Among the alternative heating systems to the boiler is the thermo fireplace, which allows you to heat rooms and produce domestic hot water. It can work with both wood and pellets and the new versions also offer excellent aesthetic solutions. Let's analyse the advantages and disadvantages of this type of heating system.
What is the difference between a fireplace and a thermo fireplace?
To understand how a thermo fireplace works, we can start by emphasising the differences between them and the more traditional fireplaces, with their hearths. It is the space in which combustion takes place and which connects to the flue and chimney pot.
The way a fireplace works is very simple. The constant air flow in the hearth allows the wood to burn and the smoke goes through the flue and the chimney. The environment near the structure is then heated.
The thermo fireplace, on the other hand, manages to recover the heat generated by combustion. This is made possible by its composition.
- A tempered glass isolates the flame from the outside.
- The combustion chamber has a cavity which contains water which is heated by combustion.
- The heated water is used to heat the radiators and produce domestic hot water.
It is the technologically advanced and avant-garde version of the classic fireplace.
Depending on the type of power supply, you can opt for:
- wood-burning fireplace;
- pellet fireplace;
- hybrid fueled fireplace with the alternating use of wood and pellets.
The heat propagation may also differ:
- by air, the heat is distributed through vents;
- by water, it works in a very similar way to a boiler, heating the rooms by passing the water through the radiators.
How much can you save with a fireplace stove?
Evaluating the actual economic impact of this kind of heating system is not easy. Estimates indicate energy savings ranging from 30% to 50%, but some factors must be taken into consideration.
Among these we find the consumption of wood or pellets which depends on:
- the heating power of the fireplace stove;
- the performance of the fuel used;
- the characteristics of the building to be heated such as, for example, its thermal insulation.
In the last period the price of wood has recorded a considerable increase before a greater demand. To keep costs down, you can rely on low-cost wood which, however, does not often coincide with quality wood.
It is hardwoods that perform most during combustion with their higher calorific value. A better performance corresponds to a higher price.
As for pellets, the cost of this raw material has also fluctuated upwards.
We also consider that a thermo fireplace with air heat propagation does not produce domestic hot water. Its installation can generate savings for space heating, but requires the presence of a boiler which compensates for the absence of the first.
How much does a good fireplace cost?
A thermo fireplace guarantees an aesthetic impact. It creates a feeling of comfort and intimacy that spreads throughout the environment in which it is inserted. It recalls the romance and atmosphere of traditional fireplaces, but is much easier to clean.
The tempered glass that delimits the external part prevents dust and ash from dispersing. The fact that the hearth is structurally separated from everything around it reduces the risks deriving from the spread of fire and smoke.
Even the maintenance of the combustion chamber and the flue is not complex, except for unforeseen events.
On the other hand, the initial investment can be substantial. Wood-burning fireplaces have a cost ranging from £1,000 to £3,000.
In addition, thermo fireplaces with water heat propagation have a special tank. It has a cylindrical shape, is lined with insulating material, and it is large. Therefore, the necessary space is needed for a correct application.
How is the thermo fireplace connected to the radiators?
To connect a thermo fireplace to the heating system, two pipes are needed:
- the delivery one, which sends the water to the system;
- the return one, which requires a pump that activates the ventilation.
However, the operation also includes the installation of insulated tanks for the hot water of the booster pumps, as well as shut-off valves and minimum and maximum thermostats for a correct temperature regulation.
It is therefore not such a simple procedure, also considering that the closed fireplace requires an independent heating system: this means that if the home already has a system, it cannot be used for the closed fireplace.