The fireplace has long been the favorite spot to gather in the American home. A place for warmth, the fireplace adds ambience, sparking memories that are to be treasured. With all the benefits that a fireplace can bring, there are some major downsides that if not addressed can cause a love for the fireplace to wane.
With soaring energy costs, the chief negative of having a fireplace has to be its inefficiency. When there is a fire burning, the fireplace does indeed radiate warmth in its general vicinity, but it also creates a convection current that can actually pull conditioned air out of the room and up the chimney causing your furnace to work overtime. When the fire is not burning, the fireplace has a damper which is supposed to block inside air from escaping and outside air from invading. The problem is that the damper is usually made of metal (this type of damper technology hasn’t changed in over 100 years!) and has no seal, which means that the damper is incredibly inefficient.
Your home has a dirty little secret – the fireplace that is designed to warm your house is actually doing the opposite and costing you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. Don’t fret – with a little investment of time and money, you can turn that inefficient fireplace into a powerhouse heater that will reduce your energy bills and add even more charm to your existing fireplace.
The following is a list of 4 things that you can do yourself to drastically reduce the heating costs associated with the inefficiency of your fireplace.
1. Top Sealing Dampers replace the fireplace throat damper and are installed at the top of the chimney. The top sealing damper has a seal that acts like a storm door keeping the expensive conditioned air inside the house and the outside air – outside. This principle works year round, whether you’re heating or cooling your house. This product can be purchased online and is easily installed by either a homeowner or a handyman.
2. A fireback is a cast iron plate that is placed at the back of your fireplace. Its purpose is to protect the back wall from fire damage and it usually features a design that adds to the homes decor. The fireback improves the fireplaces efficiency by absorbing the heat from the fire and radiating the heat back into the room.
3. A Fireplace Heater pulls fresh air from the room, circulates it through a chamber that is heated by the fire and then blows the heated air back into the room. These heaters are closed systems so no smoke from the fireplace is invading the home. Depending on which kind you purchase, these heaters can make a significant difference in your homes temperature, even heating a full room on its own. Specific fireplace heaters can be installed with fireplace glass doors which will kick your cost savings up another notch.
4. Fireplace Glass Doors will likely carry the largest investment, but you can reduce some of that cost by doing some of the work yourself. There are a number of fireplace doors that can be purchased online and come with easy to install instructions. The fireplace glass door creates a barrier between the living space and the chimney, thus reducing the area that your furnace will have to heat. This alone is a good reason to install these doors, but it’s not the only reason. Fireplace glass doors offer another level of safety for the home by protecting children and pets from the fire. If you have a wood burning fireplace you will want to purchase the screen mesh that is designed to go with the fireplace glass doors. This will allow you to have the doors open while the fire is burning and still have your home protected from sparks and embers. Fireplace glass doors are now being manufactured with modern designs and really add beauty and charm to the fireplace.
If you’re handy, all of these suggestions are easy to accomplish. In addition, all of the products, while difficult to find locally, can easily be purchased online. If you’re concerned about high energy costs but you want to keep your fireplace, then it’s time to plug up the holes in your monthly energy budget by plugging up the holes in your fireplace.