Posted by Karen Duke on 10/8/2019 to Tech
Does your family also play the game of putting off the moment when you have to turn on the heat each Fall?
Maybe we're just not ready to let go of Summer yet. It's only getting cool this evening, so do you really need to officially turn on the furnace when it will go from 45 degrees tonight and 75 degrees tomorrow?
You'll find that periods where the seasons are changing - Summer to Fall, or Winter to Spring - are the ideal times to use your high efficiency gas fireplace to make your home comfortable.
There are just 2 of us living in a 4 bedroom house so it just feels so wasteful to turn on the heat pump to keep us warm in the couple of rooms we use. We spend our evenings in the kitchen and the family room before heading to bed, where I like the temperature cooler for sleeping. So we have our fireplace insert (we use a G4 gas insert at our house) set to come on when the inside temperature drops to 67 degrees, and as the house cools down in the fall then the fire cuts on. We use the timer to cut the fireplace off at 11pm, then set to come back on in the morning a half hour before we get up. The heat pump is set at 60 degrees and will turn on if the house gets too chilly. This way we're optimizing our heating dollars and maintaining an ideal temperature.
This means we're not heating the house much while we're sleeping but the house is warm when we get up in the morning, then the cycle begins again in the evening.
We keep the unused bedroom doors shut in the winter unless the grandkids or friends will be spending the night; if the kids are here we just open their bedroom door. If there are grownups who want the door closed then we'll turn up the upstairs heat pump.The upstairs heat pump is rarely in use in the winter because the heat from the insert rises up the stairs and the rooms we actually inhabit in the house stay very comfortable.
This is a key factor in saving money by heating with a gas fireplace versus central heating. Most homes have between 20 to 30% loss right through the ductwork, in addition to lacking the ability to heat just the zones needed in your house. In addition, radiant heat - like that produced by a high efficiency gas fireplace - uses 5 to 25% less energy to comfortably heat your home. Radiant heat allows you to be more comfortable at a lower temperature, saving additional heating dollars. And did you know that heat pumps produce a system wide efficiency of about 57% while a high efficiency gas fireplace or insert commonly operates at efficiency ranges in the mid-70% values.
The radiant heat from the gas insert is much more comfortable than our heat pump, which always feels like there is cold air blowing from the vents in the winter. Not to mention, the fireplace is a much cozier place to gather around than a heat pump vent. So we really don't dread Fall coming, and look forward to evenings by our fire!