All gas fireplaces sold in Canada are required to be listed with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). These listings include details about each model, relevant when choosing the right model for you; including efficiency and ignition type.
Since September 2003, manufacturers who sell gas fireplaces in Canada have been required by federal regulations to test and verify the energy efficiency of their models. The Canadian test standard, CSA P.4.1. is used to generate a Fireplace Efficiency (FE) rating, expressed as a percent efficiency. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the product.
This requirement affects all Natural gas and propane Freestanding stoves, Inserts and Zero Clearance fireplace models sold in Canada. Gas logs are designed solely for aesthetic purposes and are not tested for efficiency.
The FE number is shown as a percentage. Simply put it is the comparison of two pieces of information, the input value of the gas versus the usable heat output to the home.
Examples of this calculation
Fireplace #1 may have a gas input of 30,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) and a useful heat output of 20,000 BTUs which would produce an efficiency of 66.6% .
Fireplace # 2 could have a gas input of 40,000 BTUs and also have a useful heat output of 20,000 BTUs which would produce an efficiency of 50%.
The CSA P.4.1 is a sophisticated test to determine the usable heat output of a gas fireplace. However the choice to purchase a gas fireplace is rarely related to efficiency alone. To make the best selection is it always a good idea to consult with a specialty hearth retailer to assist with balancing aesthetics and heat output, to find the right size and model for your home.
Looking to Buy
When choosing a fireplace to suit your home and your needs, there are several factors to consider. Questions such as how and when you plan to use your fireplace will ensure you find the right model for your home. We’ve assembled some tools and information to assist you with your selection.