Watch the full episode: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tv/ask-toh/video/0,,21004325,00.html
Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor explores the best options for home fireplaces. (See steps below.)
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Steps for How to Choose a Home Fireplace:
1. Alan describes several fireplace options, including a traditional wood-burning fireplace. This should just be for ambience as it is only 15% efficient.
2. A gas log is as inefficient as a traditional wood-burning fireplace, at 15%, but requires zero cleanup.
3. A better option would be a gas-fueled insert in an existing fireplace. That runs at 70% to 80% efficiency.
4. For those without an existing fireplace, there’s a gas zero-clearance fireplace that can be built into almost any wall and will exhaust directly out of an exterior wall.
5. Alan also shows Kevin a standing gas-fueled oven. That can be placed almost anywhere and vented through an exhaust pipe.
6. A pellet stove is fueled by sawdust pellets and runs on electricity. It’s convenient for someone looking to burn wood, and more efficient than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. However, if you already have a gas option, Alan recommends you stick with gas.
7. Finally, Alan shows Kevin several electric fireplace options. These produce some heat but are primarily for ambience. They do not need venting.
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