More about Hearth Products

FIREPLACE INSERTS

For people interested in enhancing the look and feel of an existing wood burning fireplace, the hearth industry has great news. It’s now easier than ever before to increase the efficiency of a fireplace by adding a fireplace insert. The installation of a fireplace insert can turn an occasional source of warmth into a convenient and easy-to-use supplemental zone heater that can help control high home heating bills while protecting winter air quality.

Fireplace insert basics

Fireplace inserts are designed to enhance the operation and appearance of an existing wood burning fireplace, whether masonry or factorybuilt. Categorized primarily by the fuel burned for operation (natural gas, propane, EPA or CSA-certified wood, pellet and coal), a fireplace insert is installed into an existing wood burning fireplace. Fireplace inserts are made from cast iron or steel and have self-cleaning glass doors that allow the dancing flames of the fire to be viewed while the insulated doors remain closed, making the fire more efficient. Many manufacturers also augment the operation of fireplace inserts by offering state-of-the-art features such as fans and thermostatic controls (depending on the fuel).

Enhanced efficiency

Almost all North Americans with older wood burning fireplaces can benefit from the installation of a fireplace insert. Generally, older fireplaces have efficiency ratings of just five to ten percent. This low efficiency is due to the open combustion design that allows an abundance of heated room air to be drawn into the fire, causing the fire to burn too fast and wasting energy. In contrast, a fireplace insert is an insulated, closed-door system that slows the fire down and increases the temperature of the fire to facilitate more complete combustion. This closed combustion system can assist in generating efficiencies of above 65 percent in many cases which can translate into more heat output. And, when it comes to burning wood, an EPA or CSA-certified wood burning fireplace insert can also reduce, emissions from wood burning to almost zero.

Variety of fuel options

Determining which fuel type to select when purchasing a fireplace insert depends on the cost and availability of the fuel, the desired efficiency and heat output, as well as the level of maintenance requirements and the desired appearance of the fire by the user. While most fireplace inserts manufactured today are extremely efficient, the choice is often dictated by a person’s individual needs.

Selecting a Fireplace Insert

Much like any other appliance, it is important to spend the time to choose a fireplace insert that fits your needs and your lifestyle, whether more formal or relaxed. Before making a final decision, visit a specialty retailer for experienced advice. A specialty retailer is a trained fireplace insert specialist. He or she can arrange for the safe and reliable installation of a fireplace insert by a certified professional installer. These experts are also the best source of information about how to correctly operate a fireplace insert, and can suggest a proper maintenance program. For people interested in enhancing the look and feel of an existing wood burning fireplace, the hearth industry has great news. It’s now easier than ever before to increase the efficiency of a fireplace by adding a fireplace insert. The installation of a fireplace insert can turn an occasional source of warmth into a convenient and easy-to-use supplemental zone heater that can help control high home heating bills while protecting winter air quality. For a list of specialty retailers, visit hpbacanada.org/retailers-service-locator.

Type

Fireplace inserts are distinguished by fuel. There are five different types: natural gas, propane, EPA or CSA-certified wood, pellet and coal.

Size

There are many sizes of fireplace inserts, from small to extremely large. The key factor in selecting the size is based on the opening of the existing fireplace. To determine the right size, measure the following: opening height; opening width; opening depth (top and bottom); rear width and the depth of the hearth (area in front of fireplace).

Location

A fireplace insert needs to be placed in an existing masonry or factory built fireplace with a working chimney.

Venting

Fireplace inserts are either vented naturally through a working chimney, direct vented or vent-free, depending on fuel choice. In most cases, a chimney liner is required. The type and size of the liner is specific to the fuel.

Features

Fireplace inserts are made from steel or cast iron and have self-cleaning glass doors to provide a view of the fire. Fireplace inserts may also have optional fans to distribute heat into a room, as well as thermostatic, or remote controls, to help regulate the fire automatically.

Style

The style of fireplace inserts varies among fuel types. More information about individual fuel types can be obtained by reading the Hearth Product Fuels section on this page, as inserts are similar in construction to freestanding stoves. But, no matter what the fuel type, all fireplace inserts come in a variety of colors, finishes and designs, from modern to traditional.

Installation

To ensure the safe and reliable installation of a fireplace insert, HPBAC recommends that people use a specialty retailer and a certified professional installer. In addition to assessing the construction of a house, the professional will obtain the necessary building permits and make sure that the installation meets all local and state codes. He or she will also ensure that the insert is as airtight as possible, using approved fireplace insulating materials, to make the fire easier to control and increase the heat output. In the case of gas, the professional installer will carefully adjust the fireplace to ensure the proper appearance of the flame.

Maintenance

The level of maintenance required for fireplace inserts depends on the chosen fuel type. A fireplace insert generally needs to be removed when the appliance is being maintained. But, no matter what type of fireplace insert is selected, HPBAC suggests that the chimney be inspected on an annual basis by a WETT-certified chimney sweep.

Fuel requirements

To see a complete list of fuel options for fireplace inserts, review the Hearth Product Fuels section on this page.

Average cost

The price of the unit itself is only part of the total cost of owning a fireplace insert. Other requirements include installation, delivery, annual fuel costs and annual maintenance.

Blaze King Clarity 2714 Gas Insert

Valor G4 Gas Insert

Regency Ci2700 Wood Insert

PELLET STOVES

Once you experience a pellet stove, it’s easy to understand why people rave about these efficient and unique home heaters that generate an automated, economical and earth-friendly wood heat… and all without firewood! For just pennies an hour, a pellet stove can deliver a deep, penetrating warmth that provides independence from high heating bills while emitting almost no wood smoke. And, with tremendous flexibility in installation and sizing, pellet stoves are a sophisticated choice for convenient heat that helps protect the environment and doesn’t break the bank.

Help control heating costs

Pellet stoves are the perfect choice for people that often experience high home heating bills due to fluctuating energy costs. In fact, pellet stoves are often installed in homes as secondary heat sources to help maintain control over heating expenses. The reason is the fuel. Pellet stoves burn economical pellets made from recycled sawdust. The economy of pellets is due to the low cost of the materials and the efficiency of the manufacturing processes, as well as the ability for people to lock in an entire year of fuel costs before the beginning of the heating season.

Efficient heat and minimal emissions

Pellet stoves are efficient home heaters thanks to state-of-the-art technology that helps control the fuel-to-air ratio within the stove and ensures almost complete combustion of the fuel. This technology helps to generate minimal wood smoke, making pellet stoves the lowest emission solid-fuel burning hearth products available today and a popular choice in areas where winter air quality is an issue.

Automated wood burning

A pellet stove is an automated wood burner. Pellet stoves operate with an easy-to-use convenience while providing a rich, radiant and convection heat. To use a pellet stove, simply load a supply of pellets into the hopper and start the stove. Once the stove is operating, an automated feed system delivers the wood pellets into a burn chamber within the stove where combustion air is forced through the fire creating a mini furnace. In many pellet stoves, the ignition system is also automatic, increasing the convenience factor.

Easily installed and maintained

Pellet stoves can be purchased in a tremendous array of designs, colors and finishes. Many manufacturers produce stoves that reflect certain architectural styles, such as Contemporary, Mission, Art Deco, Early American and French Country. Brushed metals and high gloss porcelain enamel in dozens of colors are also frequent design elements on gas stoves, while granite, marble or soapstone panels add textural interest. A pellet stove can also add appeal and blend easily into the interior design scheme of a room.

Selecting a Pellet Stove

Much like any other appliance, it is important to spend the time to choose the right pellet stove to fit your needs. Before you make your final decision, visit a specialty retailer for experienced advice. A specialty retailer is a trained pellet stove expert. He or she can arrange for the safe and reliable installation of a pellet stove by a certified professional installer. Specialty retailers are also the best source of information about how to correctly operate a pellet stove and what is required for proper maintenance. For a list of specialty retailers, visit hpbacanada.org/findamember/retailersandservice.

Type

Pellet stoves are classified by the amount of heat they generate – high versus low output.

Size

The physical size of a pellet stove is less important than the heat-generating capacity of the stove and the size of the fuel hopper. A small stove can heat a large space but might not hold more than a day’s worth of pellets.

Location

Pellet stoves require less installation space than other types of stoves and can be located as little as three inches from a wall, depending on the model. A pellet stove must also be installed a specific distance away from combustible surfaces and materials, such as drapes and doors, and be placed on noncombustible surface such as a hearth pad.

Venting

Since pellet stoves are power vented they can be installed almost anywhere in home, including through the ceiling, through a wall, or into an existing masonry chimney as long as the installation includes at least three feet of vertical chimney. Pellet stove chimneys are unique and are usually three or four inches in diameter. The chimney is also lined with stainless steel.

Features

There are three different types of ignition systems available in pellet stoves: standard (requiring the use of starter gel and a match); self-starting (where the user pushes a button to start the stove or uses a remote control); and fully automatic (where the stove is controlled by a thermostat and cycles on and off depending on the heat level selected). Other optional features include self-cleaning glass, self-cleaning burn pots, and deep pedestal ash pans. Some stove models even have battery back-up systems for when the power goes out (since pellet stoves require electricity to operate).

Style

Full bay view doors and windows trimmed in gold or black are examples of the styling options available for pellet stoves. Porcelain or cast iron finishes are also available options with many models of pellet stoves.

Installation

To ensure the safe and reliable installation of a pellet stove, HPBAC recommends that people use a specialty retailer and a certified professional installer to perform installation tasks. In addition to assessing the construction of a house, the professionals will obtain the necessary building permits and make sure that the installation meets all local and state codes. In some situations, the chosen installation area needs to accommodate a hearth pad underneath the stove.

Maintenance

Pellet stoves are simple to maintain, but routine tasks must be performed regularly to ensure proper function. These tasks include emptying the ash drawer, cleaning the burn pot, hopper, ash traps and glass, and scheduling professional service inspections each year before the start of the cold season. In addition, HPBAC recommends that chimneys and vents be inspected annually (and cleaned as necessary) by a WETT-certified chimney sweep.

Fuel requirements

Two grades of wood pellet fuel are available for pellet stoves: premium and standard. The difference between the two is their percentage of inorganic ash content. There is significantly less stove maintenance with the use of premium pellet fuel. There are also pellet stoves that can burn pellets with corn, a growing trend in home heating.

Average cost

The price of the appliance itself is only part of the total cost of owning a pellet stove. Other considerations are the cost of the chimney and installation, annual fuel costs and annual maintenance.

Harman Allure 50 Pellet Stove

Enerzone Eurostar Pellet Stove

Electric Fireplaces

If you live in an apartment or condo and dream of cozying up by the fire, there is an ideal solution: an electric fireplace. The warm, radiant heat of today’s electric fireplaces can be purchased at the store, carried home in the back of your car and installed in minutes. Simply plug the fireplace into an outlet and you’re ready to fire it up. It’s even easy to carry an electric fireplace up a flight of stairs. Electric fireplaces are designed to be plug-and-play appliances – simply turn them off and on as needed, and enjoy them when the mood hits. And with realistic fire technology that rivals a wood burning fire, the end result is snap, crackling great!

Beautiful fire for warmer climates

Electric fireplaces make having a fire possible no matter the time of year… and for just pennies a day. On a warm night, simply turn on the fire – minus the heat – and in seconds you can be basking in the glow of the fire while still sitting in your shorts. Then, when evening temperatures dip, turn on the heat option to take the chill off. Electric fireplaces work well in colder climates, as well. With variable heat controls, you can create enough heat to warm your toes or crank it up to keep a 400 square foot space at a comfortable temperature. And, because it requires no venting, an electric fireplace is perfect for locations where installing a fireplace is tricky, such as basements.

Euro-modern styling, or not

The design of an electric fireplace can be modern or traditional. Electric fireplaces can be found with angular lines, and unique shapes and features. These Euro-styled fireplaces can include frosted glass beads instead of logs, and fire in shades of pink, blue and red. Yet, for those who desire a more traditional design, there are electric fireplaces that mimic wood or gas burning fireplaces, complete with mantel, fireplace surround and doors. From Victorian details to classic lines, there are many options for traditional homes.

Selecting an Electric Fireplace

Unlike other fireplaces, electric fireplaces can be purchased at many locations, from mass merchants to specialty retailers. Choosing the right model is based on your style requirements, the amount of heat you desire and the features you select. In addition to electric fireplaces, there are electric fireplace inserts and freestanding stoves.

Type

There are two types of electric fireplaces – the plug-and-play variety and those that are hard-wired for built-in installation. Electric freestanding stoves and fireplace inserts are available with features similar to those found in electric fireplaces.

Size

These self-contained units (including mantels and surrounds when appropriate) range from 17 inches to 64 inches in width, and 23 inches to 48 inches in height. The depth visible within the room can range to 23 inches, depending on whether the fireplace is placed against a wall or built-in.

Location

Electric fireplaces are versatile when it comes to location. The only requirement for installation is electricity. Electric fireplaces are perfect for bedrooms, dens, offices, cabins, mobile homes, RVs and basements.

Venting

No venting requirements.

Features

With high quality craftsmanship, electric fireplaces offer superior flame, log and ember technology, with a long list of features that include: remote controls, wall thermostats, glass door kits, overheat protection, adjustable flame action, brick refractory look, adjustable flame brightness, optional doors and optional heat with glass that is cool to the touch. The Euro-styling of some electric fireplaces can include glass beads in place of logs and colored flames in red, pink and blue.

Style

Choose from Euro-styling or more traditional fireplace styles. Mantels are available in white, black, stone, and woods such as mahogany or cherry. Complementary surrounds are available in stone, or custom installations can be created. The fireplaces themselves come in stainless steel, black, brass, chrome, white and cast iron.

Installation

Simply plug the electric fireplace into an outlet (except those designed for hardwire). The hardwired variety requires installation by professionals, such as builders or certified installers.

Maintenance

Change the light bulbs as needed.

Napoleon Clearion Elite Electric Fireplace

Simplifire Scion Electric Fireplace

Hearth Product Fuels

The radiant heat and dancing flames of a fire in a fireplace or a freestanding stove can create a peaceful and relaxing gathering place within a home. To help people achieve this ambiance and warmth, there is now a wide variety of hearth products designed to suit almost any lifestyle and home design. But one of the most exciting components of hearth products is the variety of fuel options that make the installation of stoves, fireplaces, fireplace inserts, masonry heaters and log sets possible in almost any home in North America.

Choosing the right fuel

Selecting a hearth product fuel depends on many factors: the cost and availability of the fuel, desired efficiency and heat output, maintenance requirements, and the expected appearance of the fire. Another factor is local air quality regulations that determine what types of hearth products can be installed within a particular area.

Available Hearth Product Fuels

Wood

This renewable, non-fossil fuel is abundant throughout North America and is available by cord (128 cubic feet) or by face cord (66 cubic feet) through independent firewood dealers. People can also cut their own firewood on their personal property or through local forest management programs. There are two types of firewood: hardwoods and softwoods. But, no matter what type is selected, it is critical that all firewood be dried for at least six months before use (“seasoned” firewood).

Products: Fireplaces, Freestanding Stoves, Fireplace Inserts and Masonry Heaters
Benefits: Low-cost heat; provides independence from utilities when power goes out; produces minimal smoke with use of EPA or CSA-certified or Clean Burning hearth products; ambiance of real wood fire; readily available fuel; renewable fuel that helps reduce threat of global warming; security

Gas

Natural gas and propane (otherwise known as LP or “liquefied petroleum gas”) are the two types of gas used in hearth products, and are fossil fuels. Many cities throughout North America have natural gas utility companies that deliver the fuel underground to homes. Propane gas is generally delivered by private suppliers and is stored above ground in a cylindrical container on a person’s property near the home. Propane is used most often in rural areas where piped natural gas is not available.

Products: Fireplaces, Freestanding Stoves, Fireplace Inserts, Gas Log Sets
Benefits: No visible emissions; convenient and instantaneous fire; enjoyable and penetrating radiant heat; thermostatically-controlled heat; installation flexibility; realistic “wood like” flames

Pellets

Pellets are a renewable, non-fossil fuel made from 100 percent compressed sawdust. This fuel was developed in the 1970s as a way to use the waste wood from manufacturing processes. Pellets are an extremely efficient way to burn wood and can be purchased in 40-pound bags from specialty retailer locations or at some grocery and home stores. A unique advantage of pellet fuel is the ability to lock in fuel costs at the beginning of the heating season.

Products: Freestanding Stoves, Fireplace Inserts
Benefits: Low-cost heat; lock-in annual fuel costs early in the season; lowest level of wood burningemissions; automated wood fire; ease-of-use; installation flexibility

Coal

Coal is a fossil fuel like natural gas and propane. Anthracite is the most commonly used coal fuel for home heating because of its high heating value. Coal provides an even, controllable heat and can sometimes be burned in a woodstove if the manufacturer designed it to be a dual fuel stove. Washed, bagged coal is a regionally available fuel.

Products: Freestanding Stoves, Fireplace Inserts
Benefits: Even, controllable heat; low-cost fuel; low emissions

Manufactured firelogs

Much like wood pellets, manufactured firelogs are made from waste sawdust and are designed to be low emissions alternatives to burning firewood in fireplaces and wood stoves. There are two types of manufactured firelogs: sawdust and wax/sawdust blend. Both products are available for use in Traditional and Clean Burning fireplaces, but only sawdust firelogs are recommended for use in EPA or CSA-certified wood stoves and fireplaces.

Products: Fireplaces, Freestanding Stoves (sawdust only)
Benefits: Convenience; ease-of-use; reduced emissions; reduced creosote production; low cost

Oil

Oil has long been a popular choice for central home heating and is now becoming an option for hearth products. Oil burning hearth products offer a powerful heat for about the same cost per hour as natural gas. An oil burning hearth product runs quietly and can operate without electricity.

Products: Freestanding Stoves
Benefits: Cost-effective; use of existing fuel source

Electricity

A new category in hearth product fuels, electricity has shifted from being a supplemental fuel to use as a primary fuel for fireplaces. Electric fireplaces are an attractive option for condos, apartments, hotel lobbies, offices and other locations where there is an interest in fire with, or without, heat.

Products: Fireplaces, Freestanding Stoves
Benefits: Ambiance; optional heat; absolutely no emissions; installation flexibility

Corn

Corn is the newest hearth product fuel on the market and is a good example of an alternative, non-fossil fuel using available resources. Corn is either burned in a stove specifically designed to burn the fuel, or is burned in approved models of pellet stoves mixed with wood pellets.

Products: Freestanding Stoves
Benefits: Low cost; low emissions; convenience where fuel is available.

Making the final decision

Before selecting a hearth product, you will need to choose a fuel type. For educated assistance in making that final decision, visit a specialty retailer in your area for expert advice. A specialty retailer is trained to assist you in this selection process. For a list of specialty retailers, visit hpbacanada.org/find-a-member/retailers-and-service/.

Buying a Hearth product

Hearth products add incredible warmth and comfort, as well as ambiance, to a living space, and can last for decades. Because of their prominence within a home, purchasing hearth products should be approached with both décor and functionality in mind. The best place to start this process is with a specialty retailer. With the remarkable variety of hearth products available today, working with a specialty retailer can ensure the entire process of making a purchase is both enjoyable and satisfying.

What is a hearth product?

The category is immense and includes fireplaces, freestanding stoves, fireplace inserts, masonry heaters, gas logs, outdoor hearth products, and hearth accessories, such as mantels, hearth pads, firescreens and glass doors.

The choice is personal

The enormous variety in hearth products means there are many features and benefits to consider before deciding what’s right for you. For example, the question of heat versus décor and ambiance is a good place to start. Other factors that can impact your decision include: the extent of usage, the placement within the home, the maintenance required, design and style preferences, as well as which fuel works best for the users. The answers to these questions can help shorten the list of appropriate hearth products for any given situation.

Early planning creates more options

When building a new home or remodeling, it’s best to start researching early about where to add hearth products and exactly what to add. Builders and architects need to know the wish list when they are in the planning stages. There are hearth products for every room in the house, including bedrooms, bathrooms and backyard decks. Many homes today have hearth products in multiple rooms, providing a unique and soothing experience throughout the house. And, be sure to ask builders and architects for options. Just as with countertops and appliances, there are varying levels of hearth products within each category, from basic to luxurious, and the price differences between the levels are generally affordable.

Easy hearth updates

Many hearth products can be installed in an existing room with very little effort. It doesn’t take a major remodeling job to gain the benefit of a new fireplace, fireplace insert or freestanding stove. Whether the plan is to update an existing, and outdated, wood burning fireplace or add a new fireplace or freestanding stove, there are many different products available to create a convenient, efficient and beautiful fire. And, better yet, these products don’t require building a foundation or a masonry chimney, knocking out a wall or changing the layout of a room.

The value of a specialty retailer

Expert assistance when choosing a hearth product is invaluable, and a specialty retailer is the best partner available. Specialty retailers’ showrooms are also one-stop shopping. They can help with research, decision-making, the final purchase and installation, as well as maintenance and service. For a list of specialty retailers, visit hpbacanada.org/find-a-member/retailers-and-service/.

Steps to Buying a Hearth Product

Visit a specialty retailer’s showroom

Taking the time to talk with a specialty retailer can help define the best hearth product for a specific installation. A specialty retailer demonstrates many models of fireplaces and other hearth products (some burning and some not) in the showroom, and has staff on hand to explain the benefits of each. Don’t worry about asking questions. They are expected. A specialty retailer will also expect many visits from a potential buyer before the final decision is made. To continue the research after leaving the store, be sure to ask for product literature to take home. It’s also a good idea to visit more than one specialty retailer, as they all carry different brands and models.

Research the options

If more information is necessary, use the Internet or read home decorating magazines (fall/winter issues) to gain more input. Start at hpbacanada.org to review manufacturers and brands, as well as categories of hearth products (wood burning fireplaces versus gas fireplaces, or pellet stoves versus coal stoves). Local home shows or regional fairs are other valuable resources.

Head back to the showroom

The specialty retailer can help answer any additional questions and help pinpoint the ideal final product for purchase based on the research.

Home visits by the retailer

Many specialty retailers will visit a home prior to the final purchase to assess how the selected hearth product will blend into the home environment, and what installation challenges might exist. This can be a complimentary visit, but it’s important to ask in advance.

Service

After installation is complete, it’s wise to request a detailed review of the recommended service required for the hearth product purchase. Most hearth products require annual inspections of the appliance and the chimney and venting system, as well as maintenance cleaning.

Installation

Professional installation by a qualified technician is essential to the proper performance and safety of a hearth product and its venting system. Unlike a malfunctioning refrigerator, a hearth product that doesn’t do its job properly can have serious consequences. Many specialty retailers offer installation by factory trained and/or nationally certified staff. To verify if an installer is certified, contact Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT) at wettinc.ca.

RSF Focus 320 Wood Fireplace

Supreme Novo 38 Wood Fireplace

Savannah Bonaparte 48 Gas Fireplace

Accessorizing a Fireplace

The fireplace is a beautifully visible part of the home. It plays an important role in our lives and is a sought-after feature for people looking to build or buy a house. The fireplace reflects the heart and soul of its owners, and can turn a plain room into an inviting retreat. Yet, one of the most exciting characteristics of a fireplace is its role as a design focal point, bringing together furniture, artwork, lamps and draperies in a pleasingly harmonious décor within a room.

The key is accessorizing

Adding accessories is the secret to creating a fireplace that integrates form and function. A basic fireplace can be dressed up by simply adding a firescreen in a distinctive architectural style. Include a complementary tool set and firewood holder, and the fireplace gains elegance as well as practicality. Accessories can also completely alter the face of a fireplace. The addition of a stone mantel or a marble surround can change a fireplace from Country to Contemporary in an instant. With hundreds of fireplace accessories to choose from, turning a plain fireplace into a work of art is easy, regardless of the budget.

Accessory choices galore

There are many options in the type and style of accessories for fireplaces, and a variety of materials and finishes. Mantels and fireplace surrounds can be crafted from dozens of different surfaces, including hard and soft woods, brick, ceramic tile, and natural stones such as marble, granite and soapstone. Manufacturers of glass doors, fire screens and tools offer a myriad of finishes: solid and antique black, satin finished nickel, hammered iron, antique and polished brass, vintage iron and others. And, the glass within a set of doors can be clear, smoked, beveled, mirrored or etched.

Do it for safety and efficiency

Not only do fireplace accessories contribute to a home’s design, they also help create a safe and more efficient fireplace. For example, adding a fire screen to the fireplace can help keep children and pets away from the flames, while glass doors can prevent cold air from seeping into the house when the fireplace is not in use.

Professional vs DIY

Many fireplace and hearth accessories can be installed as a do-it-yourself project with one caveat – if you order it and it doesn’t fit, you own it. Despite the availability of stock tool sets and freestanding fire screens, many accessories – such as glass door sets or mantels – can require custom fitting due to the wide variation in fireplace sizes. Professional installation ensures that the project is done to your satisfaction and with minimal fuss. A specialty retailer can arrange for professional installation, and will generally come to see your fireplace before an order is placed. A specialty retailer can also ensure that the accessories you choose are approved for use with your fireplace, since some fireplaces have specific requirements related to operation that accessories could inhibit.

Making the Choice

Adding accessories to a fireplace is much like choosing any home design detail: it’s all about personal taste and doing your homework. Below are some questions to ask yourself when choosing which accessories to select. After answering these questions, the next best step is to visit a specialty retailer to discuss products available in your area. Specialty retailers are accessories experts, and have trained installers to ensure all projects are completed to specifications, and with an eye towards safety.

What’s your ideal look?

If money, time and space weren’t issues, what would you change about your fireplace? Completely re-design the face by adding a new marble mantel or a tile surround in gentle earth tones? Or, would you add a few finishing details, like a hammered iron tool set? Regardless of your budget, there’s a good chance that products are available to help you achieve the look that’s perfect for your home.

How will you use your fireplace?

The accessories you choose could vary, depending on whether you are interested in an occasional fire or enjoy more frequent use. If the occasional fire fits your lifestyle, a gas log set could be a very suitable accessory.

What are the dimensions of your fireplace?

Measuring the opening of the fireplace and the hearth in front will help you and your specialty retailer estimate the cost of your accessories. The dimensions will also help you determine the proper size for your accessories.

Who manufactured your fireplace, and what is the model number?

This is helpful information, as some fireplaces have precise requirements when it comes to accessories. And, some options are exclusive to specific fireplace models.

What is your home’s design style?

Does your home’s interior design reflect a single style, or do you follow a more eclectic path? The answers to these questions will help you decide which styles will work best in your home.

What are the predominant colors or textures within the room?

Examine the colors of your walls, the tones of your furniture, the texture and hues of your door handles and hinges, and the color palette of your lamps and fixtures. Choosing an accessory for your fireplace, whether it complements or offsets the existing colors and textures, requires the same care as choosing a painting or an occasional table.

Before You Visit a Specialty Retailer…

Get it on film

Take a few good snapshots of the fireplace and room – these can help a specialty retailer steer you to the right products.

Browse the web

Take a tour of various accessories websites to get a feel for what’s available. A list of manufacturers and links to their websites is available at hpbacanada.org/find-a-member/retailers-and-service/.

Check out what’s new

Home magazines are a great source of ideas. The editors of these magazines showcase the latest design styles, materials, textures and colors from across the country.

Woodbridge DV36CV Gas Fireplace

Regency Skope E135 Electric Fireplace

ZONE HEATING

Spending time watching a movie or reading a book in the family room on a chilly evening can be even more enjoyable when the room is toasty warm. Now, it’s easier than ever before to obtain that kind of heat without turning up the thermostat on the furnace and heating the whole house unnecessarily. Simply install a hearth product as a zone heater and generate ambiance and penetrating heat while controlling home heating costs.

Zone heating is room heat

While some hearth products have the capability of heating an entire house, most are designed to heat a room or a cluster of rooms, such as the living room, kitchen and family room. Using a hearth product as a zone heater is all about focusing heat where people spend the most time. After all, there is no point to heating bedrooms, or even a laundry room, to 68 degrees when not in use.

Save money on home heat

By turning down the thermostat on a central furnace and using a hearth product as a supplemental heat source, it’s easy to save money on home heating bills. This savings is a result of a reduction in the amount of fuel needed to heat a home. Zone heating is often most beneficial in homes with older central furnaces that tend to lose heat through inefficient operation and leaky duct-work.

Many options for one heating

There are many hearth products applicable for zone heating, including fireplaces, freestanding stoves, fireplace inserts and masonry heaters. Within these types, there are hearth products that burn firewood, natural gas, propane, pellets, oil, coal, corn and manufactured firelogs. The key to selecting the correct hearth product is determining the zones of the house to heat, the level of desired heat, available fuels, intended use patterns, and the convenience factor, as well as the style, design and layout of the home where the hearth product will be installed.

Zone heating decisions

Much like any other appliance, it is important to spend the time to choose the hearth product that fits your zone heating needs. Before making your final decision, visit a specialty retailer for experienced advice. A specialty retailer is knowledgeable about zone heating. He or she can arrange for the safe and reliable installation of a fireplace, stove, fireplace insert or masonry heater by a certified professional installer. Specialty retailers are the best source of information about how to correctly operate a hearth product, proper maintenance requirements, and details about available fuel types

Hearth Products for Zone Heating

The list below includes some suggested hearth products that are designed for use as a zone heater. This listing is grouped by the type of fuel the product burns.

Firewood

EPA or CSA-certified Freestanding Stoves
EPA or CSA-certified Fireplace Inserts
Clean Burning Fireplaces
EPA or CSA-certified Fireplaces
Masonry Heaters

Gas (Natural Gas or Propane)

Freestanding Stoves
Fireplace Inserts
Heater-rated Fireplaces

Pellets

Freestanding Stoves
Fireplace Inserts

Coal

Freestanding Stoves
Fireplace Inserts

Oil

Freestanding Stoves

Corn

Freestanding Stoves

Zone Heating Questions 

A specialty retailer will ask the following questions to guide you in the process of choosing a hearth product as a zone heater:

  • What zone of the house do you wish to heat?
  • How many square feet are in this zone?
  • What type of central heat do you have?
  • What fuels are readily available in your area?
  • Do you have an existing wood burning fireplace?
  • What is the age and construction of your house?
  • What is your design style?
  • Is there available space to install a freestanding stove?

Woodbridge DV36CV Gas Fireplace

Jøtul GF305 Gas Stove

Blaze King Ashford 25 Wood Insert

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1

What heating appliance would be best for me?

While people agree that a fire on the hearth makes their house a home, choosing from the many options can be confusing. The following questions are intended to help you identify the right unit for your home or outdoor living room. Remember that the starting point is you, your home, your tastes and your lifestyle. From there, a trained hearth products retailer can help you choose the best heating fuel and the ideal product.

2

Where will your hearth product go?

With today’s venting options, fireplaces, stoves, inserts and other hearth appliances can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Consider a fireplace for nontraditional locations, such as the kitchen, home office or master bedroom or bath. Even creating an outdoor living room by installing fireplaces on patios and decks is a very popular trend today.

3

Do you have an existing fireplace or stove?

If you have a unit that is inefficient or seldom used, converting to a new hearth product may be simple and surprisingly affordable. Gas logs or a fireplace insert may be just right for you.

4

Are you building a new home or remodeling?

You can add atmosphere and focus to your home by incorporating a hearth product early in the design stage. Talk to your architect or remodeler about stove and fireplace ideas.

5

Do you want a fire for its aesthetic appearance or for its warmth?

Some hearth products are simply decorative, while others are extremely efficient and beautiful to watch at the same time. How much heat output would you like? Consult HPBA’s home heating buyers guide for more information.

6

How much of your home
do you want to heat?

Once you decide whether to use your hearth as room, living zone, or entire house heat source your local hearth dealer can help you determine the right size appliance for your home. Your retailers can also help you decide the best heating fuel factoring in your climate, floor plan and lifestyle.

7

What fuels are accessible to you?

Use the HPBA home heating calculator to determine your best options and savings based on your local fuel availability: firewood, natural gas, propane, wood pellets, coal, oil or electricity.

8

Are you concerned about having heat during power outages?

One of the benefits of most hearth products is that they can operate during power outages, when you need the heat the most.

9

Are there any other special considerations?

Having a fire can be as simple as pushing a button on a gas stove or fireplace, or engaging as supplying your own wood, building and tending a fire. If someone in the house has allergies, that needs to be considered.

10

What finished look do you want for your home?

The hearth products industry offers many choices to consumers. Visit a specialty hearth retailer to see what suits your style and budget, or check out manufacturer and local retailer websites.

11

How much do you want to spend?

Price is always a consideration. Hearth product prices range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Fuel prices also are a factor to consider and vary by region.

12

What is the best pellet fuel to burn?

For information on pellet fuels and the new Pellet Fuels Standards please visit www.pelletheat.org.

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