Effect of Gas Fireplace Operation

Gas fireplaces are prevalent in homes across Canada. Operating a fireplace introduces heat to the home at a single location. If the fireplace is in close proximity to the thermostat, it can result in the heating system shutting off and rooms in extremities of the home becoming cooler. This situation raises a number of questions of interest:

  • What locations get warmer, and which ones get colder?
  • If the colder rooms predominate, does this act similarly to a thermostat setback? And does this result in a net energy savings?
  • In what circumstances would extremity room wall surface temperatures fall below dew points?
  • What impact does pilot light operation have on total heating energy consumption?

In 2009 and 2010 researchers evaluated the impact of running a gas fireplace in an open-concept R-2000 home. They monitored the house energy consumption for heating, any change in furnace operation due to fireplace operation, and air and surface temperatures in rooms.

Report

ARCHIVED - Assessment of the impact of a natural gas fireplace on heating energy consumption and room temperatures at the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (PDF format, 5.1 MB)

CMHC Research Highlights

The Impact of Gas Fireplace Operation on Winter Energy Consumption and House Temperatures (PDF format, 1.23 MB)

Articles

Do Residential Gas Fireplaces Complement or Compromise the Effectiveness of Furnaces? (PDF format, 1.47 MB) National Housing Research Committee Newsletter, Fall 2011.

Does running your gas fireplace in winter cost you energy? Construction Innovation, Vol. 15, No.4, December 2010.

ARCHIVED - Impact of a natural gas fireplace on home heating energy consumption (PDF format, 224 KB) Armstrong, M.M.; Burrows, J. Home Builder, 23, (5), pp. 1-2, September 01, 2010.