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Old 01-31-2010, 08:04 AM
 
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I think a wood burning fireplace is beautiful and cozy. I heard that a lot of new homes built in VT do not have a fireplace because of the heat loss.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,536,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkwd0130 View Post
I think a wood burning fireplace is beautiful and cozy. I heard that a lot of new homes built in VT do not have a fireplace because of the heat loss.

What are your thoughts on this?

I'm no expert. We took our advice from home efficiency consultants.

When we moved into this house 10 years ago, we had the fireplace sealed to prevent heat leak. I've heated with wood and, while wonderful, it's hard work and a mess. We were assured that your basic fireplace would leak more heat than it would provide in the house. Plus we have curious cats and I was concerned for their safety with open flame, even with a metal screen.

Five years ago we had an insert pellet stove installed in the fireplace. Now it's beautiful and cozy & warm. It's still work, though hauling 40 lb bags of pellets is minimal compared with stacking and hauling wood. Pellets have much neater & tidier than wood and the stove heats beautifully.

The downside is that unless we buy a generator, no electricity means no pellet stove. It's electronic and has a computer chip. We will eventually get a generator. It might take a cold house and night in a hotel with 4 cats to motivate it, but someday we will get one.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:56 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,988 posts, read 22,318,465 times
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A rumford fireplace is quite good at heating. Use a damper when the fire is not burning and it will stop heat loss. Just remember that fireplaces give off radiant heat, they do not heat air except indirectly by heating surfaces in the room. Most modern fireplaces are poorly built and poor at heating. I don't think most masons even know what they're doing with fireplaces. A lot of them use regular mortar which won't stand up to constant use (use refractory mortar instead to make it last longer). They build short, deep fireboxes that don't work good. Be careful who you choose to build your fireplace. Find one who knows how to build a good Rumford fireplace.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,475 posts, read 3,675,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherylcatmom View Post


Five years ago we had an insert pellet stove installed in the fireplace. Now it's beautiful and cozy & warm. It's still work, though hauling 40 lb bags of pellets is minimal compared with stacking and hauling wood. Pellets have much neater & tidier than wood and the stove heats beautifully.

An insert is on my list of "multi-thousand dollar things" to buy. It will probably be a while since the rusty roof and 23 year old furnace are more important. May I ask how much it cost to buy and install your insert? I'm guessing $4k plus. Did you have to line your chimney with anything special? Someone I knew had to line his chimney with stainless steal.

As for the open fireplace. Many years ago, our 16 year old (somewhat mentally dimmented dog) walked right into the fireplace. To make it scarier, he had a red bandanna with a big bow on his neck. He went so far in I really didn't know what I was going to see when I pulled him out by tail and rear leg. Luckily nothing happened, but it made me realize they do present a danger.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Live - VT, Work - MA
819 posts, read 1,272,558 times
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Didn't even entertain the idea of a fireplace when we built out cabin, woodstove was a no brainer. Inserts are a good choice as well if you have a fireplace. Most fireplaces are inefficient at best.

We don't regret the woodstove one bit at this point.

Steve
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:06 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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I plan to have a fireplace in addition to a woodstove when I build, in the main room, As a backup source of heat, and they're nice for the cooler days in Fall and Spring when it's chilly but not cold enough to justify a fire in a stove...especially those days it warms up (the fireplace will be out by the time it warms up, unlike a stove)...a rumford fireplace is pretty good for heating...the reason stoves beat fireplaces in the 1800's is the bulk of the masonry needed for all the fireplaces to heat a large house back then...
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,036,586 times
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I always think of fireplaces as more of a quaint thing than a practical thing. Having worked in a stove shop, I can tell you that inserts are more efficient at heating your home than a standard fireplace because they direct the heat out better than the stone, which absorbs more heat.

Fireplaces build inside a house, as in the middle of the house, are far more effective at heating the home than fireplaces built on an outside wall.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:44 AM
 
894 posts, read 1,290,274 times
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You really have to figure out whether or not you want wood heat or mood fires. Both are good. Some woodstoves that open in the front have screens that fit in for a sorta fireplace experience.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,036,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustmove View Post
You really have to figure out whether or not you want wood heat or mood fires. Both are good. Some woodstoves that open in the front have screens that fit in for a sorta fireplace experience.
Yeah, that's really the main difference. I grew up in southern CT where we didn't really need to have them, but we had both a fireplace and a wood stove. I think our fireplace was built to better heat the home with a special fan system that circulated the air against the fireplace to warm it up and back out into the room. We had a wood stove in the basement below and vents from the basement to other levels of the house with a fan in the floor to pull the warm air up.

My father didn't like paying the gas bill or something. They were both very effective at heating the house. The fireplace was really well built and when lit made the house really warm (it was a split level and the fireplace was opposite the stairs to the second floor and it was in a room with a cathedral ceiling, so it heated the first floor and the second floor pretty well).
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,988 posts, read 22,318,465 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunawayJim View Post
I always think of fireplaces as more of a quaint thing than a practical thing. Having worked in a stove shop, I can tell you that inserts are more efficient at heating your home than a standard fireplace because they direct the heat out better than the stone, which absorbs more heat.

Fireplaces build inside a house, as in the middle of the house, are far more effective at heating the home than fireplaces built on an outside wall.
Inserts require electricity to work though. A steel fireplace alone without a blower will be poor at heating as the steel does not reflect the heat out well. Stone or brick are best for reflecting out the radiant heat from a fireplace.
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