There’s nothing like sitting by a blazing, wood-burning fireplace on a cold winter day but there are some steps you can take to make it a healthier, more energy-efficient experience.
- Hot air rises, and the heat generated by the fire is going up the chimney. Warm, conditioned air from throughout your home also is being drawn with it and being sent right out of the house. Some important steps that will reduce this effect are
- Closing the fireplace doors
- Closing the doors of the room where the fireplace is located
- Slightly opening a window right near the fireplace
- When building the fireplace during home construction, install a vent to the outdoors right in the firebox
- When you’ve finished with your fire, thoroughly douse it and close the fireplace damper. Even when there is no fire, an open chimney is a large, direct path to the outdoors for your household heat.
Gas fireplaces are handy and clean but present a couple of issues in addition to those covered above.
- A fossil fuel is being burned to generate the fire
- Natural gas contains radon, a heavy radioactive gas. Ideally the gas fireplace insert does not have a permanent pilot light that is constantly emitting gas and radon into the indoor air (read our blog on Radon)
- The fireplace doors should be closed when the gas fireplace is in use to contain fumes as much as possible