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4 Tips for Fireplace Efficiency
“All the stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.”
It’s that time of year when Santa will be checking his list to find out who’s naughty or nice.
The fireplace has long been the favorite spot to gather in the American home… a showcase for social gatherings. A place for warmth…warm bodies, warm hearts and warm memories. The fireplace adds ambiance, sparking memories that will long be treasured. The fire is mesmerizing and relaxing, and mantels are very popular in boasting family memories. Fireplaces hold a value that goes beyond their originally intended function and the apparent flaws in their structure. It goes deeper than that–fireplaces represent all the securities and comforts of home! However, with all the benefits that a fireplace can bring, there are some major downsides that can cause a love for the fireplace to wane. Possibly stopping Santa from popping in! 🙂
#1 complaint about having a fireplace
The chief negative of having a fireplace has to be its inefficiency. When there is a fire burning, the fireplace does indeed radiate warmth in its general vicinity. It also creates a convection current that can actually pull conditioned air out of the room and up the chimney causing your furnace to work overtime. When the fire is not burning, the fireplace has a damper which is supposed to block inside air from escaping and outside air from invading. The problem is that the damper is usually made of metal (this type of damper technology hasn’t changed in over 100 years!) and has no seal. This means that the damper is incredibly inefficient.
A dirty little secret!
The fireplace that is designed to warm your house is actually doing the opposite and costing you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. Don’t fret – with a little investment of time and money, you can turn that inefficient fireplace into a powerhouse heater that will reduce your energy bills and add even more charm to your existing fireplace.
4 ways for fireplace efficiency
Top Sealing Dampers replace the fireplace throat damper and are installed at the top of the chimney. The top sealing damper has a seal that acts like a storm door keeping the expensive conditioned air inside the house and the outside air – outside. This principle works year round, whether you’re heating or cooling your house. This product can be purchased online and is easily installed by either a homeowner or a handyman.Make sure you get the right size for your fireplace
At the back of your fireplace should be a cast iron plate called a fireback. Its purpose is to protect the back wall from fire damage and it usually features a design that adds to the home’s decor. The fireback improves fireplace efficiency by absorbing the heat from the fire and radiating the heat back into the room.
You can get these with cool different designs on them or a simple flat black back.
A Fireplace Heater pulls fresh air from the room, circulates it through a chamber that is heated by the fire and then blows the heated air back into the room. These heaters are closed systems so no smoke from the fireplace is invading the home. Depending on which kind you purchase, these heaters can make a significant difference in the temperature of your home, even heating a full room on its own. Kick your cost savings up a notch by installing a fireplace heater with glass doors.
Add beauty and charm with glass doors
Using fireplace glass doors for fireplace efficiency will likely carry the largest investment, but you can reduce some of that cost by doing some of the work yourself. There are a number of fireplace doors that can be purchased online and come with easy to install instructions. The fireplace glass door creates a barrier between the living space and the chimney. This reduces the area that your furnace will have to heat. This alone is a good reason to install these doors, but it’s not the only reason.
Fireplace glass doors offer another level of safety for the home by protecting children and pets from the fire. Purchase a mesh screen that is designed to go with the fireplace glass doors on wood-burning fireplaces. This will allow you to have the doors open while the fire is burning and still have your home protected from sparks and embers. Fireplace glass doors are now being manufactured with modern designs and really add beauty and charm to the fireplace.
Plug up those holes for fireplace efficiency!
If you’re handy, all of these suggestions are easy to accomplish. In addition, all of the products, while difficult to find locally, can easily be purchased online. If you’re concerned about high energy costs but you want to keep your fireplace, then it’s time to plug up the holes in your monthly energy budget by plugging up the holes in your fireplace.
Is your fireplace ready for cozy nights?
Read more energy saving tips
I love sitting in front of a fire on a cold night. Unfortunately, we don’t have one. 🙁
Great tips, thank you!
I miss my fireplace. We have had unusually warm winters so it has not been that bad but when it is cold I find myself lighting candles all over the house! lol
This is a great post! So many people forget the importance of keeping the fireplace maintained! Thank you
I’ll be telling my husband about the top sealing damper. Thanks for sharing!
I would be lost without our fireplace! It helped when our furnace was out of commission too! Makes the holidays more memorable too!
Someday I’ll have a fireplace! Great tips I’ll have to remember for future.
Great post! Always looking for ways to be more efficient!
We love our little fireplace! And I’ve just sent the link to this post to my husband to see if we need to implement any of these things! Thanks for the tips!
This looks so inviting. I would love to have a wood-burning fireplace.
This is a great post for anyone with a fireplace. Thank you for the suggestions. I always like to save money.
We only have wood heat, no central heat. In one room we have a fireplace and another a wood stove. The difference in the heat that they generate is profound. So, eventually, we covered the fireplace with bookshelves from Ikea, and just focus on heating the house from the wood stove. I have never heard of the Fireback. That is a great concept. If we ever move the bookshelves, we will have to by a fireback.
We don’t currently have a fireplace, and we really miss it. So much that we’ve talked about adding one. My husband’s stepdad does masonry work, so we’ve seriously considered it. Just reading this makes me want to start building!
Great info to help better understand fireplace. Thank you for sharing!
I used to have a fireplace and knew nothing about the proper way to maintain it! This is very helpful information to have.
I didn’t know about any of these tips! I’ll definitely share this post with my husband to be sure that he knows. Thanks for sharing
These are some really good tips! The fireplace can actually draw the heat out of the room and make it cooler. Thanks!
We use the fireplace almost everyday in the winter! Thanks for the tips!!
I love sitting in front of a fire in the fireplace. It brings back so many memories from my childhood with my grandparents. We only use our fireplace a couple of times a year usually around the holidays. Thanks for the tips on caring for it!
I miss my fireplace! I wish we had one in the new home. These are great tips to keep on hand, though (because i secretly want to move one more time and have a fireplace again!!)
I totally miss my fireplace and look forward to having one again! Great and informative post, thank you!