost performance are Quadra-Fire’s Advanced Energy™ and Automatic Combustion Control™, and Harman’s Pellet Pro System™ and Exhaust Sensing Probe™.
    • Installation – Pellet stoves require a flue pipe that extends horizontally through a wall or vertically through the ceiling to the outdoors.


    For safe and reliable installation of all hearth products, we recommend that a professional installer certified by the National Fireplace Institute® perform all installation tasks. That person will also obtain necessary permits and arrange required inspections.

    Now it’s time to visit to your local hearth dealer, who will match you with the perfect hearth product for your home and lifestyle! Check them out here.

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