5 Simple Ways to Get More Heat Out of Your Fireplace
There is something about a wood-burning fireplace that brings families and friends closer together. But as is the case with traditional fireplaces, they are more about aesthetics than function. They aren’t an efficient source of heat. Most of the heat is lost through the chimney along with smoke, soot, and exhaust. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several simple ways to increase its heating efficiency to get more heat out of your fireplace.
Your fireplace will operate more efficiently (and safely) when it’s clean. The remnants of a wood-burning fire and unusually excessive creosote build-up is not only a fire hazard, but it also restricts heat output. While you may be able to clean the fireplace yourself, it’s not really a DIY job. Only a trained chimney sweep that follows industry-standard guidelines has the skills, equipment, and supplies to thoroughly clean the chimney without damaging the masonry or any of its components.
Your chimney sweep will also inspect your fireplace and chimney to ensure its safe to operate.
Burn quality seasoned firewood
There is a difference between freshly cut or “green” wood and seasoned firewood. Burning green firewood is not recommended. The high moisture content will cause the fire to burn very fast at a lower temperature. It will also cause excessive smoke and a higher concentration of creosote residue. Not only is it more hazardous, but you won’t get much heat.
On the other hand, wood that has been seasoned or dried for at least six months contains much less moisture. So, it will burn slower and at higher temperatures. Your fire-burning experience will last longer, and you will be warmer too. Here’s another tip about firewood: Harder woods burn hotter than softer woods. For instance, black birch burns at approximately 26 BTUs per cord, while something softer like Sycamore provides about 19 BTUs of heat per cord. You can control the heat output just by burning a different wood species.
Use the damper to minimize downdrafts
The damper must be open when you light the fireplace. It will provide the oxygen the fire needs to grow into a beautiful glowing flame. But once you have a nice flame going, you can partially close the damper to minimize heat loss through the chimney and minimize downdrafts. Be careful not to close the damper all the way when you have a fire in the fireplace, or you will starve the fire of oxygen and increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Stainless-steel flue liner
Clay tile is among the most common flue liners. But they are susceptible to cracking and frequently need repairs. When the flue liner is damaged, or if the chimney is unlined, it reduces the heating efficiency of your fireplace. It also increases the risk of a chimney fire. You can increase the efficiency of your fireplace with a UL-listed stainless-steel liner. They require minimal maintenance, are easy to clean, and will increase your fireplace heating efficiency.
Retain the heat with glass fireplace doors
Many homeowners enjoy an intimate campfire experience that an open fireplace offers. But although its upwards of 1100°F in the fire, an open fireplace doesn’t make the room feel any warmer. That’s because the cold outside air is being drawn into the fireplace with the warmer interior air. Installing glass tempered doors and closing them when the fire is burning out will retain more heat in your living space.