Residential SW Washington

Tech tip: Gas fireplace efficiency

Direct-vent gas fireplaces must have a fireplace efficiency rating, FE, of at least 70 percent to qualify for an Energy Trust incentive. The FE rating is based on the Canadian Standards Association test standard P.4.1-02, which was developed to provide an efficiency guide specifically for gas fireplaces.

While annual fuel utilization efficiency, AFUE, is the efficiency standard most commonly used to rate gas heating appliances in the U.S., it does not take into account all energy losses uniquely associated with gas fireplaces. The FE rating is valuable because it takes all energy losses into consideration when determining overall performance of an entire heating season. Features that affect FE ratings include intermittent ignition versus continuous pilot lights, venting methods, variable setting controls and thermostats, and heat exchange and transfer methods.

When helping customers choose an appropriate gas fireplace, consider recommending a high-efficiency direct-vent model that qualifies for an Energy Trust cash incentive. Eligible Tier 1 gas fireplaces with an FE of 70-74.9 percent qualify for a $250 incentive and Tier 2 models with an FE of 75 percent or more qualify for a $350 incentive. Download a list of qualifying models here.