Fireplaces are features of beauty and enjoyment; they serve as design focal points and warm havens on cold winter nights. However, fireplaces can also offer certain economic advantages. In addition to their aesthetic function, fireplaces contribute to the overall heating of your home. Because of this, your fireplace could help decrease your energy bill and increase your savings. There are several specific ways to truly maximize the resources of your fireplace. The following are some tips for increasing the energy efficiency of both wood burning and gas fireplaces — so that you can keep more money in your pocket every month.

Fireplace Placement

If you have not yet installed your fireplace, you can choose its placement in order to optimize its heat. With energy efficiency in mind, the best room to install a fireplace is the one used most often and by the most people. This does not include the kitchen, as kitchen appliances already generate their own heat. Generally speaking, this optimal room is usually a living room or great room — a room where the family gathers together to socialize and spend time. Alternatively, if you have a corner of the house that is not particularly well heated, installing a fireplace in that area could help the problem. Essentially, install your fireplace where it will be the most useful as a support to your furnace.

Zone Heating

Once you have a fireplace installed in your central area of living, you can use that fireplace to zone heat your home. To do this, turn the temperature down on your thermostat and allow your fireplace to heat your main living areas. This is more efficient because your central furnaces need to push large amounts of heat through your duct system, whereas your fireplace can directly heat the rooms you spend time in. In this way, zone heating can help reduce your overall energy consumption.

Damper Repair and Replacement

The damper is the metal plate in your fireplace that either, when open, allows your fire to properly draft or, when closed, seals your chimney and your home. A properly working damper prevents heat from escaping out of your chimney. However, a damaged damper can allow that warm air to leak out and cause your bills to skyrocket. Schedule a sweep and inspection to ensure that your damper is appropriately sealed to contain heat and keep your energy bills low.

Fireplace Inserts

In general, gas fireplaces are more energy efficient than wood burning fireplaces. With vent-free gas fireplaces, you eliminate the possibility of losing heat through the chimney. If you are very concerned about energy efficiency but have a traditional, masonry fireplace, you could consider installing a gas fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts are essentially metal fireplaces that fit into your masonry fireplace. This option could help improve your energy efficiency but also comes with some up-front costs.

The best way to optimize the energy efficiency of your home is to consult a professional. Whether you’d like to install a new energy efficient fireplace or improve the efficiency of your existing fireplace, Brick + Ember Outfitters can help. Contact us today, and we’d be happy to advise you — and hopefully lower your energy bills in the process!