Wood-burning fireplaces are charming and romantic, but they’re among the most energy-inefficient devices in a home. Keep yours from sucking the heat out of your home and the money out of your wallet.
- Close the dampers whenever you’re not burning a fire. Fireplaces can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to the outside and bring an equal amount of cold air back into the house. Using one is like keeping a 48-inch window open all winter long.
- Seal the fireplace as tightly as possible. Caulk the hearth.
- Keep a window slightly open in the room while the fire is burning to prevent a build-up of fumes or gases coming from the wood.
- Never — even to save warmth and heating costs — close a fireplace damper while there are still hot ashes in the fireplace. Heat that cannot escape can cause a low-level explosion that can shoot embers out of the hearth and onto fire-prone carpets and magazines that may be in the room.