According to Zach Watson of Embers Grill & Fireplace Store, homeowners are finally realizing that they can actually get heat out of their fireplace versus having all the heat go up the chimney. “We are installing insets that make their fireplaces more efficient or completely replacing their fireplace,” he says.
Watson says that although many homes are built with ventless fireplaces, often due to reduced builder costs, “we are currently selling a lot of vented fireplaces to replace the unvented models. A lot of people are bothered by the smell of non-vented fireplaces. We have vented models that will put out as much heat without the odors.”
And while wood and gas fireplaces are still the area’s best selling units, Watson reports that alternative fuels such as pellets are gaining popularity. “They put out a lot of heat and you don’t have to worry about cutting wood or storing it.” Rising energy costs have prodded Americans to buy wood pellets, which generally are made from sawdust and wood shavings.
The Energy Information Administration's Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator estimates it costs $15.15 to produce 1 million Btu using pellets and $9.09 using solid wood. Those figures are between the costs of coal ($9.06) and natural gas ($12.61) and are well below the costs of oil ($18.53), propane ($24.66), and electric furnaces, baseboards, and space heaters ($33.25).
More than ever, Watson adds, homeowners are looking for efficient fireplaces and the manufacturers are responding. “We sell fireplaces that are going to be an upgrade for most customers. The long European fireplace design is gaining favor and offer the possibility of glass beads instead of logs.”
Sources for fireplaces in the Nashville area include:
Bishop Hearth & Home
Embers Grill & Fireplace
Hearth & Grill Shop
Nashville Fireplace Distrs. Inc.