As you relax calmly near your fireplace, watching the soothing fire melt away your worries, think about this: Is your fireplace actually heating up your home? Or, is the money you are spending on it, vanishing up in wisps of smoke through the chimney?
Your fireplace might actually be drawing out the heat from your home and waving it goodbye out the chimney while pulling in cold air from outside to replace it. This way it becomes a major source of heat loss. Therefore, the fireplace not only adds to the beauty of your house, but it also adds to the money you are allowing to burn up in flames. The good news is, you can eliminate this nuisance and make your fireplace as energy-efficient as possible.
Let’s find out.
1. Choose the right fireplace
If you are on the lookout for a new fireplace or thinking about upgrading, keeping the following things in mind while purchasing one can help:
- The efficiency of gas fireplaces range between 20% to 75%. However, in some cases, they can be less efficient than wood-burning fireplaces.
- The new generation of wood and pellet-burning fireplaces are quite efficient, clean, and have the capability of heating up an average-sized home.
- When it comes to a fireplace, size becomes a major factor while zeroing in on the one best suited for your home. What commonly happens with a huge fireplace is, people tend to burn fire at a low smolder to avoid overheating. This way, they end up wasting precious fuel and coughing in a room full of smoke.
- If you want maximum efficiency while heating up your home, then we suggest you to choose the wood-fired masonry stove. With an efficiency of 90% under its belt and the capability to retain a good amount of heat, the wood-fired masonry stove can heat up your house in one or two small hot fires in 24 hours.
Choosing the right fireplace for your home can solve many-a heating problems.
2. Install a chimney damper
The fireplace damper does not allow heat to escape from the chimney. The tight seal installed at the top of the chimney poses as a lid to not only the heat of the room but also the rise in heating bills. Installing one is not where it ends. Sometimes, dampers tend to get warped after usage and warm air starts leaking out through the gaps. This is where a chimney cap damper comes in handy. This shuts off the entire top part of the chimney leaving no room for air to escape.
3. Fireplace doors are a great help
Fireplace glass doors act as a barrier between the chimney and the area your fireplace is supposed to heat. This restricts the heated air of the room from siphoning up and out through the chimney. In addition, it also acts as a safety measure if you have pets or children running around the house. It also prevents ember and sparks from burning a hole in your carpet.
If you are planning to install a cheap glass door, let me warn you here that they are generally made from tempered glass and tend to break if you keep them closed when the fire is burning. The ceramic glass door can be quite useful in such a scenario, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
4. A fireback reflects heat into the room
A fireback is a clever way of retaining heat in your room while adding an artistic touch to the fireplace. It is nothing but a heavy sheet of metal, generally a cast iron plate, that is installed at the back of the fireplace. Here’s how it helps:
- The rear of the fireplace is quite prone to get damaged owing to the intense heat generated from burning the fuel. A fireback cuts down such changes considerably.
- A fireback reflects a portion of the heat from the fireplace into the room, resulting in a 50% increase in heating efficiency.
5. Fireplace inserts can work wonders
This is more like a wood stove that has been designed to fit within the firebox. These fireplace inserts provide the longest burn time and the maximum heat output. They might require a little extra cost, but the benefits they fetch are worth it.
6. Maintaining your chimney
Hiring a certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean out your fireplace dramatically enhances its efficiency. In addition to that, your fireplace will also get professionally evaluated for maximum safety. A professional can help identify the hazards in your fireplace, thus eliminating chances of heat leakage and worse, a house fire.
It is advisable to have your fireplace cleaned regularly in the heating season. This is because even a single layer of soot can reduce fireplace efficiency by 50%. And as we all know, a clean fireplace operates more efficiently than a cluttered one.
When you are not using your fireplace, inflatable plugs and chimney caps can come in handy to prevent your room from going too cold. You must also want to look into the rest of the problems that your house might be harboring, for example, attic insulation, windows, and the likes. Once all of the issues are taken care of, rest assured, your heating expenditure would come down considerably, while enhancing the effectiveness of your fireplace.