Get the Most Out of Your Fireplace This Winter
Traditional masonry fireplaces may give your home a cozy appearance, but they waste most of the heat they produce. To avoid letting all the heat evaporate, here are five tips to make your fireplace more efficient this winter.
Burn seasoned firewood
Fresh wood has a high moisture content. After all, trees need a constant supply of water to grow. The high moisture content makes for a smokier fire that will generate less heat and burn quickly. Instead, source seasoned firewood that has been dried for at least six months. The lower moisture content will burn slower at higher temperatures with less smoke and soot for a more efficient fire burning experience.
Close the dampers
The damper is a metal device that keeps air, moisture, and debris out of the firebox when the fireplace is not being used. But forgetting to close the damper after the fire is out is like leaving a window open.
And all the heat that was generated will go out the chimney. Close the fireplace damper when the fire is completely extinguished will retain the heat in the firebox and continue to warm your living space for several hours.
Reverse the circulation of ceiling fans to spread the warmth
Some ceiling fans have a switch that will reverse its operation in a clockwise direction. Reversing the circulation of your ceiling fans will create an updraft and spread the heat more efficiently throughout your living space. It can also save you up to 15% on heating costs. But operating your ceiling fans in its standard counterclockwise direction will have the opposite effect and will cool down your living space.
Use glass fireplace doors to reduce heat loss
Installing glass fireplace doors is an easy, inexpensive, and practical way to increase the heating efficiency of your fireplace. Many fireplace enthusiasts enjoy an open fire burning experience with nothing more than a mesh screen for protection. But this will have a negative effect because the warmer indoor air will be drawn back into the fireplace and up the chimney. Even though the damper must remain open to vent exhaust when flames are present, closing the glass doors will prevent the heated indoor air from being sucked into the fireplace. It will also help to radiate the heat in the firebox throughout the living area.
Install a fireplace insert to increase heating efficiency
A traditional masonry fireplace expels up to 85% of the heat it generates up the chimney. That’s not a very efficient method of home heating. But you can flip that around with an EPA-Certified fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts are self-contained heating appliances that fit directly inside the opening of an existing masonry fireplace. Its innovative design retains most of the heat (80% to 90%) it generates, using one-third of the fuel. It not only significantly increases the heating efficiency of your fireplace, but it is more eco-friendly, producing a fraction of the smoke, soot, and creosote of a traditional fireplace.