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energy bills
fireplace dampers
inch gap
embers
five feet
Seal Your Fireplace And Save On Your Energy Bills
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Does your home have masonry fireplaces? Did you know that masonry fireplaces are not very energy efficient? That's because the draft in the chimney draws valuable warmed air from your house up the chimney and out into the outside air. If you're like many people, you like to sit in front of a wood fire in the fireplace and feel that warm, comfortable radiant heat that comes from a burning fire. While it is true that the radiant heat from the fireplace puts warmth into your home, that heat is more than offset by the wasted heat rising up the chimney.

Whether you heat with electricity, oil or propane -- you are paying for all that wasted heat from your fireplace. How much is being wasted depends on how poorly your damper is sealed when closed.

Clean out your fireplace and inspect the damper using a bright flashlight. Look at the metal-to-metal seal at the edge of the damper flap. Note any gaps. Look around the damper unit for any gaps. A two-foot damper has a perimeter of as much as five feet. If there was as much as a 1/8th inch gap around that perimeter, you'd have a total gap of about 7.5 square inches. That's like having an three-inch chimney piped to the outside -- always discharging your valuable warm air.

When you want to let the fire die down

When you are done for the night you let the fire die down. But you must leave the fireplace damper open so that carbon monoxide, smoke and other gases continue to go up the chimney. The chimney's draft continues to draw warm air from your house along with combustion gases. As long as your fireplace damper remains open, you are wasting valuable warm air.

When you finally close the fireplace damper

When all the embers are gone and the ashes are cold, you finally close the damper so that no more warm air is wasted. But if you think there is no more wasted heat, you're wrong. Most fireplace dampers are not sealed even though they are closed. There is a gap between the damper flap and the damper seat. Warm air from your house is drawn through that gap and up through the chimney. This happens all winter -- even when you are not using the fireplace.

Another source of heat loss is directly through the metal damper. Warm air in your house warms the metal surface of the damper. On the other side of the damper the air is colder so heat is continually transferred through the metal to the colder outside air.

When you turn the air conditioning on in hot weather

Still another source of energy loss is during the summer when your house is air conditioned. Your valuable cooled air is drawn around the damper through the imperfectly sealed damper seat.

Save on your energy bill

When you add together all the sources of wasted energy due to your fireplace, you can see that it might make sense to seal the fireplace and save money on your energy bills. If you haven't used your fireplace for a long time, seal it up and save money.

If you like the idea of a fire in your fireplace, switch to an electric fireplace insert. There are electric fireplace units on the market today that offer the realistic look of a wood fire plus heat. Seal up your fireplace, install an electric fireplace insert and save money.

Seal the fireplace and save on your energy bill


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