For centuries, homeowners have been using fireplaces to heat their homes. Wood is the oldest fuel used to heat residential homes. In this day and age, people have found alternative ways to heat their homes, from oil fired boilers, natural gas furnaces, propane heaters and electric baseboard heaters. We have made this switch due to the extended efficiency of the fuels. Fireplaces are now used for nothing more than being aesthetically pleasing. Fireplaces have turned into a place where heating and cooling is lost. There are ways to reduce the energy loss, it’s just a matter of what you want out of our fireplace.
One way to prevent heating and cooling from leaving through the fireplace is by updating the damper. Most fireplaces are outfitted with a throat damper. A throat damper is typically found inside the fireplace above the firebox. Since the damper is so close to the fire, the damper is not able to make a 100% seal. Installing a top sealing damper will ensure the fireplace and chimney will make a 100% seal. Top sealing dampers get installed at the top of the chimney and since the damper is far away from the fire, it is able to have a gasket seal. A cable will run down the flue attached to the top damper and there will be a mounting bracket on the wall of the fireplace to lock the damper down. The top dampers are also outfitted with a chimney cap to protect the flue from moisture entering the chimney while the fireplace is in use.
Another way to update a fireplace is by installing a fireplace insert. A fireplace insert is a wood stove that will be installed in the fireplace. The fireplace insert will maximize the heat output of the fireplace. When a traditional fireplace is being used, it actually sucks more heat out of the house than it will put out. A fireplace insert, such as a Napoleon wood stove, are made to be airtight. A flexible chimney liner will be connected to the fireplace insert and extend to the top of the chimney. Most fireplace inserts have a blower that will help circulate the heat to adjacent rooms. Another benefit of a fireplace insert is the fact you are able to load the wood stove before you go to bed and you will wake up to hot coals in the morning. Fireplace inserts are also outfitted with a flashing kit to give the wood stove a nice, finished look in the fireplace.
If burning wood is a thing of the past for you, installing a gas fireplace is another great option. Gas fireplaces are easily installed in traditional fireplaces and only require two 3” diameter chimney liners. Most fireplaces have room for two 3” diameter chimney liners inside the chimney. Most gas fireplaces are equipped with a thermostat. This way you can set the heat output for the room and walk away. Unlike wood burning inserts, gas fireplace inserts do not put out as much heat, so they are mostly used as room heaters. But like a wood burning fireplace insert, a gas insert will also have a flashing kit to give the insert a nice look.
If you want the heat output of wood burning, but you don't want the hassle of cutting wood, then a wood pellet burning fireplace insert is a great option. Wood pellets are small pieces of compacted wood that burn very hot. Wood pellet inserts have a hopper that you can fill and get hours and hours of burning in one load, typically up to 40 hours depending on the heat setting. Wood pellets can be purchased in either 40 pound bags or by the ton. A wood pellet insert will have a 3 inch exhaust in the back of the stove. If the height of your chimney is taller than 15 foot, it is recommended to use a 4 inch diameter flexible liner. Like gas burning inserts, pellet inserts are outfitted with a thermostat to control the temperature of the space. But unlike gas fireplace inserts, a wood pellet insert will provide a lot of heat output.
If you are tired of a drafty fireplace, there are ways to improve the efficiency of it. Installing a fireplace insert will increase the efficiency of your home and are environmently friendly. Wood, gas, or pellet inserts burn much cleaner than a traditional fireplaces; making a dirty fireplace into an eco-friendly way to heat your home.