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“Best Buy” Fireplace
Jim Ruen, La Crescent, Minn.: “Our fireplace is nice to look at and a super efficient heater. With 60 acres of woods, we knew we wanted to use wood for supplemental heat when we built our house. We also wanted a fireplace that could be viewed through glass doors or with the doors open.
  “Our Opal 2 Catalytic fireplace from RSF Fireplaces gave us all of the above (www.rsf-fireplaces.com). Built in Quebec by people who understand cold weather and heating with wood, it is super efficient. It pumps out the heat and provides beautiful views with its near full width glass doors. The catalytic converter burns up particles in the smoke and creosote-forming wood gas. That’s good for the chimney and for efficiency.
  “We added the optional internal blower and central heat blower kit. The internal blower pushes air through the firebox jacket and into the room.
  “We also added a central heat blower kit to push heat from the firebox jacket into the whole house ductwork. Last year we hardly used it.
  “The internal blower pushes heat into the main room. Natural convection moved it up the stairs to the upper level. Meanwhile the main level stayed toasty warm.
  “Because my wife and I like cooler temperatures for sleeping, we let the fire die out in the evening. The propane-fueled furnace often kicks in before I get up and start the day’s fire, generally from the previous night’s coals.
  “Once the fireplace starts putting out heat, the furnace shuts down. Last winter we had days when it was below zero where the furnace burned just 1/2 gal. of propane all day.
  “We used about 1,000 gal. of propane in an average winter at our previous 20-year old home. Last winter we burned less than 300 gal. in our new place, and that included days and nights when we were gone and propane was the only fuel used.”

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #6