gas fireplace 

Alternatives to Woodburning Fireplaces

Heating your home with a traditional woodburning fireplace creates air pollution that can be damaging to the environment and cause health issues. Using an alternative heating device is more efficient and safer.

The EPA estimates that 65 percent (6.5 million) of the nation’s wood stoves are older, inefficient devices. Changing out one old dirty, inefficient wood stove is equivalent to taking five old diesel trucks off the road.

Cleaner heating devices like EPA-certified wood burning stoves burn more efficiently than older models. This means that much less creosote builds up in your chimney. EPA-certified stoves also emit 60 to 80 percent less smoke up your chimney, reducing air pollution.

Alternatives to Traditional Fireplaces

Alternative Advantages Disadvantages Estimated Cost (without installation)
Natural Gas/ Propane Stove or Insert
  • Low indoor and outdoor emissions compared to wood stove/fireplace
  • Instant on/off control
  • Safe (no sparks or creosote buildup)
  • Ambience of wood burning fireplace
  • Can be used on Air Quality Action Days
  • Can be used during power outages
  • Cost of installation (+$700-$2,000)
EPA-Certified Wood Stove
(freestanding & inserts)
  • Low particulate and carbon monoxide emissions
  • Produces more heat (15-50% more) than older stoves
  • More complete combustion (with catalytic burner)
  • Catalytic burners must be replaced every 3–6 years

Non-catalytic wood stoves produce more emissions and burn more wood than catalytic stoves

$1,500-$4,000 (catalytic burner)

$2,200-$4,200 (non-catalytic)

Pellet Stove
  • Among the cleanest burning (low indoor and outdoor emissions)
  • Pellets use less energy than wood and increase heat output
  • More efficient than wood
  • Infrequent refueling required
  • Pellets made from waste-wood
  • Can be used on Air Quality Action Days
  • Pellets must be purchased
  • Motor and fan require power

 Related Links


Air Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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