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How to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Fireplace

small_4317796992Using your fireplace can be a great way to spend time with your family and stay warm on a cold winter night. But did you know that your fireplace can also have an effect on your energy bills, even when it’s not in use? Today we’re going to take a look at how your fireplace relates to your home’s energy consumption and what you can do to improve its efficiency.

What does your fireplace have to do with the efficiency of your HVAC system?

When you are using your fireplace, the fire adds a certain amount of heat to your home. As you’ll see below, you can take advantage of that extra heat source by adjusting your thermostat. This will give your furnace a break and decrease its energy consumption.

When you aren’t using your fireplace, it can affect the efficiency of your HVAC system in the opposite way. Your fireplace opens up to the outdoors, which makes it susceptible to air leaks. If your fireplace is not properly sealed, conditioned air can leak out of it all year long.

How to improve the efficiency of your fireplace

  • Using your fireplace? Take advantage of the extra heat. As we mentioned above, your fireplace will add heat to the room that it’s in. If you lower your thermostat during the hours that your fireplace is in use, you can decrease your furnace’s energy consumption and cut down on your utility bills.
  • Not using your fireplace? Close the damper. Your fireplace has a damper that opens and closes to allow smoke to vent outside. When you aren’t using your fireplace, it’s crucial that you keep that damper closed. Leaving it open is the same as leaving a window open in the middle of winter!
  • Notice air leaks around your fireplace? Seal them up. Air leaks can develop inside your fireplace as well as around its hearth. If you notice any air leaks in or around your fireplace, seal them with caulk. Also, be sure to check that your fireplace damper is completely sealed when it’s closed. Dampers can get bent or worn out over time, which will leave openings for air to pass right through.
  • NEVER use your fireplace? Seal it permanently. If you never plan on using the fireplace in your home, you can permanently plug and seal it up. That way, you’ll never have to worry about the condition of the damper or air leaks developing in your fireplace.

If you have any questions about improving the efficiency of your fireplace, or if you’d like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis HVAC company. We service the St. Louis area and surrounding cities like Cottleville, Des Peres and Wentzville.

photo credit: kungfubonanza via photopin cc