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Up In Smoke Gas fireplaces are replacing wood-burning fireplaces in new home construction BY ERIC SPANGLER

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DAYTON MAGAZINE . December 2019/January 2020


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ew homes w it h wood-bu r n i ng fireplaces are going up in smoke. That’s because about 80% of new homes being built with fireplaces now use natural gas instead of wood as the fuel source, says Bryan Kyle, general manager of Dayton Fireplace Systems in Centerville. The reason the majority of new homes are being built with fireplaces using natural gas instead of wood as fuel is because of the simplicity and low maintenance, he says. “Maintenance on gas fireplaces is minimal,” says Kyle. “Maybe once every year is what manufacturers will recommend,” he says. “But the simplicity and the ease of use is more than anything else.” That’s because fireplaces that use natural gas can be turned on and turned off with a flick of a switch. If an emergency

arises the gas fireplace can be turned off immediately so the homeowner can leave the house, says Kyle. “You can turn it on and 30 minutes to an hour later if you gotta go somewhere you can turn it right off,” he says. Wood-burning fireplaces take longer to light and longer to extinguish the flames if an emergency arises and the homeowner has to leave the home, he says. And woodburning fireplaces have to have the ashes cleaned out frequently, in addition to yearly maintenance cleaning the chimney of dangerous creosote build-up, says Kyle. Not only are gas fireplaces being used more in new home construction, but converting an older wood-burning fireplaces into a gas fireplace is also becoming more popular, he says. “Converting old wood-burning fireplaces to gas fireplaces is definitely something

that a lot of people want to do more often than not,” says Kyle. “If you have an existing wood-burning fireplace you can have a gas line put in or you install a … a gas insert that slides into that existing firebox.” Not only are gas fireplaces becoming more realistic—with images of flames that mimic burning wood—they are also more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces, he says. And don’t worry if your property doesn’t have natural gas lines. Kyle says propane tanks can supply the necessary fuel for gas fireplaces. “Propane prices are actually relatively low compared to what they have been in the past so you are seeing more people with propane go to gas fireplaces,” he says. For those who want an alternative heat source that is not propane or natural gas Kyle says pellet stoves are a popular opDAYTON MAGAZINE . December 2019/January 2020

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DAYTON ›› HOME tion. Pellet stoves burn compressed wood sawdust “pellets” that are fed from the hopper to the burn pot area of the stove to create heat, he says. “(Pellet stoves) are an alternative heat source for a lot of people that don’t have natural gas in their house or are looking to do something that is not wood or gas,” says Kyle. Pellet stoves are very efficient, he says. “They are between 80% and 85% efficient,” says Kyle. The most important consideration when installing a pellet stove, he says, is to make sure the homeowner has a generator to connect it to if the power goes out. That’s because pellet stoves use electricity to move the fuel pellets from the hopper to the burn pot area of the stove with an auger. “If you don’t have a generator on most pellet stoves if power goes out they don’t work,” he says. One of the nice amenities of a pellet stove is that they can be connected to a thermo-

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DAYTON MAGAZINE . December 2019/January 2020


stat, says Kyle. “So basically it will kick on and off on the temperature of the room,” he says. “You set it to a certain temperature and it will kick on and off by itself.” It’s also more convenient than a woodburning fireplace because the homeowner doesn’t have to feed the fire every couple hours, says Kyle. Pellet stoves are available as free-standing units or fireplace inserts that are vented into an existing chimney. Pellet stoves heat the room the unit is located in, he says. How big of a room can a pellet stove heat? “It just depends on how open the room or the rooms are will depend on how much square footage you can heat,” says Kyle. “They are very efficient—they can heat a large area—it just depends on how open it is.” Pellet stoves do require a little more maintenance than a gas fireplace, ranging from a simple cleaning every week up to being serviced by a professional once every six months to a year, he says. n

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Dayton Home – December 2019  

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