Tips for Ecofriendly Fires that Save You Money
Few people who are devoted to reducing their carbon footprint use a traditional open fireplace. Such fires are simply too inefficient, and they create health risks such as smoke containing particulate matter and harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Smoke from a wood fire can be harmful indoors and outdoors, causing serious respiratory problems. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all the joys that wood fires provide. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been tightening efficiency requirements for fireplaces and wood stoves increasingly since the 1980’s. Innovation has been remarkable. It’s now possible to enjoy fires in your home at efficiencies of as much as 90%, instead of the meager 10% or less that traditional masonry fireplaces usually have. There are several ways in which greater efficiency means cost savings in winter.
Cost-Saving Eco-Friendly Home Fires
EPA-certified appliances have gotten consistently more efficient through the years. You may have an appliance, such as a fireplace insert, that was once a serious upgrade but could now be greatly improved upon. Today’s fireplace inserts are superior to earlier models. Newer inserts are easier to clean, produce less creosote in the chimney flue, and have higher efficiency ratings. The following are more ways to save money on winter heating costs with environmentally friendly fires:
· If you don’t have a fireplace insert, you can have one installed. An insert will convert your fireplace into an efficient source of supplemental heat. The efficiency rating of a fireplace insert is about 70%, at a minimum.
· Firewood is the least expensive type of fuel for a fireplace. A fireplace or wood stove that burns efficiently uses less firewood while emitting more heat. So, even though you will need to burn less firewood, you will get at least 60% more heat from the wood you burn.
· Burn the right kind of wood. First and foremost, the wood must be seasoned, which mean it has gone through a process of drying out and has low moisture content. Avoid smoldering fires, which emit excess smoke. If you burn hot fires, it means the fire is burning the wood more completely. Hot fires are the most efficient.
· If the grate in your fireplace is too large, it spreads out the logs more and prevents fires from being as hot-burning and clean as they could be. As needed, get a new grate that properly fits your fireplace.
· Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned annually. What this will do is ensure that your heating system operates with maximum efficiency and isn’t hindered by obstruction or other potential problems.
Consider a Pellet Appliance
If you want the most efficient type of home fire possible, the appliance to get is the top-rated pellet stove with efficiencies of up to 90%. Pellet fireplaces and pellet stoves burn small, highly compressed pellets made from wood waste. They provide up to 36 hours of hands-free heat, depending on the size of the hopper that feeds the pellets into the burn pot. The fires are more intense than wood fires, and a small amount of electricity is used to operate the system.
You can count on being able to turn off central heating at least part of the winter, if you put your pellet appliance to good use. Pellet stoves and fireplaces are considered to be smoke-free, which means they make virtually no impact on the environment, as far as releasing particulate matter into the air. A miniscule amount of ash is produced by pellet fires, which makes maintenance easy, as well.
Reliable Chimney Services Help
For full assurance that you are doing everything possible to make your fireplace or wood stove as efficient and eco-friendly as possible, contact our highly trained chimney sweeps at Chimney Saver Solutions. We can help you enjoy an energy efficient wood-burning heating appliance by providing quality chimney inspection and cleaning services. We can also install any equipment you purchase to upgrade fireplace or wood stove efficiency. Call us today at 804-440-5000.