Reduce energy costs by transforming an inefficient fireplace into an energy saver.
The fireplace has been the favorite spot to gather in the American home for years. A place for warmth, the fireplace adds ambience, sparking memories that are treasured. With all the benefits that a fireplace can bring, there are some major downsides that if not addressed can cause a love for the fireplace to wane.
With soaring energy costs, the chief negative of having a fireplace has to be its inefficiency. When there is a fire burning, the fireplace does indeed radiate warmth in its general vicinity but it also creates a convection current that can actually pull conditioned air out of the room and up the chimney causing the furnace to work overtime. When the fire is not burning, the fireplace has a damper which is supposed to block inside air from escaping and outside air from invading. The problem is that the damper is usually made of metal (this type of damper technology hasn’t changed in over 100 years) and has no seal, which means that the damper is incredibly inefficient.
Homes have a dirty little secret; the fireplace that is designed to warm a house is actually doing the opposite and costing hundreds of dollars in energy costs. With a little investment of time and money, that inefficient fireplace can turn into a powerhouse heater that will reduce energy bills and add even more charm to the existing fireplace.
The following is a list of four things to do to drastically reduce the heating costs associated with the inefficiency of a fireplace.
1. Top sealing dampers replace the fireplace throat damper and are installed at the top of the chimney. The top sealing damper has a seal that acts like a storm door to keep the expensive conditioned air inside the house and the outside air outside. This principle works year round, whether heating or cooling in the house. This product can be purchased online and is easily installed by either a homeowner or a contractor.
2. A fireback is a cast iron plate that is placed at the back of a fireplace. Its purpose is to protect the back wall from fire damage and it usually features a design that adds to the home decor. The fireback improves the fireplaces efficiency by absorbing the heat from the fire and radiating the heat back into the room.
3. A fireplace heater pulls fresh air from the room, circulates it through a chamber that is heated by the fire and then blows the heated air back into the room. These heaters are closed systems, so no smoke from the fireplace is invading the home. Depending on what is purchased, these heaters can make a significant difference in the temperature of the home. It can even heating a full room on its own. Specific fireplace heaters can be installed with fireplace glass doors which will kick cost savings up another notch.
4. Fireplace glass doors will likely carry the largest investment, but people can reduce some of the cost by doing some of the work. There are a number of fireplace doors that can be purchased online and come with easy to installation instructions. The fireplace glass door creates a barrier between the living space and the chimney, thus reducing the area that a furnace will have to heat. This alone is a good reason to install these doors, but it’s not the only reason. Fireplace glass doors offer another level of safety for the home by protecting children and pets from the fire. If homeowners have a wood burning fireplace they will want to purchase the screen mesh that is designed to go with the fireplace glass doors. This will allow them to have the doors open while the fire is burning and still have their home protected from sparks and embers. Fireplace glass doors are now being manufactured with modern designs and really add beauty and charm to the fireplace.
All of these suggestions are easy to accomplish. In addition, all of the products, while difficult to find locally, can easily be purchased online. Concerned about high energy costs? But want to keep a fireplace? Then it’s time to plug up the holes in the monthly energy budget by plugging up the holes in the fireplace.