One of the cooler products on display at IBS 2011 was a fireplace product from a company called Earth's Flame that combines a gas-enhanced combustion system for easy fire starting with a unique emissions-reducing grate that pulls its own double-duty of capturing combustible gasses before they can escape through the chimney and increasing radiant heat.
With over 38 million wood-burning fireplaces in the States, a product like this that claims to reduce fireplace emissions up to 78% can really make a difference if adopted on a large scale.
Frankly, I'm intrigued. I grew up in a house that relied on wood as a primary source of heat. I understand first-hand the frustrations that can come with starting a fire. Wet wood, lack of kindling or paper and poor planning can make for an arduous process. I've never tried a gas log lighter, and quite frankly I'm not so sure I could use one regularly without some measure of guilt. The starting of a fire is part of the rustic charm. The heat and crackle are greater rewards for the effort put in. Is a gas log lighter cheating?
The truth is, however, it is the starting of a fire that contributes pretty heavily to the overall emissions. Using gas instead of paper and kindling is more efficient and better for the environment. That technology, coupled with Earth Flame's special overhead grate make for a clean burn.
The product retails for $700, which was a little less than I thought it would cost.
It's worth checking out their website to see how their product works. It's a great design, too.
Would I buy one? I'd really have to see it in action and feel the increased radiant heat effect before forking over $700. My gut tells me the overhead grate will just kick smoke into the room. I'd have to see to believe, I guess.