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Fireplace increasing your heating bills?

There’s nothing quite like cozying up to a warm open hearth fireplace in the dead of winter, watching the hypnotic dance of the flames while the cold winds rage outside. What you may not realize is that using a fireplace is not conducive to energy conservation and may actually increase your heating bills.

The heat from a fireplace is confined to the area nearby and it doesn’t radiate to the rest of the room or the rest of the house. Heated air from other parts of the house is drawn into the fireplace and updrafts right up the chimney, while cold air from the outdoors is sucked in to replace the heated air in the house. This cold air now must be heated by the furnace system, making it work harder. That’s why you’ll notice that generally, when you use your fireplace, other parts of the house seem unusually cold. Nothing beats the fireplace for the warm ambiance, but you should consider using an energy-efficient insert or stove, if you want to conserve energy and control heating costs. Here are a few tips to increase your fireplace efficiency:
Increasing fireplace efficiency is an environmentally friendly choice not only for reducing energy consumption but also because less pollutants are released into the indoor air.

  1. Fireplace glass doors create a barrier between the living space and the chimney, and increase safety by protecting children from the fire.
  2. Top sealing dampers can be installed at the top of the chimney to keep heated or cooled air inside the house and keep the outside air out all year-round. 
  3. A cast iron plate called a fireback can be placed at the back of your fireplace. It protects the back wall from fire damage and absorbs heat from the fire and radiates it back into the room.
  4. A fireplace heater pulls fresh air from the room, circulates it through a chamber heated by the fire and then blows it back into the room.

Most of these products can be purchased online and are easy to install yourself.