For many of us, our wood burning fireplaces create a comforting ambiance on a cold winter day, but the warmth it provides, unfortunately, is usually more show than substance. The explanation is simple enough. Warm air rises. Because of this scientific fact, the majority of the heat produced by your fire attempts to escape through your chimney rather than staying down in your house. Not only that, this rising hot air creates an updraft in its wake that pulls even more warm air up and out right along with it. If you’re in the market to maximize the heat output of your wood-burning fireplace, we can help!
Plan Ahead—Season Your Firewood
An easy first step you can take to increase the performance of your fireplace is to season your firewood before burning it. Non-seasoned (green) firewood burns inefficiently and produces a lot of smoke but little to no real heat. The vast majority of the heat energy produced from burning green wood goes into evaporating the excess moisture in the wood instead of going into heating your home. The excess moisture in the wood also attempts to extinguish the fire the whole time it’s burning. Seems a bit counterproductive, doesn’t it? The seasoning process, on the other hand, provides the wood with ample time for the undesirable moisture to evaporate prior to your ever burning it in your fireplace and burns much more efficiently than its non-seasoned brethren.
More Oxygen = Improved Combustion
Now that you’ve seasoned your firewood and have it neatly arranged in your fireplace, opening your damper—throat-mount, top-sealing, or both—as far as possible will increase the amount of oxygen to your fire. It’s science time: this will improve the combustion and, ultimately, increase the amount of heat produced by your fire. One drawback to this increased combustion, however, is that your firewood will burn faster. This will mean that you have to add seasoned firewood more often to get a continuous flow of heat and will therefore go through more firewood over the course of the heating season.
A Yearly Chimney Inspection and Cleaning is a Must
Having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep yearly will also make it possible to boost your heating performance, as the cleaning process removes the creosote buildup inside your chimney system that can significantly restrict air flow. Once your fireplace and chimney have been cleaned, you can replace the mesh screen in front of your fireplace with tempered glass doors that you can keep closed while the fire is burning. Keeping the doors closed will increase the temperature of the fire in your fireplace and reduce the amount of warm air that the fire pulls from your living space.
Following the steps mentioned above will give your fireplace the kick-start it needs to provide your home with more heat than it might otherwise produce. Our experienced staff takes pride in the service provided to each and every one of our customers. Take a minute to call and ask one of our staff members what is available for your specific application that will help to maximize its performance. One call is all it takes!