How To Improve Fireplace Efficiency
How to Improve Fireplace Efficiency
The only way to improve upon the pleasure of sitting by a warm fire on a cold day may be to do so with the knowledge that your fireplace is helping you cut utility costs. Depending on a fireplace for warmth is not a new thing. About 90% of homeowners in the U.S. depended upon a fireplace or wood stove to heat their homes in the early 20th century; but today it’s only about 1%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Due to modern advances in heating appliances along with a heightened interest in eco-friendly solutions, the popularity and viability of fireplaces and wood stoves are again growing.
Fireplaces can be used to offset expensive utility costs associated with heat sources that use oil, propane, and gasoline. On the other hand, in many fireplaces, most of the heat from fires goes up the chimney. In addition, the fireplace can pull cold air into your home. To put your fireplace to work helping you cut heating costs, there are some steps you may need to take.
You can improve fireplace efficiency by at least 10 fold by installing a fireplace insert. These advanced wood-burning appliances are built for efficiency. Inserts are constructed of heavy steel and cast iron, and they are placed inside a masonry fireplace box. The front of a fireplace insert is usually insulated glass, allowing a view of the fire. The closed chamber acts as a combustion chamber. Heat from the burning wood is trapped in the steel or cast iron box, and it radiates into your home.
Keeping the cold out of your home adds to heating efficiency, and this can be accomplished with your fireplace by closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use. The damper is the hinged metal plate just above the chimney’s throat which controls the flow of air and smoke through the fireplace and up the chimney. New dampers usually seal well; but they tend to warp over time, allowing more air to get through. If your damper isn’t effective, you could get a chimney cap damper, which closes at the top of the chimney. The top damper greatly reduces the amount of air that can enter the flue. Both dampers together do a very effective job of helping to reduce the cost of heating your home.
Another way to improve fireplace efficiency is to burn the right type of firewood. Whatever variety of firewood you burn, it’s essential that it be seasoned, which means dried. A fresh-cut tree is packed with moisture and should be dried out for six to nine months so that moisture can dissipate. When you burn green wood, it produces a lot of smoke. A smoky fire doesn’t produce much heat.
Hardwood logs burn hotter and longer and give off more heat than softwoods.
Having your fireplace and chimney cleaned will improve fireplace efficiency. The soot that builds up in the flue lining can hinder the draft, which can affect how well the fire burns. In addition, heat-transfer efficiency of your fireplace can be lowered by as much as half if there is 1/10th of an inch of soot layered in the fireplace.
Over 100 years ago, most fireplaces were replaced with modern heating methods. Now fireplace inserts, pellet stoves, and redesigned wood stoves are the newest way to heat efficiently. An efficient fireplace not only helps you cut heating costs, it also contributes to a cleaner environment.
Chimney Solutions, Inc. 1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004 Office 770-771-5501