Increase Chimney and Fireplace Efficiency This Winter

When your fireplace and chimney operate efficiently, it’s possible to lower your heating costs and heighten the enjoyment of the fireplace. Giving attention to the operation of the chimney and the fuel used in a wood-burning fireplace is a winning combination. Check out the following tips for a great winter season warming by your fireplace.

Open / Close the Damper

fireplace damper, atlanta gaBefore starting a fire in your fireplace, fully open the damper so the chimney draft can operate properly. For some, this may seem like a no-brainer, but thousands of people every year get a house full of smoke because the damper is still closed when the fire is lit.

After the fire is out and the embers have gone cold, close the damper tightly. The purpose of the damper at this point is to help keep down the cost of heating. If the damper isn’t able to form a tight seal, a damper replacement is recommended. The effects of an unsealed damper are similar to keeping a window open at all times, allowing your heated air to rise up and out through the chimney.

Prime the Chimney

When the damper is open and you are lighting the tinder to get your fire going, if the smoke enters the room instead of going up the chimney, it’s time to prime. Priming the chimney is necessary when a column of cold air has filled the chimney flue. A sufficient amount of heat is needed to push out that cold air and allow the hot air to rise. The typical way to prime the chimney is to create a torch with newspaper, light it, and carefully hold it up toward the damper. The process can take a couple or even three times to prime the chimney, but then you’re set for a nice winter fire.

Burn Seasoned Firewood

There is only one type of fuel that should be used in a wood-burning fireplace and that is seasoned firewood. The reason for firewood sheds isn’t just to keep a generous supply of firewood at the ready for the winter season. Firewood needs between 6 and 12 months to dry out sufficiently to be “seasoned.”

Use a Moisture Meter

When firewood is first chopped, it is green and full of moisture. Wet firewood is highly inefficient to burn because the energy and heat of the fire go toward burning out moisture. A moisture meter can be found at any home supply store. They are an inexpensive tool that can help you to ensure that the wood you burn contains less than 20% moisture.

Burning firewood with a moisture level of between 20% and 100% increases the amount of tar-like creosote deposited inside the chimney lining. The more creosote there is in your chimney flue, the greater the chance of a dangerous chimney fire. On top of that, chimney obstructions are most often caused by creosote buildup.

Burn Room-Temperature Firewood

stacked firewood, roswell gaBring in a supply of firewood in advance of using it in the fireplace. Firewood needs to be at a certain temperature before it can burn. If you bring cold firewood straight in from the winter conditions outside, your fire will be less efficient because the wood will take longer to start burning and provide heat.

Schedule Routine Chimney Maintenance

The best way to achieve chimney efficiency is to schedule annual chimney cleaning and inspection. Have repairs made as needed.


Contact the CSIA-certified chimney sweep experts at Chimney Solutions for the best in reliable chimney and fireplace services. We have the know-how to handle every kind of chimney problem and get the job done right. Contact Chimney Solutions at 770-255-1300 today for help ensuring chimney and fireplace efficiency.


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