I'm trying to heat my house smartly saving gas wherever I can. I've posted a few ideas, ideally far in the future I'd like to switch to heat pumps. But today I'm trying to think what the best thing I can do is.

The house is about 3200 sq feet above grade, with two well installed adequately sized Comfortmaker furnaces, about 2 years old and near the bottom of the "EnergyGuide" scale on the tags when they were installed. Both furnaces, the one in the attic and the one in the basement each have a programmable thermostat and I use it to regulate temps. Something like 66 when we're home, 58 when we're out of the house at work and 62 at night when sleeping.

In the main level there is a family room with a gas fireplace and a ceiling fan that is open to the kitchen. This furnace also heats the rarely used front rooms in the house (dining and living room) and the not very often used finished basement. I'm thinking of setting the thermostat on the main level lower, like 63, when we're home, and using the gas fireplace and ceiling fan (on low in reverse) to heat the main living area only as we need it.

The gas fireplace is a Heat & Glo 6000TR-OAK installed rear vented with the optional fan kit. According to the Heat & Glo brochure the 6000TR-OAK is Canada rated at 68% efficient (without the blower?) and is "heater rated". (I've read that rear venting is more efficient than top vented - is this true?)

I'm thinking that this strategy may allow us multiple advantages. One is we can be more comfortable in the main level. Another is we can possibly use less gas because we aren't heating the whole basement and first level of the house.

Am I crazy or might this be a smart idea?

Ideally it would be nice to control the fireplace with a thermostat.

[Edited by philbiker on 11-30-2005 at 10:30 AM]