By Trystan L. Bass
Everybody loves a roaring fire in the winter -- the picture is immortalized on holiday cards, and the smell of wood smoke evokes the season for many people.
But can a wood-burning fireplace really heat the house? Will you save money by stoking the flames? What about that smoke filling the air? Get the facts before you pile on another log.
Fire is humankind's oldest form of heat, but that doesn't mean it's the most efficient or cleanest. According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, about 27 million American homes feature conventional masonry fireplaces. But this study (PDF) found that these traditional fireplaces are the least effective means to heat a room.
A conventional open radiant fireplace has a thermal efficiency of a mere 7%. Most of the heat escapes straight up the chimney. Various estimates show that firewood costs more one to four times more than electricity or natural gas per 1,000 BTUs of energy created. The traditionalRead More »from Fireplace Myths Busted