The weather outside is frightful, but your fireplace might be making your energy bills less than delightful. Although a crackling fire is nice to cozy up to, a wood-burning fireplace actually sends most of its heat up the chimney (80%-90%). It can also suck warm air from throughout your home while sending harmful pollutants into the air. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your fireplace’s efficiency while keeping your energy bills in check.
Optimize Your Fireplace
You don’t have to give up on your fireplace in order to keep your energy bills down. Instead, try some of these energy-saving accessories to help reduce heat loss when you’re not using the fireplace and maximize heat output when you’ve got a fire roaring.
- Seal it Up. When your fireplace is not in use, the damper is supposed to prevent air from escaping through the chimney. These can become warped and inefficient over time, therefore a removable flue sealer can help you get a more airtight seal.
- Doors and Covers. Permanent glass doors can help reduce the amount of warm air sucked from the home and sent up the chimney while a fire is burning. Removable covers help keep the opening closed up tightly while the fireplace is not in use.
- Maximize Output. A heat exchanger can help to circulate warm air from the fireplace into the room and reduce the amount of heat that is sent straight up the chimney.
A safe fireplace is an efficient fireplace, so be sure to have your chimney cleaned and checked every year by a certified chimney sweep. A professional energy inspection will ensure that all the fireplace components are functioning properly to maximize efficiency while ensuring safe operation throughout the cold season.
A Face-lift for your Fireplace
Even the most efficient fireplace still has some serious energy-efficiency problems. Glass doors might reduce heat loss, but they also reduce the amount of heat your fireplace brings to the room. Heat exchangers are helpful, but they can be expensive to install and require annual maintenance for safe, effective operation.
An electric or gas fireplace insert can give you the charm and ambiance of a traditional fireplace while still providing warmth, all with a comparably tiny carbon footprint. Modern electric inserts have realistic looking flames without any actual combustion taking place. This means much less pollution and a completely sealed chimney for virtually no heat loss.
Beauty and Brains
If you find that you’re not using your fireplace at all, but you still enjoy it as a decorative element for your home, consider having the flue plugged and sealed to stop heat loss. A cozy fireplace will always be a beautiful, nostalgic element in any American home. With a few smart moves, you can enjoy your fireplace without having to pay the price.