While gas and oil prices continue to rise, or unexpected loss of power, you may be looking for additional options to supplement your heat.
At first thought you might be thinking that your fireplace is great for heating the house and providing some economical warmth during the colder months. Although they can create a cozy and charming atmosphere, they seldom push much heat back into the house.
Fireplaces use a considerable amount of air to operate, and that air comes from inside the house, and exhausts up through the chimney. The air inside the home is replenished with the colder outside air, through a window frame, door gaps and other passage ways. Checking the condition of your windows and door seals, should be a yearly inspection. Making sure they seal properly and using caulk or foam sealant around some of these areas will prevent air gaps.
Don't forget about the fireplace damper and make sure it fully closes and seals tightly when the fireplace is not being used. Standard fireplace dampers do not seal off air very well. If yours does not, you may want to replace it with a Top Mounted Damper. These dampers are attached to the top of the chimney flue, and operate with a stainless steel cable, down through the chimney and connects to the inside of the fireplace. When the cable is pulled, it closes off all of the air flow in the chimney, make sure you release the cable before your next fire.
If you're not happy with the amount of heat that your fireplace is putting out, most fireplaces can be adapted to use either a stove or firelpace insert, with options of Wood, Gas, or Pellets as fuel. These options will produce considerably more heat that will radiate out into your living area.