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For those of us with access to low-cost firewood, it often makes sense to heat our homes with an indoor fireplace. Our property in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula includes a woodlot and, when we built our house, we included a functional wood fireplace in the living room. The builder installed a now discontinued BIS Ultra (Security Chimneys International) EPA-certified residential fireplace, which was rated for up to 60,000 BTU/hr and an 8 hour burn time. Although it does have beneficial impact on our heating costs, in practice, it does not perform up to its rating, presumably because we don't have the same fuel that is used by the test lab. With the silver maple, ash, and elm on our property, we had to reload the fireplace more like every 2-3 hours. Normally, if we could keep the fireplace stoked, we generally had no problems heating the house during the winter. However, heating the house on coldest days was often a challenge because we could not come close to reaching the 60,000 BTU/hr rating of fireplace.

Security Chimneys BIS Ultra


Specification BIS Ultra
Door 25" x 14" (glass area)
Firebox 25"W x 13.5"D x 13"H (nominal)
18"W x 12"D x 12"H (practical)
2.5 ft³ (nominal) / 1.5 ft³ (practical)
18"-19" log
Weight 402 lbs.
Maximum Heat Output Capacity up to 60,000 BTU/hr
up to 8 hrs burn time
EPA Rating 4.8 grams/hr
Furnace Efficiency 75.2%
Note  tapered firebox is 18" wide
at the back