I can't believe with as excited as I was about getting it, I forgot to post that I finally have a fireplace that heats the room!
For those of you who have not seen my livingroom we have a fake fireplace. Actually, the correct term for it is an "Artificial Fireplace". That means that we have a mantle and what appears to be a firebox but instead of a chimney and flue it's just bricked up underneath the mantle. In the back of the firebox is an electrical outlet. When houses like ours were built, electricity was still a big deal for the middleclass to get to "show off" in their homes. So instead of real fire places they built homes with electric fireplaces to show the "Joneses" that they had the latest and greatest technology.
Last year we had a rude awakening when we moved to the Midwest and discovered that it is EXPENSIVE to heat an old house. We weren't in a position this year to completely reinsullate the house, so we needed to come up with a way to help reduce those heating costs. Since the living room and dining room are really the main areas in the house we currently spend any amount of time in, we figure if it was good enought 76 years ago, it's good enough now, and went on a hunt for an electric fireplace insert. Weekend before last I found one that fit in to the existing firebox and now we are able to heat just those two rooms. With the nasty rise in gas prices I am hoping that a little help from electric heat will keep us from having to tap into our savings account in order to survive the winter without freezing.
I am thinking that eventually I would like to put up some kind of tilework around the insert to make it appear "built in" but until I figure out a way to do that and still allow it to get cool air to prevent it from over-heating it will just have to stay the way it is. Anyone who has suggestions on how to do that let me know...I'm open to any suggestions.
Is electric cheaper than gas there? Or is your gas heating system so inefficient that you use a whole lot?
I lived in the Midwest for about 6 years in grad school and I never appreciated the costs of heating a house. I think I lived in places where gas was included in the cost of rent. It's unbelievable what people pay. But then again, it takes a lot of BTUs to keep a place warm in places where you walk outside and end up with ice crystals in your nose.
I don't really know if gas is more or less expensive here. I just know that when the furnace was repaced by the previous owners they only purchased a mid-efficency unit. That coupled with 76 year old insulation and windows that the glass flexed out of the panes on made for an expensive heat year last winter. In Texas (where we moved from) I could run my gas fireplace all day, every day during winter months and the highest my bill ever got to was around $90 even in months the temps were below freezing and we had ice storms. I am hoping that being able to keep the furnace set around 65 or lower and using electric heat to warm the two rooms we use the most will help keep my energy bills a bit more under control come January and February.