Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keeping warm: Gas vs. Logs

This year, we seem to have experienced such a long, cold, and agonizing winter.  The weather seems to be warming up a little bit now, but who knows if we have another winter storm ahead of us.  After all, spring is still 5 weeks away.  With so many days at or below freezing, my utility bills have skyrocketed and I wondered about the environmental impacts of the ways people heat their homes.

Do you have a fireplace in your home?  Do you ever wonder if the natural gas logs are better for the environment than the traditional wood-burning stoves?  Are there any alternatives to either choice?

Here are the environmental advantages of having a gas fireplace to heat your home:

  • No wood means no trees to cut down 
  • It can save 25% on your energy bill
  • There are no fumes or particles that are being released into the air, no pollution
  • Some models have a blower that circulates the heat into the rest of the home (and if you don't have a blower you could use a ceiling fan switched to turn the opposite way you do in the summer)
  • If you lower the thermostat while the fireplace is on, it increases more energy efficiency (and lower bills)
Here are the environmental advantages of having a woodburning fireplaces:
  • You can use reclaimed or waste wood to burn; wood that would be taken to the landfill
  • They're cheaper to run than conventional heating systems
  • Reduces your dependency on electricity and natural gas
  • Wood is a renewable resource

And here is alternative source of materials to burn in a woodburning fireplace:
Terracycle, an organization that is based around making products out of trash, has a wonderful product called "eco-friendly fire logs".

  • It burns cleaner than the alternatives and gets rid of some of the waste from the landfill.
  • They also offer a fire starter product  that is made for woodburning stoves and charcoal grills.  
Another way to stay warm this winter and paying a little less on your energy bills is by lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees (65 at night).  And an even better way to do this is to get a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature to be lower when you're sleeping and when you're out of the house for long periods of time (like when you're at work).  These are just a few ways to help your wallet survive this winter.  Remember, only 5 weeks to go.   :)


  1. LOVE our gas fireplace! We use it all the time here on the Chicago tundra. And love your take on eco-friendliness...practical, not guilt-inducing. :)

    I'm stopping by to introduce myself. I'm Sue, aka Wonder Twin Mama from Southern Momentum. I thought it would behoove me to acquaint myself with my fellow contributors. I'll be back for sure!

  2. Thanks, Sue! Hope you're staying warm in Chicago-land. You've had a particularly brutal winter up there. Thanks for checking out my site. I've just looked at yours and am SO relieved to hear you're just as addicted to thin mints as I am. :)
    I've just added you to my bookmarks.