Greater Fireplace Efficiency? Start with a Chimney Cleaning
When a fireplace and chimney are built or installed, they’re capable of performing at high efficiency. As time passes, that efficiency can dwindle. There can be many reasons for this. Anything that impedes the flow of air within the fireplace system will cause the unit to operate below peak performance. If fireplace efficiency is a problem for you, start with a chimney cleaning.
Addressing creosote buildup
With a wood-burning fireplace, every fire you build leaves sticky creosote deposits on the inside of the flue liner. It’s unavoidable, and the buildup will continue to the point the ventilation is compromised and the overall efficiency of the unit begins sliding down.
Large amounts of creosote not only lower the efficiency of your fireplace but also present a serious danger. Creosote is highly flammable and is the cause of the majority of house fires in the United States.
A professional chimney sweep is the only person you should hire to perform chimney cleaning. These individuals have the tools and know-how to do the job correctly and safely.
Other ways to get the most out of your fireplace
Fireplaces that burn wood aren’t considered powerful heating appliances. If you have a traditional masonry fireplace and want more heat, consider adding a fireplace insert. These units fit right into your existing firebox and instantly boost the heat with efficiency ratings of 70 percent and higher.
Another way in which fireplaces can be problematic is when air escapes them or gets into them at times when no fire is burning. This air flow can pull cool air from your home in the summer and bring in cold air during the winter. A top-sealing damper will help to solve this problem. You can operate the new device from inside the house, giving you extra protection against drafts.
Build efficient fires
Regardless of the type of fireplace or insert you have, if you’re burning logs, you need to burn logs that are completely dry (seasoned). Green, or wet logs don’t burn completely and create significantly more smoke (and therefore creosote) than seasoned logs. Complete burns mean more heat and less smoke. For longer burn times and more powerful heat, use hardwoods such as hickory, oak, maple, beech and ash.
Fireplace and chimney inspection
A fireplace can lose efficiency over time for a variety of reasons. Some are fairly obvious, others can’t be determined without a thorough inspection performed by a trained technician. Chimney sweeps look not only for creosote buildup and other possible obstructions in your chimney, but they also inspect for damage to any element within the fireplace system with an eye toward catching problems early. Annual inspections are a must for all residential fireplaces.
Burlington Fireplace of Wisconsin can help you keep your fireplace clean, safe and efficient. We provide complete inspection, cleaning, maintenance and repair services for homes throughout the greater Burlington region. Schedule an appointment or get your questions answered at (262) 763-3522.