Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

Save Energy, Get Warm


Increasing Energy-Efficiency

Feel like you haven’t been getting the most out of your fireplace lately? Is your fire not quite warming you up? Are you hassled with smoke? Going through firewood a little too fast? An energy efficient fireplace is one that is performing its best. Don’t settle for less! At Basic Chimney, we’re huge supporters of efficiency. Below are some diagnostic tools to help you get maximum performance from your fireplace. And remember, one of the best things you can do for your fireplace is to maintain the chimney’s annual cleaning.

The great thing about increasing energy-efficiency in your home is that you will also save money.

The great thing about increasing energy-efficiency in your home is that you will also save money.

Can’t quite get warm?

If your fires aren’t heating your space as well as you’d like, you should consider changing the type of wood you’re using. If your wood isn’t seasoned or is damp, it takes a lot more energy from the fire just to stay burning, because it has to work so hard just to warm that water up in order to burn the wood. We always recommend burning seasoned, dry hardwoods. Hardwoods don’t necessarily burn at higher temperatures, but they do burn more slowly, which will help you get a nice, hot fire that burns for longer. Another trick to heating up that fire is to have tempered glass doors installed. This minimizes the fire’s consumption of warm air from your home.

Smoke gets in your eyes.

Yeah, it’s a beautiful song, but it’s not a beautiful thing. Not only is smoke a pest to the eyes and throat—it’s also dangerous for your health. If your fires are smoky, you might have a little work cut out for you. Sometimes it’s a quick and simple fix, and sometimes it takes a little trial and error. Follow these steps to determine what’s causing the problem:

  1. Check your firewood. As I said above, be sure your wood is dry and seasoned. Damp or green wood takes a lot longer to heat up, which prevents complete combustion (when the fire heats up enough to burn clean and combust its fuels) and doesn’t do much except produce smoke.
  2. Open your damper. It’s easy to forget things, so check to be sure that your damper is all the way open when you’re ready to light a fire.
  3. Open a window or door. It might seem counterintuitive to let the cold air in, but that might be exactly what your fire needs to get going and heat up your home. Fires consume a lot—and I mean a lot—of air. It’ll use up all the air in your about three times during 24 hours of operation. If it runs out of air supply, it’ll start pulling it down through the chimney, which forces the smoke back down and into the home.

My firewood is disappearing before my eyes!

It isn’t magic, either. Just like I mentioned above, hardwoods will burn at a high and consistent temperature if they are dry and seasoned. They also burn longer, which will get you more for your money. Remember, though—you’ll still want to keep a little soft wood on hand for kindling, since you want something that will burn a little faster to get the fire going.

Tried it all and still no luck? Give us a call and we’ll help you get well on your way to a healthy, clean fireplace that will keep you warm for years to come.



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