A fireplace is not only an attractive feature of a home, it provides heat during cold weather. Turning down the thermostat and using the fireplace can actually save you money on heating costs. Here is how to get the most from your fireplace.
Step 1: Close the doors to the room where the fireplace is located. This will allow the lit fireplace to heat only that room without having to heat the rest of the house. Keep one window near the fire cracked to provide enough air for the fire to burn.
Step 2: Purchase a high quality grate. It should hold the logs in a way that maximizes heat flow to the room. Alternatively, purchase a grate with parallel, C-shaped tubes that point out to the room. These take in the cool air and emit heated air from the fire.
Step 3: Enclose the fireplace. Some enclosures have fans that circulate the heated air into the room. Even enclosures without a fan will keep the cool air from the room when the fireplace is not being used.
Step 4: When the fireplace is not in use, close the damper. This can save as much as 15 percent on the energy bill.
Step 5: Seal any gaps using caulk designed for use around a firebox and hearth.
Step 6: If the wood burning fireplace is not providing the warmth you need or is inefficient, convert it to a gas fireplace. Gas inserts containing fake logs can save money. They eliminate the need to purchase firewood, are steadier burning, and allow you to control the heat. Homes without fireplaces and chimneys can purchase a direct-vent fireplace that vents the gas outside through a duct.
Step 7: Consider other efficient traditional fireplace alternatives include wood burning stoves and pellet stoves.