Is Your Chimney Adding to Your Heating Bill?
If your heating bills are rising even though you are using your fireplace, your chimney may be to blame. That’s because a drafty fireplace and chimney problems can affect its heating efficiency.
For starters, a traditional wood-burning fireplace is surprisingly inefficient. As much as 90% of the heat goes up the chimney instead of warming your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Fortunately, there are a few things homeowners can do to enjoy the warmth of a cozy fireplace and reduce energy costs too.
Check Your Damper
Many homeowners forget to close the damper after the fire is out and end up losing much of the heat from their home up through the chimney. When the damper is shut, it should form an airtight seal around the flue to prevent heat loss in the firebox. However, they can become warped or corroded, which will affect its ability to seal correctly, allowing air to escape and increase energy costs. Repairing or replacing the damper will help reduce heat loss.
You can also adjust the damper to prevent heat loss during a wood-burning fire. Although the damper must be open when starting the fire, you can partially close it after you have a nice fire going. Closing the damper approximately one-third of the way will help retain more heat in the firebox while allowing the fumes to vent through the chimney.
Consider a Top-Sealing Damper
Typically, the damper is installed in the chimney throat, an area just above the firebox. This location deep inside the chimney allows the cold outside area to cool down the interior walls and flue liner. A top-sealing damper, on the other hand, is mounted on top of the chimney. Since it seals the entire flue, it significantly reduces the loss of heat when the fireplace is not in use. It also does a better job of preventing chimney drafts and keeping small animals, debris, and pests out of the chimney.
Replace Your Flue Liner
Flue liners are necessary to protect your home from the intense heat inside the chimney and fireplace. Clay tile liners are among the most popular due to low cost. However, they are not very effective at absorbing or distributing the heat inside the chimney. It is a contributing factor to heat loss. They also can crack and split open during high temperatures, requiring more frequent repairs.
Installing a UL-listed stainless-steel flue liner will increase the efficiency of your fireplace. One of the many benefits is that it effectively retains and distributes heat inside the chimney keeping your home warmer for a more extended period. It also requires less maintenance and can be used in masonry chimneys with a wood-burning or gas fireplace.
Repair Masonry Cracks
The chimney is exposed to freezing rain, snow, and other weather conditions that could cause cracks in the bricks and gaps in the mortar joints. It’s like an open window that allows the cooler external air to mix with the warmer air in the flue, which could result in a substantial loss of heat. Have a Chimney Professional repair any masonry damage as soon as you notice it.