How To Improve Your Fireplace’s Efficiency
Fireplaces are common fixtures to most homes, with a design that remains nearly unchanged even after so many decades of modern home construction. But despite how ubiquitous they are, there are some ways to improve your fireplace’s efficiency to ensure there is significantly less heat loss and greater safety.
These upgrades can range drastically from being something as simple as new fireplace doors to a more involved installation. No matter what you want or need for your current fireplace, always be sure that the changes you make improve it for practical or aesthetic reasons without sacrificing safety. It’s always good to lean more toward the side of caution when dealing with fire, as this will prevent unnecessary accidents and injury.
Invest in Dampers
The dampers are an essential part of any fireplace, as homeowners use them to seal up the chimney’s flue, preventing heat from escaping outside and cold from entering the house. The dampers remain shut when you are not using your fireplace, trapping the heat inside, but once you light your fire, the damper must remain open.
Closing the damper while the fire burns can prevent the smoke and chemicals from escaping, allowing them to remain inside the home and potentially harming anyone inside.
It's normal for homeowners to neglect the dampers and forget they even exist—out of sight, out of mind, after all. But it’s critical that you know your damper’s state and whether they’re in good condition or could use some updating.
Have an inspector take a look at your damper. It may be the case that it doesn’t fully seal when you close it or completely open when you ignite your fireplace. Prevent unnecessary heat loss and ensure you never trap dangerous smoke due to a faulty damper.
Look Into Fireplace Inserts
If you already have a fireplace in your home, but you need to do some serious updating to make it usable and safe, it’s often far more convenient to get a fireplace insert. These inserts fit into the already-existing alcove for your current fireplace, but they provide you the benefits of an updated, modern look and very little maintenance costs.
Inserts also come in several different styles, whether you want something powered by wood, electricity, or gas. It is a fast, efficient, and cost-effective way to upgrade your current fireplace without invasive renovations that could potentially interrupt your home life.
Give Your Chimney a Good Cleaning
Burning wood in your fireplace results in a buildup of soot along the walls of your chimney’s flue. This buildup eventually limits the draft in your chimney, preventing your fire from burning as bright and as hot as it can.
Too much soot even runs the potential for safety risks, which makes it all the more necessary to hire a chimney cleaner to give your flue a thorough cleaning. This breaks up and removes all the months or years of soot buildup, allowing you to get the draft you need to bring life to your fire and eliminate any safety risks.
Think About Glass Doors
Glass doors offer a significant advantage when you want to prevent heat loss. Similar to the dampers, they act as a barrier that prevents hot air from escaping when you close it, keeping the home warmer for longer. But there are some safety considerations to know before opening and closing your glass doors.
First, you should never close the glass doors when your fireplace burns; the heat from the fire can warp the glass, cracking and breaking it in the process. Keep the doors wide open whenever the fireplace burns hot.
Keeping the doors closed also makes for a smoky fire, resulting in greater soot production from the wood logs and clogging up your flue. However, when the fire dies down, you can keep the glass doors closed to prevent further heat loss, though you still need the damper open to vent the remaining embers.
Always Use Dry Wood for Burning
Wood burns best when it’s completely dry; anything wet, rotten, or moldy will not allow the fire to spread properly. This significantly lowers the heat output from your flame, limiting it and even causing it to burn out before it has a chance to warm up your home.
You can identify dry wood by its deep brown color; if your fire logs have a tint of green to them, that’s a sign they may have mold or be too damp to burn efficiently. If you’re unsure about a log, you can always utilize a moisture meter to determine if your wood is dry enough to burn effectively.
Switch To a Gas Fireplace
With many older designs, fireplaces utilize log burning to generate heat. While this is a reliable way to warm up a room, there are gas fireplaces for sale that can provide the same benefits with a few added advantages due to their modern design. When using gas, your fireplace doesn’t produce any soot, allowing your flue to remain pristine and eliminating the need for regular cleanings.
It also generates heat faster than a log burning fire, as you can switch on the gas whenever you want and have the flames immediately sprout up. Gas fireplaces offer a modern solution to the hassles of older wood-burning designs, allowing for greater convenience and increased safety.
One essential safety aspect is utilizing the flue; just because there is no smoke doesn’t mean that there are no chemicals. Gas fireplaces still require venting to prevent the spread of hazardous chemicals. Eliminating this threat is as easy as using the same procedures as venting smoke.
Always Look To Update Your Fireplace
It’s always easy to neglect updating a home’s fireplace, but it’s essential to do so every once in a while. The potential for accidents is greater when dealing with fire, and knowing how to improve your fireplace’s efficiency is necessary to keep it safe and reliable.
You never want to allow your soot buildup to affect your flue or your dampers, and always look into modern solutions and modifications to your current installation. Whether you just need some glass doors to keep the heat in, or you need a completely new fireplace that utilizes gas as its power source, there are always options for homeowners to make their fireplaces burn brighter and safer.