There’s nothing quite like sitting beside a roaring fireplace in the winter, especially if you have a warm blanket and a good book to go with it.
While our ancestors may have had nothing but fireplaces, be grateful that your home’s heating system is way more energy efficient today—an open fireplace lets 85% of heat escape through your chimney. Yikes!
We won’t tell you to not use your fireplace (we love their warmth and ambience too). Instead, try these five simple tips to make your fireplace more energy efficient.
1. Pick the right wood.
Buying fresh is a good idea for 99% of the things you buy—but not firewood. Fresh wood has more moisture and creates more smoke than dry wood, leaving behind a nasty coat of resin in your chimney, which hurts efficiency. Choose wood that has been seasoned or dried in the sun for at least six months.
2. Glass doors are clearly better.
If you only use a mesh screen for your fireplace, your home is losing a lot of energy, even when your fireplace damper is closed. Installing glass doors reduces radiant heat loss by about 50%, makes it easier to light up the fireplace, and (most importantly) is much safer in a home with small children or pets.
3. Top off your chimney with a damper.
You most likely have a throat damper, the most common type of damper, which you should definitely close when your fireplace isn’t in use. But the most energy-efficient thing you can do is install a top-sealing damper, which seals the chimney at the top. This keeps outside air from entering the house (and vice versa), and preventing unwanted debris, birds, or animals from entering the flue.
4. Install a cast-iron fireback.
Cast-iron firebacks are old-school technology that still make a big difference today. As the name suggests, the fireback sits behind the fire to absorb the fire’s heat and return it back into the room, getting more heat from the fireplace without turning it up. It also protects the back wall of the fireplace, and let’s be honest, it also just looks really cool.
5. Stay sealed in the summer.
Once outdoor temps go up, properly seal your fireplace so your A/C’s cool air doesn’t escape your home. Check your chimney to see if there’s a lock at the bottom for sealing your fireplace. If not, inflatable plugs are super easy to install and inexpensive too, especially when you consider how much energy you’re saving.
Get fired up about saving energy and stay warm in the winter.