The cold winters in the Anoka and Bloomington areas mean that residents are always looking for ways to get more heat in their homes. And one of the most common additional heating sources in our area is a fireplace. It adds warmth and beauty to your home while being reasonably economical to fuel. But these features can also be wasteful if you have not got the proper setup.
How A Fireplace Works
When you have a fire in your home’s fireplace, it combines oxygen with the combustible material in the wood to create heat. For the fire to continue burning, it needs to constantly draw more air or oxygen from your room. So there is always a flow of air into the fireplace. And unfortunately, that flow continues up the chimney, taking much of the heat with it. As well all know, warm air rises.
The heat that you feel when sitting in front of the fireplace is just a tiny fraction of the heat produced by the fire. So our goal is to improve the fireplace’s efficiency while also reducing the heat loss through convection or the air flowing up through the chimney.
A More Efficient Fireplace
There is no way to stop the flow of heat upwards when a fire is burning. But you can take steps to increase the radiant heat to warm your home better. For example, using an electric blower or partially closing the damper will reduce heat loss. Another option is to place a glass barrier, or glass doors, at the front of the fireplace. The glass doors reduce the draw from the room that is sapping your already warmed air. But you cannot eliminate the fire’s air source, or it will not continue to burn.
Fire Place Inserts
A fireplace insert goes a step beyond the glass door installation. An insert provides a massive decrease in heat loss. It is vented to the outside air, so there is no draw inside the house to remove warmed air. And because this is a closed system, it burns more efficiently and hotter than an open fire. So you will enjoy much more radiant heat coming into the room.
If you are a huge fan of an open fire, a retrofit will increase the efficiency of your fireplace without an insert. The process reshapes and sizes the firebox to make it more efficient. Typically, the firebox is extended to be deeper, and vents to the outside air are added. These two key changes will produce more heat and reduce the amount of warm air the fire is drawing from your home.
Preseason Safety And Service
To ensure that you get the most from your fireplace this winter, be sure to have the chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected. It is vital to know that the damper seals well when the fireplace is not in use so that you are not losing warmed air. Call 952-208-4570 to speak to the experts at Blue Ox Heating And Air if you have any questions about your fireplace this season.