Is Your Chimney Adding to Your Heating Bill?
Do you consider it one of the nicest pleasures of winter when you get cozy near a blazing fire? Is your fireplace a favorite gathering place for your family? It’s much easier to enjoy your fireplace when you don’t know its dirtiest secret. It’s not the creosote in the chimney flue, even though the tar-like substance creates a sooty mess. No, the really dirty secret about fireplaces is that the chimney used to draw combustion gases outside of the home can also withdraw money from your wallet by causing higher cooling and heating bills.
The Open Window Effect
The chimney draft is desirable and important when you use your fireplace. Once the fire is out and the damper is closed, however, there should no longer be a draft. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Air still gets through because dampers seldom have a seal good enough to prevent an exchange of air between the chimney and the home. It is often said that a chimney is like having an open window in the home year-round. Because of an unsealed chimney, utility costs for the year can be as much as 30% higher.
Check Your Damper
You may already know that things aren’t working as they should if cold downdrafts of air send chilly air into your home when the fireplace isn’t in use. If you aren’t sure whether your damper works, you can do a simple test. Take a dollar bill and place it at the spot where the damper closes. After you close the damper, check to see if the bill slides right out or if the damper has a tight hold of it.
If the dollar bill slides out, your damper is not doing the important job of stopping airflow. Contact chimney professionals for damper repair.
If the damper has snug hold of the bill, conduct the same test from one end of the damper to the other. If the dollar bill stays put when you tug on it all the way across, there is a good chance your chimney is not costing you extra money in utility costs.
Tips to Stop Wasting Energy
Many have drawn the conclusion that the damper isn’t enough to do a good job of preventing utility costs from creeping upwards. There are various ways to make sure the chimney is virtually airtight, including the following:
Install Glass Doors
An economical solution to a drafty chimney is to install glass doors. When you simply add glass doors without making other changes to upgrade a fireplace, the glass doors should remain open during use to prevent the glass from shattering. It’s usually fine to close the doors once a fire has already died down significantly.
The important thing about glass doors is that they typically block air from being pulled out of your home and from blowing gustily into your home from the top of the chimney.
Install a Top Damper
Another solution for a chimney that’s drafty all year is to have a top damper installed. This can be especially beneficial if the fireplace is on an outside wall and the chimney tends to be filled with a column of cold air when you try to use the fireplace on the chilliest of days.
Contact Chimney Experts for Chimney Maintenance
One of the best secrets to enjoying a fireplace with no costly drawbacks is to schedule routine chimney maintenance. The chimney professionals at Dubuque Fireplace and Patio conduct chimney inspections, during which a chimney is checked to ensure proper operation. If you need damper repair or any other chimney services, we are here to help. Call us today! Contact details follow.
Dubuque Fireplace & Patio
925 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa
Phone – (563) 582-5156
Chimney Specialists Inc.
869 Main Street, Highland, WI
Phone – (608) 929-4887 / Toll Free (800) 395-6660