While it may feel like the sunny days of summer are still lingering, the fall season has most certainly arrived. We are talking leaves falling, pumpkin spice everything, and a new set of tasks around the house to get us ready for the cooler weather. As we approach the fall/winter months and prepare to crank up the heat, we may wonder where else we can improve our energy efficiency. Well, look no further because we are here to help!
Look around your house and think of something that is aesthetically pleasing, produces heat, and keeps you cozy throughout the fall and winter months. Found it? If you guessed your fireplace or read the title of this article, then you are right! There is nothing quite like a roaring fire as the summer evenings fade and the crisp nights roll in, however, this is not always the most energy-efficient method of heating your home. While the small amount of heat that reaches you feels nice and toasty, the majority of heat produced, escapes through the chimney. Below we have included a few tips on how to keep that heat inside so you can enjoy your fireplace and the energy savings too!
Get to Know Your Fireplace
Before we get started, get to know more about your current fireplace and accessories. These details will help you determine which of the below options will work best for you. Think about how often you use your fireplace and for what purpose. If you use your fireplace fairly often as a way of heating your home, then most of these suggestions will be quite applicable.
Use a Fireback
A cast iron fireback is a great option when looking to maximize the heat produced by your fireplace. It works by absorbing the heat and returning it back to the room. They also protect the back of your fireplace and offer an appealing look.
Burn the Correct Wood
If you have a wood burning fireplace, it is important not to use freshly cut wood, but wood that has been dried or seasoned for at least six months. This will result in less smoke and prevent a resin from building up in the chimney, which affects efficiency.
Purchase a Top Sealing Damper
A top sealing damper provides several benefits for fireplace owners. The damper seals the chimney at the top, which keeps out debris and small animals. It also keeps the outside air from entering and the inside air from escaping. This type of damper can replace the traditional throat damper and is easy to install and more energy efficient.
Use a Heater System
A heater system circulates air from your home into the fireplace and pushes the warm air back out into the space. These systems are typically closed to prevent smoke from entering the house.
Install Glass Doors
Glass doors are a great option that keeps both functionality and safety in mind. By sectioning off the fireplace from the rest of your space, it is easier for it to heat up. It also reduces the amount of airflow that goes through the chimney. For wood burning fireplaces, it is a good idea to have a mesh screen behind the glass doors for when you do want to open them.
Seal your Fireplace in the Warmer Months
When you are finished using your fireplace for the season, make sure to seal it. This will prevent air from escaping through the chimney when it is not in use. If your chimney has a lock at the bottom, you can seal it that way – if not, you can purchase inflatable plugs that serve the same purpose.
Install an Insert
An insert is a wood stove with a steel liner that sits inside the chimney. Inserts are much more energy efficient than a typical fireplace. While this option can be more costly, the savings over time will be well worth it.
Clean your Chimney Annually
A great habit to get into is having your chimney cleaned annually. Keeping your chimney clean increases its efficiency when in use and reduces the chance of a home fire. During the time of cleaning, they can check for cracks and seal them.
Do Your Research
If you are reading this article, you are already acting on this step! As always with any investment, make sure to do your research before purchasing a fireplace itself or any accessories. You will have the best success if you start with good quality items that are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Make sure to weigh the cost, time, and effort of your investment with the overall benefits. Most often, the benefits significantly outweigh any downsides.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your hot beverage and get cozy this time of year. With these tips, you will have an efficient fireplace to keep you toasty all season long!