A fireplace is an excellent way to add heat and ambiance to your home. Unfortunately, many open hearth fireplaces are extremely inefficient; this means that using them can cause you to lose more heat then you are generating.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that homeowners can improve the efficiency of their fireplaces. Two of the easiest and most economical ways to improve fireplace efficiency is by installing fireplace doors and firebacks. These fireplace accessories can change the look of your fireplace while also minimizing heat loss.
The efficiency of your fireplace depends on the size, type, and fuel source of the unit. Gas fireplace inserts are the most efficient fireplaces on the market today; the closed circuit combustion allows these inserts to burn as high as 92-99% efficiently. Fireplace inserts that burn pellets and wood are also fairly efficient, with most burning between 50-80% efficiency; pellet stoves are sometimes considered a “greener” fuel source because the pellets are made from recycled materials.
While open hearth wood fireplaces are both traditional and popular, they are also extremely inefficient. Most open hearth fireplaces are at best 10% efficient, meaning 90% of the heat generated by the fire is being lost up the chimney. There are a number of ways that homeowners can combat fireplace inefficiency.
How can I improve fireplace efficiency?
If you have an open hearth fireplace, accessories may be the best way to improve efficiency without installing a completely new fireplace. Two easy to install accessories that can greatly improve efficiency are fireplace doors and firebacks.
- Fireplace doors: Glass fireplace doors can improve the safety, aesthetics, and efficiency of your open hearth fireplace. When the fireplace is not in use, closing the glass doors can prevent conditioned air from leaking out of the chimney or from downdrafts blowing outside air in. Fireplace doors are also an excellent deterrent for small hands – or paws – that like to come near the fireplace; depending on the heat resistance of the glass, doors can be partially or fully closed while the fire is burning to help keep sparks and coals inside the firebox and off of your furnishings and carpets. Lastly, fireplace doors can be used to makeover the look of a fireplace without refacing or replacing masonry.
- Firebacks: A fireback is a large piece of metal such as wrought or cast iron. Placed at the back of the firebox, firebacks are used to help retain and reflect heat away from the chimney and back into the room. This can increase the amount of heat created by the fire without the technological challenge of installing new fans or units. Firebacks are sometimes plain but often come in a variety of decorative designs; this can allow you to choose a fireback that reflects the style of your home.
Fireplace doors and firebacks are important fireplace accessories that can help improve safety and efficiency. For more information about installing one of these accessories in your home, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!