Woodburning Fireplace Inserts
The Cure for the Common Fireplace
From the late 1700’s fireplaces heated homes inefficiently. Some of them, such as most masonry (brick) fireplaces, are still this way. The flue of a masonry fireplace allows warm indoor air to escape up the chimney with poor fitting, warped, unclosed or missing dampers. Or in negative pressure situations such as basements and lower levels these fireplaces become a continuous source of cold air infiltration. When they burn, conventional masonry fireplaces throw nearly 90 percent of the heat they generate up the flue. Since they use nearly 300 to 500 cubic feet of air to support combustion, they actually remove more heat than they supply. They create about 400 grams of particulate per hour.
So why is it that among the 1,700 homeowners across the country recently surveyed by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, nearly two-thirds considered their fireplaces or stoves a major selling point to home buyers? According to the survey, consumers believe that fireplaces and stoves increase the value of their home, estimating the increase of a home's value at about $2,900 (for gas fireplaces and freestanding stoves) up to $4,400 (for a regular fireplace). These consumer estimates of value are low, according to a National Association of Realtors study which found fireplaces have a positive effect on the selling price of a home, adding about 12 percent to the value.