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Homeowners Upgrading Fireplaces to Stretch Heating Dollars
Dec 4, 2008
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With energy costs on the forefront of everyone’s mind, it’s clear why 69% of Americans that install a new technology fireplace, stove or insert do so to be more energy efficient. This is according to the 2008 Hearth Consumer Survey by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA). And, beginning January 2009, homeowners also can take advantage of a $300 tax credit to purchase a new pellet or 75 percent efficient wood stove.

HPBA’s recent survey also found that 51% of consumers look to hearth products to help save on heating costs. HPBA says that this may help account for the remarkable increases of hearth product shipments for the first six months of 2008. As compared to the same period in 2007, shipments of wood stoves/inserts increased 54 percent and pellet stoves/inserts increased 212%.

HPBA offers heating tips for homeowners this winter. They include:

1. Be Cautious of Old Stoves and Improper Installation: U.S. hearth dealers report that some homeowners are installing second-hand, less efficient uncertified stoves as a way to save money. But older, uncertified stoves can cause unhealthy indoor air pollution and can release 15 to 30 grams of smoke per hour, leading to creosote buildup that can cause chimney fires (compared to new EPA-certified stoves that produce only 2 to 5 grams per hour). And, old stove use, combined with improper installation near combustibles and without proper ventilation, may result in a home fire, rendering a home ineligible for insurance coverage.

2. Calculate the Savings: Those upgrading to an EPA-certified wood stove found wood use cut by a third. But the savings aren’t all in the stoves, as today’s fireplaces and inserts also offer higher efficiency ratings and cleaner burning technologies. HPBA developed a calculator (www.hpba.org/fuelcalculator) that estimates cost-saving benefits of all hearth products.

3. Ask for Cleaner and Greener Options: Consumers have more options than ever in fuel and product choices. Check out HPBA's online resource, Consumer Guide: The Easy and Efficient Way to Heat Your Home (www.hpba.org/HearthConsumerGuide).

4. Get in the Zone: According to HPBA, zone heating – using a fireplace, stove or insert to heat those rooms used most – allows the thermostat to be turned down on the central furnace, reducing fuel consumption and providing energy savings of up to 20-40%.

5. Seek Out a Heating Expert: HPBA recommends homeowners visit one of the nearly 1,900 member retail hearth product stores across North America when considering the purchase of a new fireplace, stove, insert, or log set. Specialty retailers can help homeowners better understand the product differences, placement within a room and the best size that will help heat a home most cost-effectively and provide the installation by a technician certified by the National Fireplace Institute®.

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