Heating, Ventilating and Cooling Equipment

Gas Fireplace EnerGuide Efficiency Ratings – Frequently Asked Questions

This requirement affects all stoves, inserts and fireplace models sold in Canada. It does not apply to gas logs, which, as we know, are by design not very efficient. As an appliance retailer or salesperson, you need to understand these changes and communicate them effectively to your customers.

Why does the Government of Canada require that residential gas fireplaces and stoves be tested for energy efficiency?

  • To provide consumers with independent, reliable information on gas fireplace efficiency in manufacturers' literature
  • To allow consumers to compare the performance of different makes and models
  • To encourage consumers to opt for more efficient gas appliances
  • To determine the range of energy efficiencies available in the marketplace

To allow this sector to contribute to Canada's overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

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Why has Canada developed its own fireplace efficiency rating?

Different methods have been used to measure the efficiency of gas fireplaces. Steady state (SS) and annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings are based on test methods originally created for wall heaters, space heaters and furnaces. The energy efficiency numbers generated by these test methods did not reflect the actual energy performance of gas fireplaces.

Working with industry, the Government of Canada set out to develop a new test method for gas fireplaces. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) P.4.1-02 test method, introduced in 2003, was developed as a consensus standard (keep in mind, there is no such thing as a perfect standard). It mainly provides an "apples-to-apples" comparison when appliances are operated in a realistic mode using a standardized test methodology. The CSA P.4.1-02 test method generates an FE rating, expressed as a percent efficiency – the higher the number, the more energy efficient the product.

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Where's the energy efficiency rating? Energy efficiency ratings are listed in the manufacturer's product brochure.

Why do some product brochures show multiple energy efficiency ratings for the same equipment?

The multiple energy efficiency ratings reflect the numbers derived using the different test methods. Manufacturers publish these ratings, such as the AFUE or SS, in their brochures and distribute their gas fireplace products and brochures across North America. The only ratings recognized in Canada are those generated by CSA P.4.1-02.

Where should I look for a unit's FE rating ?

For fireplaces, the FE rating appears on a special EnerGuide label printed in the manufacturer's product literature. Different models might be shown in a separate chart, which may also list other energy efficiency ratings.

EnerGuide Label for Gas Fireplaces

Image: Gas Fireplace Rating

Sample Labels

This label appears in product literature that describes a single model of fireplace. Notice that the EnerGuide FE rating is printed right on the label.

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How are retailers and salespeople affected by these changes?

Salespeople need to be aware that the EnerGuide FE rating is the only fireplace efficiency rating recognized by the Government of Canada and is supported by the Canadian hearth industry.

Sales people should be aware of the difference between the EnerGuide FE rating and other efficiency ratings applied to fireplaces and should be prepared to explain that difference to their customers. They should also be able to explain why the EnerGuide FE rating is a better measure of fireplace efficiency and to list the advantages of the new rating for consumers.

So, what is the difference between the EnerGuide FE rating and those other ratings?

The SS rating reported in manufacturers' literature is the efficiency a fireplace can achieve were it placed in the middle of a room, radiating heat from all its surfaces, running continuously and suffering no energy losses.

The AFUE rating averages out a unit's efficiency over an entire heating season, selectively taking into account some energy losses but ignoring others.

The EnerGuide FE rating reports a fireplace's true energy efficiency by taking into account all its energy losses and by considering its overall performance during an entire heating season, not just on the day of testing.

Why is the EnerGuide FE rating lower than the SS or AFUE ratings?

All fireplaces are subject to some energy losses. Some of the heat escapes up the chimney (stack losses), and some is lost to the house from the appliance's hidden surfaces (casing losses). A pilot light running continuously can account for a significant portion of a fireplace's annual fuel consumption, all the while producing little useful heat. Because P.4 test methodology is based on how fireplaces are typically used in the home, the EnerGuide FE rating for a particular make and model of fireplace will often be lower than the SS or AFUE ratings. The FE rating is a reliable measurement of fireplace efficiency based on how it operates in a Canadian home.

Rating the Ratings
  SS AFUE EnerGuide FE
Applies to all fireplaces sold in Canada     Image: Black Check Mark
Testing is required by Canadian law     Image: Black Check Mark
Recognized by the Government of Canada     Image: Black Check Mark
Uses a test standard designed for fireplaces     Image: Black Check Mark
Testing simulates typical conditions of use   Image: Black Check Mark Image: Black Check Mark
Testing takes into account all energy losses     Image: Black Check Mark
Test results are subject to independent verification   Image: Black Check Mark Image: Black Check Mark

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How does the EnerGuide FE rating benefit Canadians?

  • Retailers benefit because the EnerGuide FE rating creates a level playing field for all products, based on a recognized national standard.
  • The hearth industry benefits because FE test results reflect the state of fireplace technology today and will serve to encourage technological innovation, resulting over time in meaningful increases in the EnerGuide FE rating.
  • Consumers benefit because the EnerGuide FE rating lets buyers easily and reliably compare the energy efficiency of different makes and/or models of fireplaces.
  • Canadians benefit because, by helping buyers choose the most energy-efficient equipment, the EnerGuide FE rating acts to reduce energy demand, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and helping to protect our environment.

List of models: Gas fireplaces