Gathering around the hearth is something that families have been doing for centuries. Unfortunately, this nostalgic action could be costing you money when it comes to your monthly utility costs. If you are looking for some simple ways to cut your energy use, look no further than your home's fireplace.
Here are three things you can do to your fireplace to save money on utilities:
1. Make sure your chimney's damper is closed tightly when you aren't using the fireplace.
In order to use your fireplace safely, you have to open the damper that typically keeps your chimney closed off from the elements. Opening the damper creates a back draft, meaning that air that has been heated by your furnace inside your home is sucked up into the chimney while cold air from outside finds its way back down the chimney and into your home.
This back draft causes your furnace to work harder in order to regulate the temperature in your home. A tightly closed damper can reduce the amount of furnace-heated air that escapes through your chimney by up to 8%, making your fireplace more energy efficient.
2. Add doors to your fireplace.
In addition to maintaining a tightly closed damper, you can help prevent back draft by installing doors on your fireplace. Fireplace doors made from ceramic or tempered glass can create a tight seal around the opening of your fireplace. This seal prevents furnace-heated air from being sucked into your chimney, and it also helps to keep cold air from coming down the chimney and into your home.
Preventing back draft from your chimney allows your furnace to more easily maintain a constant temperature within your home, which can significantly reduce your energy costs each month.
3. Install an inflatable fireplace plug if you won't be using your fireplace frequently.
If there are periods of time where your fireplace sees little use, you may want to consider installing an inflatable fireplace plug to help conserve energy. An unlit fireplace with an open damper can increase your heating costs by up to 30%. Over the course of a winter season, that could amount to $500 extra that you pay toward your utilities.
Opting to install an inflatable fireplace plug when your fireplace isn't in use will help prevent back draft from becoming a costly problem.
Finding ways to make your fireplace more energy efficient is simple. Be sure to fully close your damper, install fireplace doors, and install an inflatable fireplace plug when your chimney is not being used, and you will be on your way to enjoying significant savings on your monthly utility bills.