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Improving the Heating Efficiency of a Fireplace

By: Danny Lipford
Fire in wood burning fireplace.

Wood burning fireplace with blower for extracting and circulating heat.

Traditional wood burning fireplaces look great, but they’re not a very efficient way to heat your home, since they only heat one room at best and remove heated air from the house through the chimney.

To improve heating efficiency of fireplaces:

  • Add glass doors to wood burning fireplaces.
  • Install a metal firebox with blower to circulate warm air.
  • Close the damper when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Convert wood burning fireplaces to gas logs.

Watch this video to find out more.

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Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Now that fall has arrived, we all begin to anticipate the changes that are coming—changing leaves, the cooler temperatures, and a whole new wardrobe to go with them.

For many people the first time they use their fireplace each year is an important milestone on that path. But before you get too excited, you should know that this is not the most efficient way to heat your home.

The radiant heat most fireplaces supply usually covers one room at best. Plus, traditional wood burning fireplaces create a convection current that actually pulls the warm air out of your house and right up the chimney. Now I’m not suggesting that you brick up your fireplace, just that you recognize it for what it is and make it as efficient as possible.

If you have a wood burner, be sure to have a pro inspect the firebox, damper, and chimney. They may be able to suggest a few improvements, like adding glass doors to block drafts or a gas insert to improve the performance of your fireplace.

Now a direct vent gas fireplace, like this one, is sealed off from the living space; so it gets air for combustion from the outside. Some models even include blowers that circulate air around the firebox and exhaust that heated air into the room to increase their efficiency.

Believe me, once you know your fireplace is as efficient as it can be; it’s easier to sit back and enjoy it while the temperatures drop outside.



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