Survey of Hearth Products in U.S. Homes

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There are over 7 million gas-fired fireplaces currently installed in US households. On an annual basis, these use substantial energy. However, the details of the fireplace energy use and the factors that influence it are currently not well understood. Fireplaces are a type of hearth product, which is a product category that primarily consists of fireplaces, stoves, and gas log sets. For the purpose of this study, the fuels used in hearth products are primarily natural gas, propane, or electricity. They may be vented or unvented. This study reports the results of a web survey of 2,100 respondents in the United States performed in February 2016. The responses were cleaned and weighted using the raking method to form a nationally representative population. The reported data include hearth product characteristics, usage information, and repair and maintenance practices. The hearth product characteristics include the hearth product type, fuel type, ignition system type, features, venting, and installation details. The usage information includes seasonal usage of the main burner and standing pilot (if present), daily usage, and the primary utility (whether decorative or for heating). These raw data are further processed and combined with values from the literature to estimate the annual operating hours and energy use and to assess how these are impacted by the hearth product type, features, age, and the main heating appliance, if present. Based on the survey responses, the estimated average annual hours of usage was 234 for the main burner, and 4,593 for the standing pilot. The results presented provide the most comprehensive data regarding hearth products in the United States published to date. These new data allow for an improved understanding of hearth products’ energy use, which in turn may facilitate the development of more informed analyses, and ultimately more efficient hearth products and reduced energy use. These new data also provide insight into topics not previously studied, such as the effect of hearth product features on energy use.

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