How to Heat Your Home by Moving Hot Air produced by the Fireplace – Inglenook Energy Blog
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How to Heat Your Home by Moving Hot Air produced by the Fireplace

Conifer CO fireplacesModern fireplaces are useful as supplemental heat sources, no matter how cold the winter weather. Innovations in design have changed everything. Fireplaces were previously perfect for creating a much-loved ambiance but virtually useless as regards home heating.

Now they still provide that distinctively charming atmosphere plus enough heat to help lower heating costs. There are ways to potentially move the hot air created by a fireplace or stove throughout the home. This is true, whether you have a wood-burning fireplace insert, free-standing fireplace, or wood-burning or pellet-burning stove.

Layout of the Home

There are numerous factors which determine the level of effectiveness and best approach for moving hot air from the fireplace into rooms throughout your home. One major factor is the style of your home. For heating with a fireplace, stove, or pellet-burning appliance, the most suitable home layout is to have an open concept. A ranch style home, which is long and sprawling, is best; the heating unit is placed in a large space in the middle and a smaller wing is on each side.

Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves and pellet appliances each have their distinctions, but all produce heat that radiates. The challenge is to move the heat from room to room. Finding effective ways to accomplish this becomes a more pressing matter upon realizing that the hearth room is getting uncomfortably warm while other rooms are icy cold.

Moving the Hot Air

Since heat rises, many people decide to place a wood burner in the basement. The only types of appliances recommended for the basement, however, are air furnaces and boilers, not wood stoves or fireplaces. In days past, the upstairs in homes were often open loft bedrooms, and the heat from fireplaces and stoves would get the rooms toasty warm.

As far moving the hot air, one method that is inefficient is using a circulating fan that is attached to a stove. These don’t provide optimal performance because they go against the natural flow of currents around the stove.

The invisible air currents in a room look like this: cool air sweeps toward the stove from the floor level, then it envelopes the stove and rises like a large plume towards the ceiling. More air is moved by this plume than is generally moved by a stove fan. It’s more efficient to move the warm air from the ceiling level.

Ceiling fans can be set to reverse, which pulls air up, moves it against the ceiling, and then down the walls before being pulled back up again. This creates the effect of a convection oven, providing more warmth to the living area.

There are two more effective ways to use fans. One is to install fans in the upper corners of doorways, to blow warm air into other parts of the home. The second is to use a big box fan. Set the box fan to “low” and set it facing toward the wood-burning or pellet appliance. This forces the hot air away from the appliance and into larger spaces.

One more effective way to improve airflow is to add open transoms over your doors. Transoms are the small windows placed over doors, but leave out the glass, for purposes of keeping the warm air on the move to other parts of your home.

A Simple Test

img_7766Since airflow is invisible, it can be difficult to determine whether air is moving as desired. You can perform a simple test. Simply tape a piece of tissue paper or a streamer at the top of your doorframe. If there is movement, you have airflow. If there is no movement, you may need to try other solutions.

Why not add a wood-burning fireplace or stove or a pellet appliance to your home? In addition to saving on heating costs, you will also have a way to heat your home if the electricity goes out. With pellet stoves, however, a small amount of electricity is required; but a handy backup source can keep it running, as well. Visit our huge showroom in Conifer CO to choose your efficient wood-burning appliance.