Home Improvement: Fireplace Upgrade

Fireplace Upgrade

Spring is right around the corner, and folks that means its home improvement time. Were you disappointed by your heating bill using a furnace? Or did you struggle with your fireplace all season long? There are so many modernizations available for fireplaces to make them more efficient. It can also help send heat further in the room, and much more.  You may want to look into this season while you are working on other parts of your home.

It’s true although it may seem counter-intuitive, some fireplaces are actually so inefficient that they lose more heat up the flue system than they emit into the room. Extreme cases can actually cause a 20% heat loss! Imagine factoring in an extra 20% to your heating bill from this winter, or more importantly, factoring out 20%. Everyone wants lower energy bills, and achieving a lower heating bill next winter is as easy as taking some of the suggestions listed below.

Glass Doors display, at Bromwell Fireplace shop in Cincinnati,  just an amazing store to visit and shop at!IMG_3231

One of the most obvious solutions to the problem of heat loss is to physically prevent the heat from exiting the home. Installing fireplace glass doors is an easy way of doing so which also is an attractive addition to any home. I find these glass doors most helpful when I’m waiting for the fire to go out and it’s burning low but it’s still too early to shut the chimney damper. Preventing air from heading up the chimney is a huge efficiency booster.

Fireplace Fireback
This fireplace fireback is decorative cast iron. It heads up the chimney is a huge efficiency booster. It then heads up the chimney is a huge efficiency booster

Radiant Fireback

Similarly, the installation of a fireplace fireback is another relatively small price to pay for increased fireplace efficiency. These firebacks can be highly decorative or very simple. They can be made of stainless steel or a more expensive, decorative cast iron. Firebacks are simply set in the fireplace behind the grate and amplify the radiant heat from the fire into the room, more so than the firebox wall would. Some manufacturers cite huge efficiency increases with the installation of their product, most of which are noticeable immediately after installation.

Fireplace Tool Set

Some people might not think of the efficiency of burning as including the stoking and care of the fire before and after the fire burns. Technically speaking if you can decrease your time spent handling the ashes, etc., that makes the fireplace a more efficient heating method. This is because it provides heat in a shorter period of time. A nice toolset will aid in ash removal and stoking the fire so it burns to its maximum potential.

Options to Discuss with a Professional

If your fireplace smokes toward the beginning of your fire or continuously even during the time you are burning a fire, you are burning inefficiently. More than likely this is due to having a poor draft. You will want to discuss options with your professional to improve this draft. Once a draft is improved not only will the smoking problem cease but the fire will burn hotter and longer. This is all the while needing less care from you once it’s lit.

You also want to consider carefully if your fireplace has an odor when it’s raining or humid outside. Another thing to consider is if you feel cold air when the wind is blowing. In these cases you’ll want to install a top sealing damper, also called a chimney damper to close the chimney off at the top when your chimney is not in use.

Importance of Cleaning Chimneys

Finally, a clean chimney is the most efficient version of your chimney without any other alterations. This is because a clean chimney provides for the best draft (besides being safer for burning). Having your chimney serviced and swept regularly will provide you with the opportunity to discuss options discussed above with a professional. It also makes sure there aren’t any ongoing problems with your chimney.

In conclusion, I hope that this information helps! Check out our YouTube Videos or our Blogs to learn more about chimney leaks and more!
Burn Safe and Warm,

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry. AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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