Although wood burning fireplaces are aesthetically pleasing, they can be very inefficient. With rising energy costs, a wood burning fireplace is a great alternative to save money on home heating costs. Although fireplaces radiate heat, they can also allow some of the heated air to be pulled back out of the home. If you have a metal flue and/or a metal damper, this can make this inefficiency even worse. Here are a few things you can do to increase the efficiency of your fireplace and show you how to stop cold air from coming in fireplaces.
1. Use a top sealing damper
The purpose of a top sealing damper is to act like a storm door to keep your heated or conditioned air in the home. It is placed on the top of the chimney much like a cap but it is easier to install and comes with a rubber attachment piece to keep it air tight.
The cool or hot air outside the home will be kept out. When not burning the fireplace, this small investment will pay for itself and then some in a very short while through the money you’ll save in heating and cooling costs.
Top sealing dampers can replace throat dampers. Throat dampers are installed just above the firebox. They do not create an airtight seal, and are made completely of metal. While they will prevent some draft, over time these dampers will warp or rust, making them less efficient. While top sealing dampers are preferred, either of these options are better than having no damper at all.
2. Install a fireback
Another inexpensive way to increase your fireplace’s efficiency is to install a fireback. A radiant fireback is a cast iron plate designed to protect the firebox from damage. Decorative designs also add to your home’s décor.
The fireback absorbs heat from the fire and radiates it back into the room. A fireback prevents heat from being absorbed by the liner of the flue and gives your fire more bang for your buck.
3. Fireplace heaters
Fireplace heaters are another option to increase the efficiency of your fireplace. These are closed circuit heaters that take air from the room, circulate it through a chamber heated by the fire, and then release it back into the room as warm air. Since it is closed circuit, no smoke will be pouring into the room.
4. Fireplace glass doors
Making an investment in fireplace glass doors for a chimney offers another level of safety for your home by protecting pets and children from the flames, as well as increasing the efficiency of your fireplace. Installing these doors yourself can help save on some of the cost of purchasing them. If you have an open, wood burning fireplace, it is wise to make an investment in a mesh screen to protect carpet and family members from the burning embers that are frequently shot out of the firebox. Some of the most modern doors are crafted beautifully and can really add character and charm to any living room. Since the fireplace is using less inside air from combustion with the doors closed, the doors increase your fireplace’s efficiency.
5. Grate heaters
Grate heaters are another great option to increase your fireplace’s efficiency and can be used in conjunction with glass doors. Hollow tubing from grate heaters get hot from the fire and a fan blows this heat into the room. Some are controlled by thermostats, others are manually controlled. This is a relatively inexpensive way to help heat your home.
If you plan on heating your home with a fireplace, these small investments can increase the efficiency of your investment and save you money. Look into a few of these options, you’ll be amazed at the savings you’ll find!