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Can A Fireplace Heat A Whole House?

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

If you are thinking about switching to using a fireplace instead of using your heating to heat up your whole house, then there are some things that you should consider first.

Not all fireplaces are going to work the same, and there are a few different options for you to think about.

In this article, we are going to tell you everything that you need to know about using a fireplace to heat up your whole house. We are also going to tell you exactly what you need to do in order to be successful.

Can A Fireplace Heat A Whole House?

Yes, it is possible for a fireplace to be able to heat up your whole house, but there are some things that you will need to think about in order to achieve this.

You should also keep in mind that not every fireplace will be able to heat up a whole house. We will tell you everything that you need to know below.

What Types of Fireplaces Can Heat a Whole House?

There are some fireplaces that are designed to generate heat, and others that are more for decorative purposes. If you want to be able to heat your entire home, then there are a few fireplaces that will help you to do so.

EPA Certified Wood Fireplaces

Wood fireplaces that have a sealed door and ceramic glass and are certified to EPA’s standard will be designed to burn wood very efficiently. This means that they will be able to generate a generous amount of heat.

You should make sure that you select one that has a variable air control option, as this will allow you to adjust the intensity of the fire to suit your needs. This will give you the heat output that you need.

High-Efficient Gas Fireplaces

Direct vent gas fireplaces with ceramic glass that offer Energuide efficiency ratings above 70% and BTU’s that are higher than 30,000 may be suitable to heat your entire house.

However, the house must not be too large, and it should have a good amount of air circulation. A variable heat control or a thermostat operated fireplace are desirable for this purpose.

Pellet Fireplaces

Pellet fireplaces are generally designed to be highly efficient, and they should be able to generate enough heat to keep your entire house warm.

You should choose one that has a higher efficiency, typically about 70%. The bigger that your house is, the more BTUs it will need.

Some of the best types of fireplaces for heating up your whole house will offer a heat transfer kit or a forced air kit. These are great options if you want to heat up your entire house.

It also helps to create much better heat distribution throughout the house, and the concept is quite simple.

A powerful fan will be attached to the fireplace, and this will work to pull the heat away from the fireplace and push it into a room that is further away.

Which Types of Fireplaces Will Not Heat My Home?

If you are looking to be able to heat your entire home with your fireplace, then it can also be useful to be aware of the fireplaces that will not be suitable for the task at hand.

We are going to list them down below for you to read about.

Open Masonry or Steel Fireplace

An open masonry or steel fireplace, whether you are using gas or wood, will not be able to heat up your entire home.

Instead, these open fireplaces will actually cool down your home in the winter, as all of the warm air tends to go up the chimney.

If your fireplace does not have sealed doors, then you should not expect it to heat up your whole house.

Decorative Wood Fireplaces

These types of fireplaces will have no air control. While they will supply heat, it will not be enough to heat more than a single room.

Gas fireplaces with tempered glass will also have an efficiency below 60% and will not produce enough heat to warm the entire house.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are not designed to be able to heat your entire home, and their purpose is to simply heat the room that they are held in. For this reason, they will not be suitable for heating an entire house.

How Do I Choose the Right Fireplace to Heat a Whole House?

In order to figure out the right amount of BTU that you will need to heat your whole house, you can use a BTU calculator.

You can find these online, and they tell you your needed BTU based on where you live, the size of your home, the level of insulation inside your home, and the number of windows that you have.

This is really helpful, as the amount of heat that each individual needs will vary greatly, depending on their circumstances.

Once you have determined the BTU range that you need, you will need to decide what type of fuel you want for your fireplace.

The 3 best options for heating a whole house are wood, gas, or pellet fireplaces.

Does It Matter Where I Put My Fireplace?

Yes, if you want to be able to heat up your entire home, then the location of the fireplace is going to play an important part. The more central that your fireplace is within your home, the better the heat distribution will be.

You should also keep in mind that heat naturally rises. So, if you are trying to heat the basement of your home, then putting your fireplace upstairs is not going to work.

Although, if you placed it in the basement, or on the ground level, the heat would rise into the rest of the house. You should also consider the fact that a fireplace will radiate heat.

The room in which the fireplace is placed will be much warmer than the rooms that are further away. So, even though the rest of the house is warm, it is likely to be much hotter in the room that houses the fireplace.


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