Consider these five tips to make the most efficient use of your fireplace during the chilly fall and frigid winter months, and to increase your home’s energy efficiency to save money.
Keep the Damper Closed
Unless you’ve got a fire lit, be sure to keep the damper of your fireplace closed as snugly as possible. Leaving it open when your fireplace isn’t in use allows the warm air inside of your home to escape through the chimney, and that’s pretty much the same as keeping a window open.
If you never use your fireplace, and you have no plans to use it in the future, it may be best to plug and seal your chimney flue.
Install a Heat-Air Exchange System
You can maximize the heat generated by your fireplace by installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that circulates heated air back into your space.
Install an Insert
If you’ve got an older fireplace consider installing an insert to increase its heating efficiency. In essence, an insert works like a wood stove. It fits into a masonry fireplace or on the hearth, and it uses the existing chimney. A properly-fitted insert can be almost as efficient as a wood stove.
Close Doors Leading into the Room
If you want to consolidate the heat generated by your fireplace, consider closing the doors leading into the room. Also, to reduce your home’s energy consumption while your fire is lit, consider dropping your thermostat to between 50 °F and 55 °F.
Seal Gaps Around Your Chimney, Exteriors and Interiors
Be sure to have any gaps around your chimney sealed to prevent heat from escaping. Also, check the exterior of your home for pipes that enter or exit and make sure there aren’t any gaps where the plumbing penetrates the exterior. Seal any gaps you may find.
Inside of your home fill any gaps around recessed lights in insulated ceilings, as well as gaps in unfinished spaces behind areas like cabinets and closets. If you find windows in your home that have air leaks, you can seal them with caulk. Gaps between exterior doors and your flooring can be covered using weatherstripping.
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