Global Warming Starts At Home — Let’s All Pitch In

January 19, 2011 | By | Comments (19)


Well, the weather outside is frightful

But inside, it’s so delightful

So since we’ve no place to go

Let’s all help global warming grow!

What were the essential features you looked for the last time you bought a house? Let’s see if Grumpy can pick out the biggies.

1. Big kitchen with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a brass monkey.

2. Walk-in closets big enough to park your bass boat and mother-in-law.

3. At least twice the number of bathrooms that any group of guests could possibly occupy during any 10-minute period.

4. A 4-car garage to accommodate your Beemer, Jag, Suburban, and Volt.

5. Last, but not least, a fireplace. Or maybe three.

Of these, the least useful in today’s world is clearly the fireplace. In the beginning, an in-house firepit had a very practical purpose — to provide heat and a place to cook. (And, inevitably, an easy way to burn down the house while you slept.) But the last time I checked, few people keep the fires burning in a wigwam, tepee, or even a log cabin anymore. People heat with a furnace and cook on a gas or electric stove. Most days, a fireplace is just wasted space.

Even when you do use it, a fireplace is usually counterproductive. It shoots all its heat straight up the chimney, not into the room. What escapes with it (if you’re lucky)? Smoke. Smoke from firewood carries carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon soot into our pristine air, increasing your carbon footprint. Every time you burn a fire, not only are you killing a tree that gave its wood for you, you’re also increasing global warming and killing our planet! I urge you to look into alternative like the SmartlyHeated brand or the Warm-Mother Co. , electric heaters and fireplaces have come a long way!

How does it feel to be an eco-terrorist?

Grumpy’s Gassy Response

I don’t burn wood, paper, or anything else that’s solid in my fireplace. I use unvented gas logs that burn natural gas so cleanly the fireplace doesn’t even need a chimney. Because of this, all of the heat produced goes out into the room with no smoke. Yes, a small bit of CO2 results, but only a little. The main byproduct of burning natural gas is water vapor.

Why People Want Fireplaces

There are three reasons people want fireplaces. The first is to supply emergency heat if the power goes out in winter. Gas logs do a great job of that. (Just be sure you have a plumber install them, so you don’t blow up the place.)

The second is that people think if their house doesn’t have a wood-burning fireplace, no one will want to buy it. I’ll take that risk. I view my house as my residence, not something to be sold to fund my retirement. Hey, if I sell it, I still have to live somewhere, don’t I? Like in another house? One that doesn’t have a brass monkey in the kitchen?

The third is to set a romantic mood with which to seduce your mate. Grumpy finds this ridiculous. You don’t need a roaring fire in a fireplace to preheat the object of your desire. A bottle of red wine plus Barry White will warm her up quite nicely.


  1. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Thank you. Grumpy is a global phenomenon!

    November 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm
  2. moncler jackets switzerland

    I follow you VIA GFC and I love your blog!

    November 9, 2011 at 9:36 am
  3. Thomas

    Unvented gas logs are the way to go for me too.

    February 21, 2011 at 5:26 am
  4. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Eva, I hope you will send me a photo of the first plant that dies from lack of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Unless the Earth turns into a giant lump of coal, this isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    February 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm
  5. Eva B

    Excuse me, Grumpy, but can we go back to elementary school natural science class for just a minute?
    Q: What do plants breathe? A: CO2
    Q: What happens to plants when there is a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere? A: Plants grow faster and produce more O2 balancing out the atmosphere.
    Q: What happens if you remove CO2 from the atmosphere?
    A: Plants suffocate and die.

    February 14, 2011 at 9:00 am
  6. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Personally, I hang stockings all over the house to increase my take. Works like a charm.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm
  7. Diane Krajcik

    Silly Steve…we have fireplaces so Santa can bring us gifts. And where would we hang stockings without a mantel?

    February 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm
  8. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Good to hear from the frozen north, Bill. After this next big storm hits, we might not do so again. Grumpy does not rail against wood-burning stoves, because they are generally much more efficient than fireplaces.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm
  9. Bill

    Living on a farm in North Central Ohio (think Lake Erie), we supplement our main heating (fuel oil) with wood. We use both a wood stove and a fireplace–the fireplace is mainly for the weekend. The old part of the house (1840’s) Which still has the original wood siding, plaster walls, and original windows (they call it character)–therefore no insulation, the fireplace makes the living room comfortable to be in. Plus that glass of wine is much more peaceful by the fireplace. We have a neighbor who works for a road company and get our wood from him.

    January 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm
  10. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Logs are plants — dead ones.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm
  11. esh

    Hey it’s the South – can we talk about plants again?

    January 23, 2011 at 9:16 am
  12. Henry H.

    FYI, There is a couple of nuclear fireplaces on Ebay and Amazon if anyone needs one………

    January 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm
  13. Joseph Tychonievich

    I agree that natural gas wins out over wood when it comes to a lot of other pollutants (though that depends on the how you burn the wood. Good wood stoves burn very clean) and certainly unsustainably harvested wood is not a good. But when it comes to the specific issue of CO2 and global warming, wood beats gas. Trees can be replanted. Natural gas can’t be put back under ground.
    That isn’t to say either is a good solution — I’m with you, that what we need is more nuclear, wind, and solar.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm
  14. Dust Control

    My Last place of residence had 2 fireplaces that got used a total of 2 times during holiday parties. Pointless.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm
  15. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    I see your point. If I took a log and left it on the ground to rot or get eaten by termites, all its carbon would be released anyway. In fact, termites are among the top sources for CO2 in the atmosphere. However — people who sell firewood do not generally cut dead trees lying on the ground. Instead, they cut live trees that are busy absorbing CO2, let the wood dry, and sell it. And I doubt if a new tree is then planted. If you think of all of the third-world countries where the land has been denuded because people cut down all the trees for firewood, I think you’ll agree that burning wood worldwide is not carbon neutral. And what about all the soot wood fires put into the air (including, may I add, certain carcinogens)? Would you really want to live in a neighborhood smothered in a blanket of smoke all winter? Until every home is powered by solar, wind, or nukes, I’ll take natural gas.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:29 am
  16. TC

    Well Steve, what’s your reply to Mr. Tychonievich? He seems to know what he’s talkin about. Do you really have “it completely backwards?”

    January 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm
  17. Henry H.

    Interesting concept Joe!!!!
    I just see em as one more place for water, pests, cold air, etc., etc. to come inside the house.
    Might I add that is the SWEETEST PAINT JOB EVER!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm
  18. Agnes

    I agree with all your points but now a days we have eco friendly fire pit in the market so atleast we can use this to reduce a bit of global warming.

    January 20, 2011 at 4:28 am
  19. Joseph Tychonievich

    Um… you got it completely backwards. Wood is a carbon neutral fuel source because all the carbon you release by burning it was taken OUT of the atmosphere by the tree in the first place. If everyone still heated their house with wood, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would stay the same. In fact, just as much carbon would be released by that same wood if it just rotted naturally in the woodland.
    Fossil fuels, like natural gas, on the other hand, are forms of carbon that have been locked underground for millennia and wouldn’t ever have gotten into the atmosphere if you didn’t burn it. Once you do, that carbon is out there, and stays there, warming the earth, unless we can figure out some way to get it back out of the air again.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm

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