Most fireplace users know the warmth from their fire tends to stay in the area immediately around their wood-burning appliance rather than circulating effectively through the home. What most people do not realize is that a typical fireplace can suck more heat out of a house than it produces. This can lead to your furnace running longer in turn driving up utility bills. Even though you feel toasty warm directly in front of the flames, the rest of the house gets very chilly.
Hi, I am Melissa from NorthlineExpress and today I am here with some simple things you can do to make your fireplace much more efficient and change it into an overall energy producer and money saver for your home.
Circulate Heat with a Fireplace Grate Heater
Two key improvements that will increase the efficiency of a fireplace are to reduce the amount of already heated room air from being lost up the chimney and the other is to direct more heat from the fire into the room. To accomplish both of these you can install a heat circulating grate in your fireplace.
We have a variety of models of heat circulating grates including models with a built-in thermostat and a variable speed blower. The thermostat turns the blower on automatically at 110 degrees and off at 90 degrees. Adding a heat circulating grate like the spitfire or the original grate heater is very easy; simply set them in place and plug in the blower and you’re ready to feel the difference that it will make.
Direct Heat into the Room with a Fireback
Another option you have to increase heat efficiency is to use a fireback in the back of your fireplace to radiate more of the fire’s heat into the room before it is lost up the chimney. Cast iron firebacks have been used for centuries to improve the efficiency of fireplaces. They are made of thick, heavy cast iron, which allows them to not only reflect heat, but also retain it and radiate it over time.
Cast iron fire backs come in a variety of designs, including both traditional and modern motifs. Cast iron firebacks have a classic look, so they’re perfect for older or colonial style homes. Because cast iron is heavy, these fire backs weigh a lot and can be difficult to move around. For more modern or easier to handle fire backs, consider one made of stainless steel.
A stainless steel fire back captures and radiates the heat of fire, too, but unlike the cast iron fire back, its surface is highly reflective. It doubles the light of the fire and makes the room appear much larger and brighter.
Either type of fire back has the potential to make your fireplace more efficient and save you money on fuel. An added bonus of fire backs is that they will also help protect the back wall of your fireplace from soot and erosion.
The #1 Way to Increase Fireplace Efficiency
The most optimal way to turn your fireplace into an efficient heat source is to install a fireplace insert. Installing a fireplace insert, completely draft proofs an open fireplace while the unit’s shell keeps heat in the room and away from the masonry.
An insert is constructed of a cast iron or steel box that fits inside your existing masonry fireplace opening, making it work much like a wood-burning stove. Inserts can produce enough heat for 1,000-3,000 sq. ft., depending on their size. You’ll want to size your insert to the square footage you are trying to heat.
Most inserts include a blower. The blower will circulate the warm air around the firebox back into the room for even more efficiency. This approach would be the most costly, but pays for itself by slashing those monthly heating bills because you can cut your other heating costs by 10%-40% with an insert.
We all love the crackle of the fire and the warm ambiance that comes along with is, but if you’re not careful that beautiful glow coming from your hearth could be costing you money. Almost all the heat generated by an open fireplace goes right up the chimney, often as much as 90%. By simply adding a heat circulating fireplace grate, a fire back, or a fireplace insert to your fireplace you can increase heat efficiency while cutting your energy costs.