Ways a Chimney Sweep Can Help You Reduce Your Energy Bill
The glowing warmth of a fire blazing in the heath and beautiful architectural features of a fireplace make having one a pleasure. On the flip side, having a masonry fireplace can increase your heating and cooling bills year-round. Much like poorly sealed windows or bad insulation, masonry fireplaces allow air to move in and out of your home more freely. You might have noticed cold winter air or hot summer air flowing out of your fireplace when it is not in use. This forces your heating and cooling system to work overtime to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Cleaning and improving your fireplace with the help of a chimney sweep can remedy this situation and cut down your energy costs. Here are 6 ways that you and a chimney professional can reduce your utility bills:
• Cleaning Ashes Out of the Hearth
Regularly sweeping out the ashes from the firebox will not only help you breathe better, it will also help your fire to burn hotter the next time you use your fireplace. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even as little as one-tenth of an inch of soot can decrease the heat output of a fire by 50%.
• Professionally Removing Creosote Buildup & Debris
Creosote is tar-like substance that is produced by burning wood. This extremely combustible substance builds up along the flue walls in the chimney. The more it builds up, the more it hinders the air flow in the chimney that is needed to help fuel the fire. When creosote is removed, the fire will receive more oxygen which will help it burn hotter. (Another plus is that removing creosote will protect your home from a potential chimney fire.) Removing other debris that might be obstructing the chimney will also improve the fireplace’s efficiency. It’s smart to rely on a certified chimney sweeps, like us, to clean out your chimney instead of tackling it as a DIY project because we have the training and equipment to effectively remove creosote and other debris without damaging the fragile lining of the chimney.
• Filling Cracks & Crevices
Cracks and crevices in the lining of the flue can allow outside air, and carbon monoxide, to seep into your home. Professional chimney sweeps are trained to notice these fissures in the flue lining and will fill them for you. This will make your home more energy efficient and protect against the intrusion of carbon monoxide.
• Adding a Top Seal Damper or Repairing a Warped Damper
While a chimney sweep is removing creosote and sealing cracks, he might notice that the damper is warped. The damper is used to regulate air flow in a chimney. When it is closed, air from outside is stopped from entering the home. When it is open, air is able to flow up and down the chimney. If it is warped, the heated or air-conditioned air in your home will easily be able to escape and drafts will be able to come down the chimney. Repairing it will resolve this problem. A top seal damper that sits at the top of the chimney instead of being in the mouth of the chimney like a traditional damper is far more effective. Choosing to have a top seal damper installed is one of the best ways to make your home more tightly sealed.
• Installing a Metal Flue Liner
A down side to brick and mortar fireplaces is that masonry is very porous. Along with making it more susceptible to moisture, this also means that air can seep in and out of it more easily. Metal flue liners were designed to help cut down on the amount of air that can move in and out through the masonry itself. Having a metal flue liner installed will eliminate the problem of unwanted temperatures from the outside radiating on the inside through the masonry. It will also help the fires you kindle to burn more efficiently producing less emissions and creosote and more heat. A knowledgeable chimney sweep will let you know the size of the metal flue liner you need and can install it for you.
• Choosing a Fireplace Insert or Fireplace Doors
The best way to cut down on your heating and cooling costs is to have a fireplace insert or fireplace doors installed. Even with a metal flue liner and top sealing damper, drafts of air may still find their way into your home through the mouth of the fireplace. Also, heated or cooled air from your home may still escape up the chimney when the damper is open. Glass fireplace doors or the glass doors of a fireplace insert will completely prevent this. They can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 30%. Along with making your home better sealed, they also create a complete combustion system that helps wood to burn more thoroughly. The end result is longer burning, hotter fires that require less fuel. If your chimney sweep is a certified chimney technician, she should be able to give you recommendations so that you can find the right solution for your home.
Our chimney specialists at Chimney Solutions would be happy to work with you to make your home more energy efficient. Whether you need a chimney cleaning or you want advice on the type of fireplace insert that would be best for your home, give us a call at (770) 255-1300! We are proud to serve homeowners throughout the Greater Atlanta area.