Can Your Chimney Raise Your Energy Bill?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity costs have risen an average of 8 percent in the last twelve months. However, many homeowners in Kenosha and surrounding southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois communities notice higher energy bills, despite using a wood-burning fireplace or stove for home heating. So let’s look at why your chimney is causing your energy bill to go up, up, and away.
A traditional masonry fireplace is more effective as a decorative home feature than a primary or supplementary heating source. That’s because over 80 percent of the heat goes up the chimney with smoke and gases. So, how can you make your traditional fireplace more energy efficient? One simple and affordable solution is to install an EPA-certified fireplace insert. This self-containing closed combustion system retains most of the heat in the firebox, while a fan blower radiates heat into the living space. Burlington Fireplace & Solar has an impressive selection of energy-efficient wood and gas-burning inserts that will keep your home warm and cozy while reducing energy costs.
The Stack Effect
The stack effect is the difference in air pressure as oxygen moves through the home or building. For instance, your fireplace or stove warms the cold outside air drawn into the firebox, dispersing radiated heat into the living space. When the airflow is impeded, it can cause the stack effect, which reduces the heating efficiency of the appliance. Some of the reasons include:
- Exhaust fans.
- Open windows or doors.
- Clothes dryers.
- Air leaks from window seals, doorways, and other cracks in the building.
- The temperature is warmer outside than inside.
Your chimney needs sufficient draft to start and maintain a productive fire. An interruption in the airflow or draft reduces the appliance’s heating efficiency, causing your energy bill to go up. While the stack effect is one reason, there are other possible causes of chimney draft problems. One common cause is using freshly cut or green wood. The high moisture content in fresh timber burns faster, at lower temperatures, with more creosote and pollution. Thus, you must keep adding logs to maintain a warm fire. You can solve this issue by burning hard, dense woods that have been seasoned or dried for at least six months. The low moisture content burns hotter and slower, producing a warmer, longer-lasting fire while using less fuel. It produces significantly less creosote too.
Most fireplaces have a damper installed in the chimney throat, between the firebox and flue tile. When shut, it creates an airtight seal to prevent conditioned air from escaping through the chimney. Normal wear and tear, corrosion, and a chimney fire can damage the damper or gasket, causing your energy bill to continue rising. We recommend installing a top-sealing damper. It’s higher energy efficiency will lower heating bills.
Certified Chimney Inspection, Cleaning, Repairs & Installation in Waukegan, IL – Lake Geneva WI
If your energy bills keep going up, your chimney may be the cause. Call Burlington Fireplace at 262-763-3522 today to schedule a chimney inspection. Our certified chimney professionals will inspect your chimney, vents, and attached heating appliances. Then, we will recommend the improvements you can make to improve heating efficiency in your home, reducing energy costs. We serve customers in communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Or contact us online for a free estimate.