Fireplace Tips

  • If you never use your fireplace, seal the chimney flue.

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.

  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly-approximately 1 inch-and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.

  • Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.

  • Check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.

  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

  • Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

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Figure 38: Wood burning stoves can save a lot of money on heating fuel bills. These stoves can heat a large area of a home. However, safety precautions must be taken. Since these stoves radiate heat from the iron casing, they must not be touched while in use. A guardrail will help prevent accidental burns. Also, the flue stack for these stoves must be properly installed. A fireproof lining is needed and the flue should not be near any combustible materials, such as wood. Wood burning stoves, like forced hot air heating systems, will dry out the air in the house. The metal pot on this stove is used to hold water. As the pot is heated, the water boils and turns to steam. This steam will add moisture back into the air so the occupants don't get sore throats or allergy problems from the dry air.

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Figure 39: Creosote is a black soot found in chimneys. Creosote is caused by the smoke from burning wood. You may find excess creosote stains on the face of a chimney and mantle, such as this one. This indicates a back-smoking problem. Back-smoking is caused by a firebox area that is too narrow and/or a flue stack that does not extend high enough above the roof to prevent downdrafts.

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