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Gas Insert: Would I be Saving Money

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by tarheel, Nov 13, 2007.

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  1. tarheel

    tarheel New Member

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    If I already have natural gas heat, would I save money by using a direct vent gas insert?
    When I go to stores to ask this question, I don't really get a straight answer; guess they are all interested in just selling the gas insert.
    But if you already have natural gas heat, is the direct vent gas insert more efficient than a natural gas furnace?

    Also, I noticed that the Mendota D-40 has a BTU range from 6500 - 40000 BTU's. Isn't it better to get an insert that has a wide range like this? The room where the insert would be is about 16X20. Mendota is the only one I have found so far that has this wide of a BTU range.

    Thanks for any comments.

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  2. JohnnyBravo

    JohnnyBravo New Member

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    it all depends on your furnace. if its an old school gas hog then probably. also if you want to heat just a small area and let the rest of the house run a lot cooler than again probably. depending on price i think the money may be better spent upgrading the current furnace to a ueber high eficiency one. if you want to see the fire thats a whole nother thing. not sure about the btu range, i would assume that the fire burns the same amount of fuel all the time and just sends the unused heat up the vent. i think that gas fireplaces are more of a fasion statement, and are not designed with efficencey as a top priority. but what do i know.
  3. kalevi

    kalevi Member

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    Wood appears to be the cheapest way to heat.
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Here are some pro and con to consider Like all area heaters there is little lost to transmission ie pipes and ductwork. Even the most efficient burner is limited by transmission loses.

    One has to address the transmission losses to really start receiving real improvements.

    Not everybody want to deal with wood coal/ or pellets. A gas insert provide heat and visual fire appeal plus heat

    there are two categories one being decorative not tested to an efficiency rating usually 50% of heat is lost out the vent.

    the second type is call high efficiency where the efficiency is epa approved and tested/. If paying for the gas and wanting some efficiency for your $$$, then this is the stove category you should be targeting, many have mid 80's efficiency ratings Do not fall for the tested to EPA efficiency Get a stove that has passed and been certified.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    JB has it correct. Describe the existing furnace and ductwork. How efficient? Is the ductwork insulated? Does it run through an uninsulated space? How long are the duct runs?

    If the gas furnace and heating system have all the deficits mentioned, then an area heater, with good efficiency, will probably save money as long as it is run at a reasonable temp and not trying to heat the house to 75. If you want it hot and cheaper, then consider wood.
  6. tarheel

    tarheel New Member

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    My furnace is pretty new..only 4 years old. I'm not sure of its efficiency rating, but I will check.
    The duct work is insulated.
    It is located in my basement which is not insulated.
    Length of run is about 15 feet.
  7. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    If you can allow your house to go cold(er) while you enjoy your gas, (or wood/pellet/coal) FP, then yes you will save gas. My tip, from personal experience, is to put an electric blanket on your bed to preheat it every winter night. This makes it easy to go from the warm family room to the cold bedroom. We have saved significant fuel with this method, and the wife doesn't complain any more.
  8. tarheel

    tarheel New Member

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    Thanks gradpajohn. Yes, I could do that. Thanks for the suggestion. Do you have a Quadrafire 4100i? That's a woodburning insert, right? Have you ever used a gas insert?
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest


    assume nothing insultion around your duct work should be r5.0 or greater asme with the flexible runs. There is tremendous leakage in duct work in joints collars and elbows.
    usnell the installer duct masticed every joint the insulation will not satisfy leak prevention
  10. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    No, but I have fooled with other's, and they do produce heat, usually quickly and easily. Thus it is easier to come home to a cold house. This would not work for some people. You know the type. They leave the thermostat on at night, (what's the point of that?!); if they feel cold they click it up a notch. I have used programmable t-stats for about 20 years, and finally decided to record every furnace usage last winter. If you do this, you'll find that many hours of fuel are saved by setting back the temp. Depends on your climate and house size of course.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Minor suggestion - I agree on the electric heat for the bed, but IMHO an electric mattress pad is a far better deal... They use less energy because the heat is going up naturally and getting trapped under the covers (we use a down comforter) the electric blanket is trying to drive the heat down into the bed. Our mattress pad is rated for much lower wattage than the electric blanket I used to own, but feels warmer. Since the matress pad gets less movement, it also seems to last better than the blankets. The pad also leaves you totally free to choose whatever other bedding you like to put on top of it.

    Gooserider
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Just be forewarned that electric mattress pads are not for the incontinent. Sorry BB :)
  13. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    Now that you bring it up...we also use the pad. I mentioned the blanket because I thought folks would be more familiar with it. But also, (and here's the reason to post), we are having trouble finding the pad at a reasonable price, if at all. So, for the guest bed, we got the blanket last month. But, yes, we find the pad to be better. I think ours is 70 watts at max power. I'll have to check the blanket.
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