Your Fireplace and Expensive Energy Bills

10.25.19

As temperatures begin to drop, it’s natural to start thinking about keeping your home as warm and cozy as possible. But did you know that your fireplace could be making your energy bill more expensive?

If you choose to use your fireplace, you need to make some easy and quick adjustments to your home.

Don’t Let Your Damper be a Downer. 

Did you know? Gas and wood fireplaces are the most inefficient heat sources you can use in your home (U.S. Department of Energy). The reason? Your fireplace damper. If your damper is open or unsealed, heated air goes up the chimney, and cold outside air is being sucked in to replace it. The result? Your overall energy consumption could go up by as much as 30%, or around $200 a year. And, to make matters worse, between 80–90% of the heat produced in an open fireplace using wood is lost up the chimney, which means that for every $100 you spend on firewood, you get around $10-$20 worth of heat.

If you are going to use your fireplace, be sure to do the following:

  • • Close your dampers when not in use.
  • • Check that your damper seal is in good condition, and if it isn’t, have it fixed.
  • • Install and use glass fireplace doors.

Indoor Air Quality

The importance of indoor air quality cannot be overstated.

  • • Dirty indoor air breeds bacteria, fungus, mold, mildew, and other microbes that are unhealthy for you and your family.
  • • Asthma and allergy sufferers, children and the elderly, and those prone to respiratory illnesses are particularly sensitive to indoor air pollutants.
  • • A shocking statistic by the EPA: Indoor air hazardous pollutant levels can be up to 70 times greater than in the outdoor air.

Add a fireplace to the mix, and suddenly you’re introducing dangerous pollutants into the air including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particles.

  • • Nitrogen dioxide irritates the eyes, throat, and nose and can also cause shortness of breath.
  • • Carbon monoxide causes flu-like symptoms and interferes with the body’s ability to utilize oxygen.
  • • Particles like ash, dust, and wood fragments are released during the incomplete burning of any fuel and can cause damage to the lungs.

So, what can you do to be sure that your fireplace isn’t harming your health and your indoor air quality?

  • • Choose the right fuel: dry, seasoned wood. Never use wet, painted, or treated wood.
  • • Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year.

Talk to Stuart Pro about a whole-house air purifier. An air purifier will help with smoke pollution, and it may also lessen allergy symptoms and improve your indoor air quality.