How Do I Position My Fireplace or Woodstove?

Heat is central to our lifestyles

When choosing the location of your fireplace or woodstove (also called siting) it is important to take into account the layout of your house and your lifestyle – if your house is an open plan type, then it will be easier to heat your home with a woodstove or fireplace, simply by locating the heating unit in a central area on the main floor of your home. However, if your home is compartmentalized, as is more traditional in North American buildings, you will need to ask yourself more questions. You will need to figure out where you actually spend the most time, because you'll want your woodstove or fireplace to be the centerpiece of a room. Since woodstoves and fireplaces are rarely sufficient to heat the whole house, you will want to site them such that you can take advantage of their heat as much as possible. This allows you to take advantage of a technique called "spot heating". If you are cozy and warm in a room with a woodstove, you can heat only that room, allowing the rest of the house to remain at a much lower temperature. By using this technique, you can dramatically reduce your energy use without sacrificing your way of life – which translates into big savings on your fuel bill at the end of the month without having to spend all of your time in a sweater or blanket.

There are other reasons to site your wood stove or fireplace in a central, high-traffic location as well – such as aesthetics. If you are spending $1,000 or more on a fireplace or woodstove, you likely want visitors to see it, to appreciate its warmth and beauty, and you yourself will want to be around it to see the dancing flames and enjoy the warmth of a wood or gas fireplace. Wherever you decide to place your new heating system, be sure to face it towards the area of the room where you are most likely to be sitting or standing, as this allows you to take advantage of the radiant heat from the fireplace or stove as well as the convective heat (warmed air) blown around by fans or blowers.

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