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Is Your Fireplace Increasing Energy Costs?

You love your fireplace. It provides warmth and ambiance, and adds value to your home. But did you know that the average fireplace isn’t very efficient and can cause you to spend more money on your energy bills every month? In this post, we look at why wood-burning masonry fireplaces and chimneys get a bad rap for energy usage and what you can do to improve them.

Wood Burning Fireplace in Tilton, NHWhy Are Fireplaces So Inefficient?

Many people think that using their fireplace instead of their furnace saves money, but the opposite is true. The fact is that the average fireplace loses up to 90% of its heat up the chimney, causing your furnace or heater to run more to compensate.

The EPA says this about fireplace efficiency: Generally, a wood-burning fireplace is a very inefficient way to heat your home. Fireplace drafts can pull the warm air up the chimney, causing other rooms to be cooler. If you use central heat while burning in a fireplace, your heater will work harder to maintain constant temperatures throughout the house.

If you’re a fireplace lover, this isn’t the news you wanted, but you don’t have to abandon your fireplace for your electric heater, and you don’t have to accept higher than average energy bills. Let’s look at ways to improve fireplace and chimney efficiency.

How to Make Your Fireplace More Energy Efficient

It’s true that your fireplace isn’t good at keeping your home warm and that you lose considerable heat, but there are things you can do to mitigate this problem.

Burn Seasoned Firewood

Dry, seasoned firewood burns hotter than unseasoned wood. Wood that’s not properly dried contains moisture, which produces more smoke and less heat. Seasoned firewood should be left to dry for at least six months before it’s ready for use.

Get to Know Your Damper

The damper is a metal component that’s positioned just above the firebox, and its job is to regulate airflow. Once your fire is started and going strong, you can adjust the damper to control the airflow and keep more heat in the house. When you’re done using your fireplace, close the damper completely to keep the heat in.

Open a Window

If there’s a window near your fireplace, consider cracking it open when you have a fire going, so the fire can pull air from outside instead of the house.

Consider a Fireplace Insert

Open masonry fireplaces have that rustic look that many people find attractive, but as shown, they don’t do the best job at heating. A fireplace insert is just a box that fits in your firebox and can improve your fireplace’s efficiency by up to 75%. And, because it’s a sealed box, you don’t lose as much heat through the chimney — it stays in the house where it belongs.

Glass Door

Another way to improve your fireplace’s efficiency is to add a glass door to reduce the amount of air the fireplace pulls from the surrounding rooms.

Add a Fan or Blower

The fireplace will heat the area just around the hearth, but not far beyond. Using a fan, like your ceiling fan, or a blower to circulate the warm air can improve your fireplace’s efficiency and prevent your furnace or heater from kicking on.

Professional Fireplace Cleaning in Laciona NH

Keep Your Chimney Clean

Maintaining a clean chimney not only improves airflow, it keeps your family safer. Creosote buildup, animal nests, and other obstructions significantly increase the chance of a chimney fire. Moreover, if your chimney doesn’t facilitate good airflow, you could end up with smoke coming back into the house. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America:
Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.

Chimney sweeping and inspection is best performed by a certified professional, who can identify potential problems before they become deadly.

Contact the Experts at Fire N’ Stone

Fire N’ Stone is a full-service fireplace, chimney, and stove company located in central New Hampshire. We’re family owned and operated with over 13 years of experience. If you want to know how to make your fireplace more energy efficient to lower your expenses, call us today at 603-293-4040 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.