As we get deeper into the cooler months the need for a warm home becomes important in order to stay comfortable. If you have a fireplace it becomes a vital part of your heating routine in your home. There are three main types of fireplaces, gas, electric and wood fireplace. Your fireplace could be costing your heat and not running efficiently, especially if it’s a wood burning fireplace. Stoking up a fire on a cold winter night could actually be making your home colder. About 80% of heat produced by a wood burning fireplace is lost through the chimney. The fire basically sucks the warm air out of the room and sends it up the chimney.
How Heat loss happens
Fire places rarely warm up the whole house, so you’re probably using it to supplement additional heating in your home by warming up the living room or whatever room the fireplace is located.
Combustion – The fire draws oxygen in the room for combustion which creates an airflow towards the fireplace. As a result, the fireplace ends up drawing air from the house. So, while you’re warming up the area around your fireplace, you’re actually causing a cold draft in the rest of the house and wasting energy. To make it worse, the gasses going up the chimney take most the heat produced by the fire with them. So if you already feel cozy with the heat coming in from the fireplace and that’s only about 20% of the heat it’s producing. Imagine how much warmer it would be if you were getting 80% of that heat instead of losing it to the chimney.
Improving Fireplace Efficiency
Despite its deficiencies there are a few ways you can make your fireplace more efficient for you home.
You can increase the radiant heat in the room with either a glass barrier in front of the fireplace or use an electric blower. The barrier will reduce how much cold air is leaving the room and the blower will send more warmed up air into the room. Glass barriers come in the form of either a door or a removable cover.
You can also retrofit your fireplace with a deep fire box that radiates more heat and has vents to draw air from outside instead of drawing warm air from your house. Fireplace inserts can improve fireplace efficiency by 65%.
Even when it’s not active you can still lose heat through your fireplace. You can invest in a removable chimney plug, to keep heat from leaving your home via the chimney while your chimney is out of use. It’s a good way to avoid heat loss and save energy. They’re also called flue sealers or chimney balloons.
Chimneys can be cozy and great but like everything else if you haven’t used or set it up properly it can be a drag on your energy usage. Get your chimney running efficiently so your family can enjoy a cozy and warm winter season.
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