During this Maryland winter that doesn’t seem to end, keeping your home warm is paramount. One energy-efficient way to warm a room is a gas fireplace. Ideal for their clean heat, gas fireplaces require little to no maintenance and are easy to operate with a switch or remote control. Many also come with built-in blowers, which help to provide constant and far-reaching heat. The blower helps circulate heat throughout the room, making the gas fireplace a good source of warmth. Gas fireplaces are also a clean alternative to wood-fired heaters.
With the recent proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make wood-fired heaters cleaner, the pollution and health concerns of these heat sources have been brought to the forefront again. The EPA said smoke from wood heaters can increase toxic air pollution and emit particles into the air that can pose serious health concerns. The EPA is proposing standards for new wood-fired heaters that would make them 80 percent cleaner than those on the market today. Standards would be imposed on woodstoves, fireplace inserts, wood boilers, forced air furnaces and masonry heaters, requiring manufacturers to invest in technologies to control the pollutants. While they will have to meet the standards over time, they will also incur costs that may be reflected in market pricing of the products.
Your heating and air conditioning professional can give you a thorough overview of the cost-effectiveness of gas fireplaces – both from an installation standpoint and a long-range use standpoint. Suffice it to say gas fireplaces require no chimney or chimney cleaning, no investment in wood or pellets and are generally low-maintenance. Add that they are a cleaner alternative, and you’ve got a serious contender to help you through this long winter and others to come.