fuzzy socks in front of the fire

We all know that electric fireplaces can’t generate enough heat to really warm your house to a comfortable level. But, if you opt for a gas fireplace instead, could it heat your house on a regular basis, or just during emergencies? 

The answer is that it depends. You can probably find a gas fireplace that can either heat your home or a large zone of your home that you can live in during a power outage. Here’s what you need to consider in order to find the right fireplace that can heat your home. 

Can a Gas Fireplace Heat Your Home? 

The most important factor in whether a fireplace can heat your home is the type of fireplace. Not all gas fireplaces are made equal. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Open masonry fireplace: These fireplaces have open masonry or steel. They may also have gas logs. They are unable to heat your home in the winter. In fact, they may cool your home by allowing the heat to leave. 
  • Gas fireplaces with tempered glass: If your fireplace has tempered glass, that’s a sign it doesn’t have the heat output necessary to heat your whole home. 
  • High-efficiency gas fireplaces: Need to have an efficiency, or AFUE rating, of over 70%. That means they must make at least 70% of the fuel into heat. The higher the AFUE, the less expensive the fireplace is to operate as a heater. 

Looking for home heating options? Contact our team at Whitfield ClimateCare today. 

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Size of the fireplace is also important. Just like furnaces, gas fireplaces have a BTU rating that tells you how much heat it can produce. You then need to compare the BTU rating to the size of your home to figure out if it’s enough. If you have 1000 square feet and reasonable insulation you may need between 20,000 and 30,000 BTU to heat your home. 

If you have a large home or one with poor insulation or airflow, then you may not be able to find a fireplace that can produce enough heat for your whole home. However, that’s not your only option. 

Zone Heating 

Zone heating is an alternative to heating your whole home. Essentially, you rely on your gas fireplace to heat the room it’s in, and potentially a few spaces nearby. This can either cut down on your furnace’s work or be a reasonable back-up in the case of a power outage or other emergency. 

How to Make a Gas Fireplace More Efficient 

If you’re installing a gas fireplace, choosing its location is one of the most important ways to make it most efficient and make the zone that it heats most convenient for you. Your HVAC technician can help you choose the right location. 

Reach out to our team at Whitfield ClimateCare to find a gas fireplace that can provide all of the heat you need. 

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