Fireplaces and their chimneys aren’t necessarily designed to produce large amounts of heat in a home. Traditional open masonry fireplaces and masonry chimneys are built primarily for their beauty and charm. If you’re finding that your heating bills keep rising, it’s possible that your chimney and fireplace are contributing to the problem. Doodlebuggers Fireplace, Grill & Outdoor Store of Pensacola, FL, and Destin, FL, would like to share some helpful information on how fireplaces can actually increase heating costs and what you can do about it.
A chimney and fireplace system is an “open” system, meaning it can provide a clear path for warm air to escape your home and cold air from outside to get into it. There are two ways to address this problem. One is by controlling the air flow, the other is by upgrading your fireplace. Let’s look at each.
The first thing you can do is make sure your fireplace damper, located just above the firebox and below the chimney flue, is fully closed when the fireplace isn’t in use. It’s a good idea to have your damper inspected as part of an annual chimney inspection, just to make sure it’s in good working order. You can keep more cold air out of the chimney flue by installing a top-mount damper, which is opened and closed with a lever from inside the home.
(Note that very cold flue air can make it difficult to get fires started, so a top-mount damper might help if you’re having this problem.)
An ingenious product called a “chimney plug” or a “chimney balloon” is a great way to stop the air exchange when you’re not using your fireplace. The plug goes just above the damper and is then inflated to block the passage of air.
Glass fireplace doors are another useful option when you want to reduce chimney drafts. When properly installed, they perfectly seal off the fireplace and look fantastic at the same time.
Fireplace blowers are installed in a fireplace and send warm air into the room. They work by bringing in cooler air from the house and replacing it with warmer air.
A powerful upgrade for a masonry fireplace is a fireplace insert. Inserts are built in a factory and are ready to be installed in your existing firebox. Because they operate on a “closed” system, they retain and make available far more heat than any traditional open fireplace.
A popular option for generating more heat is having a manufactured fireplace installed. Like inserts, manufactured models produce a lot more heat than standard fireplaces. These appliances are made to be installed in a wall.
Annual chimney and fireplace inspections can uncover other problem areas that might be contributing to heat loss, cold drafts and rising utility bills. A trained chimney inspector knows your system inside and out and has a wealth of knowledge on how to operate it in the most efficient way.
An inspector also will be able to spot early signs of damage, so you can get problems resolved before they become serious – and expensive – issues.
Doodlebuggers provides licensed chimney inspections, fireplace installations and complete chimney and fireplace repairs. We’re here to keep your system working the way it should.
Reach a chimney expert today at (850) 779-2567 in Pensacola, FL, or at (850) 779-4998 in the Destin, FL, area. You can also use our handy contact form.