Traditional wood burning is the original technology of fireplaces. It uses a passive draw system to remove combustion from the home.  Tempered air, from inside the home is used to supply the fire with oxygen. The heat of the fire rises through the vertical flue and creates a lift similar to hot air rising in the atmosphere. This pulls the various particles of combustion, through the flue system and out of the home.  Manufactured, modern wood burning fireplaces utilize a metal double-wall, air-cooled flue system. 

Efficient, free standing wood burning fireplaces and inserts have increased in popularity in recent years due to technological advancements in this product, along with increase in consumer demand for a efficient secondary source of heat. 

There are two elements that increase efficiency of modern wood burning fireplaces:
1) When the majority of the combustion air is pulled from outside the house. 
2) Ability to Control the combustion air flow in order to extend the burn time of the wood.


The high efficiency wood burning stove, insert and fireplace technology continues to go through a major change.  In 2015, an EPA regulation went into effect that cut emissions on high efficiency wood burning product down to 5 grams per hour. Effective May 15, 2020 the EPA continues to reduce the emission standards of this product to 2 grams per hour.  This new regulation prohibits retailers from selling any product that does not meet the new standards after May 15, 2020.  Although, owning a non-compliant product will not be effected by this new regulation, Godby Hearth & Home will be selling only 2020 compliant products by October 2019.


The two general approaches to meeting the EPA smoke emission limits are non-catalytic and catalytic combustion. Both approaches have proved effective, but there are performance differences.

Non-catalytic products do not use a catalyst, but have three internal characteristics that create a good environment for complete combustion. These are firebox insulation, a large baffle to produce a longer, hotter gas flow path, and pre-heated combustion air introduced through small holes above the fuel in the firebox. The baffle and some other internal parts of a non-catalytic stove will need replacement from time to time.

In catalytic combustion, the smoky exhaust is passed through a coated ceramic honeycomb inside the products where the smoke gases and particles ignite and burn. All catalytic products have a lever-operated catalyst bypass damper which is opened for starting and reloading. The catalytic honeycomb degrades over time and must be replaced, but its durability is largely determined by the operator. The catalyst can last more than six seasons if the stove is used properly; but if the stove is over-fired by using inappropriate fuel, or if regular cleaning and maintenance is not done, the catalyst may break down in as little as 2 years. Garbage or treated lumber should never be burned in a wood stove, insert or fireplace.

High efficiency wood burning fireplaces traditionally utilize "Class A" insulated piping or a double-walled, air-cooled flue system. In recent years, some manufacturers have received approval for use of double-walled, air-cooled flue system in high efficiency wood burning product.

Are you interested in learning more about how we can enhance your living space? Stop by one of our two locations, call us at (317) 271-8400 or request a quote!