Getting the Most From Your Wood-Burning Fireplace
While it’s true there are more efficient ways to heat your home, nothing beats the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace. And even if you rely solely on the fireplace as a secondary heat source, we want to help you get the most out of it. Below are our top tips to help ensure your fireplace is cozy, safe, and effective all winter long.
Choose the Right Wood
The type of wood you burn significantly affects your fireplace’s efficiency. Hardwoods like oak, hickory, and maple have a higher energy content than softwoods, providing more heat output and a longer burn time.
However, you must only use seasoned firewood — wood that’s been dried for at least six months — because it burns hotter and cleaner than fresh wood, which has a higher moisture content. Green or fresh wood produces more smoke, leading to excessive creosote buildup in the chimney, creating a fire hazard.
Keep the Fireplace and Chimney Clean
They say cleanliness is next to godliness, but it’s also key to an efficient wood-burning fireplace.
A dirty fireplace isn’t just a fire hazard; it creates more smoke, burns fuel less efficiently, and can cause your home to smell like an ashtray. Experts recommend getting your chimney swept and inspected at least once a year by a trained professional to remove creosote buildup. Also, keep the firebox free from ash as much as possible.
Consider a Fireback
A fireback is a piece of cast iron or stainless steel at the fireplace’s rear. Its main purpose is to protect the back wall from heat damage, but it also helps reflect heat back into the room. This simple, inexpensive addition can increase your fireplace’s heat output by up to 50%.
Optimize Air Circulation
Make sure your room is set up to circulate the warm air efficiently by using a ceiling fan on a low setting or your fireplace’s blower if it has one. A fan or blower spreads heat through the room, making it more comfortable and helping you use less wood to keep warm.
Close Off Unused Rooms
Heat is precious in winter, so you want to keep it where you need it. Close the doors to unused rooms to prevent the warm air from the fireplace from dissipating into unoccupied spaces. If you have a two-story home, remember that heat rises, so you might want to block the stairwell with a curtain to keep the warm air isolated to the room you’re occupying.
Install Glass Doors
Glass doors make your fireplace safer by preventing sparks and embers from flying into the room and young children and pets from getting burned.
Use Your Damper
The damper controls the amount of air flowing through the chimney. When burning a fire, you can adjust the damper to control the fire’s intensity and heat output. And when the fire goes out, close it to prevent the warm air from escaping.
Implementing these tips will help you get the most out of your fireplace and maximize its heating potential. A wood-burning fireplace is more than a heat source; it’s a beautiful focal point that provides an experience like nothing else.
Call the Certified Chimney Experts
If you’re in the Buffalo, NY, area, you can count on the chimney and fireplace experts at Felgemacher. We have over 65 years of industry experience, and our team is here to help you get the most out of your chimney and fireplace.
Our technicians are fully certified by the National Fireplace Institute and the Chimney Safety Institute of America, so you can trust our work is safe and accurate.
Whether you need chimney cleaning, inspection, repairs, rebuilding, or anything in between, we’ve got you covered.