Fireplace Technology: Not Your Grandpa’s Fireplace

Fireplace technology isn’t something Grandpa ever worried about. In the old days, you spent an hour chopping kindling, put it in the fireplace, waited another hour to build a spark into a roaring fire and, if you stood close enough to the ashy maw, you’d get warm – that’s about as technical as it got. But today, homeowners have many technological options to consider when building or upgrading a fireplace; some make the heating system more efficient, some make it safer, and some are just plain cool.


If Grandpa’s fireplace had been more efficient, he wouldn’t have had to haul so many cords of wood into the shed each fall. The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association provides a nifty piece of free technology to help you determine which type of fuel would be most efficient to burn in your fireplace such as pellet, wood, or gas. The fuel efficiency calculator also shows you how much energy you can save by zone heating your home with a fireplace. Instead of constantly using a central unit that heats rooms that aren’t being used, zone heating allows you to focus heat only in the areas that are occupied.


The Vent-Free Gas Products Association reports that since the early 1980s, all vent-free gas product manufacturers in the U.S. have been using Oxygen Detection Safety-pilot technology. The ODS-pilot provides an automatic shut down of the fuel supply if low oxygen levels are detected in the home. This safety feature prevents potentially hazardous levels of gas emissions and is tamper resistant – virtually eliminating one of the biggest safety concerns with gas fireplaces.

Just Plain Cool

Fireplace technology isn’t all safety standards and efficient heating – it’s also got a certain James Bond appeal. Items like a remote control, a remote receiver camouflaged as an ember that hides inside your fireplace, or a sleek wall-mounted fireplace that looks like a window of fire are a few of the fun and futuristic options that Grandpa would never have dreamed of but would probably love.

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