Crackling fires, warm nights, and a great place for complete relaxation – it’s no wonder fireplaces hold such a special charm in the cooler months. But that inviting warmth can come at a cost. Did you know chimneys can also be a major source of heat loss in your home?

Let The Chimney Guys of Virginia show you how to keep that cozy and comfortable feeling – just without breaking the bank. By following a few simple tips for maintaining and using your fireplace efficiently, you can significantly lower your heating costs and enjoy those perfect fireside moments all season long.

Need to schedule your next service? Call or book online today.

Why Is Home Energy Efficiency Important?

When you think about your home’s energy efficiency, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the potential of saving money on your utility bills. While saving money is a fantastic perk, there’s other reasons to embrace an energy efficient fireplace, including:

  • Protects the Environment: By using less energy, you burn less fossil fuels…which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants that contribute to climate change and poor air quality.
  • Improves Comfort: An energy efficient home maintains a more consistent temperature throughout, eliminating drafts and cold spots. This can make your home feel more comfortable year-round.
  • Reduce Reliance on the Grid: Living in Virginia means we are no stranger to freezing cold temperatures. But the further those temperatures dip below freezing, the bigger the strain on the local power grid in order to keep everyone’s homes warm. When you have an energy efficient home, you put  less strain on the power grid, especially during peak hours.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Fireplaces

Fireplaces are known to be a great source of reliable heat in the winter, so most people are shocked to discover they can also be sneaky culprits of heat loss. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your fireplace in an energy efficient way and keep those heating bills low:

original infographic stating 5 ways to improve fireplace efficiency
  • Use a Damper: Right above the firebox sits a metal plate that acts like a giant vent. When lighting a fire, it’s best to keep the damper open fully in order. This allows enough airflow to keep the fire going strong and helps to draw smoke up the chimney. Once all the embers and coal have burned out, close the damper to help prevent warm air from escaping up the chimney – or cold drafts from blowing in.
  • Burn Only Seasoned Hardwood: Hardwood – like oak, hickory, and maple – that has been properly stored and dried for an extended period of time will burn longer, provide more heat output, and produce less smoke and creosote buildup.
  • Ensure Regular Cleaning & Inspections: Regular chimney cleanings and inspections help maintain proper airflow and draft. More importantly, a clean chimney also ensures a safer fireside experience! So, make sure you’re getting your chimney sweep and inspections scheduled at least once a year.
  • Keep Up With Minor Repair & Maintenance: One of the benefits to regular chimney inspections is that they help bring awareness to minor issues within the fireplace that would otherwise go undetected. For example, tiny cracks around your damper or in your flue can create drafts, and allow warm air to escape. It’s important to get those tiny cracks sealed and make any other necessary repairs in a timely manner. 
  • Install a Fireplace Insert: If you’re fed up trying to maintain a comfortable living space with your traditional fireplace, then it might be time to consider a fireplace insert. These units are high-efficiency fireplaces that fit directly into the existing firebox, and they offer a dramatic increase in heating efficiency – oftentimes reaching up to 70%. When most traditional fireplaces only offer 10-30% efficiency, this can translate to significant savings on your heating bill.

Other Ways to Help Lower Home Heating Costs

In addition to making simple changes to optimize your fireplace’s efficiency, there are several other ways you can keep your home toasty and warm without breaking the bank:

  • Seal All Leaks: Unfortunately, your home is full of tiny gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and plumbing lines. They may seem insignificant, but they actually help contribute to warm air escaping or cold drafts entering. Some caulk and weather stripping ought to do the trick!
  • Use Programmable Thermostats: These devices allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. By keeping the temperature lower at night and when you’re away, it can lead to significant savings. 
  • Check Home Insulation: Having the proper insulation in your attic, walls, and even your basement can make a huge difference in maintaining comfortable temperatures. 
  • Use Appliances Strategically: The same reason you don’t want to use your oven or dryer on a hot summer day is the same reason you should be using them during cold stretches. These heat generating appliances can help add some extra warmth while you get your laundry done or whip up a delicious meal – knocking out two birds with one stone is always a win-win!
  • Use the Sun: During the day, something as simple as opening your curtains and blinds on south-facing windows not only makes your home more inviting, but the sun can help warm your home.
  • Sign Up for Budget Billing: Some utility companies allow you to spread out your payments more evenly over the year. So, instead of being caught off guard with a high gas bill in the winter, you can pay a consistent amount every month. This can help with budgeting and avoid those seasonal spikes in your heating costs.

The Chimney Guys: Keeping Virginia Homes Cozier & Cost-Effective

If you’re looking to take your fireplace heating efficiency to the next level, contact The Chimney Guys today. We offer expert chimney cleaning, inspection, repairs, and more, and we would love to provide you with even more solutions on how you can maximize your fireplace’s heat output in your Charlottesville home.

Don’t wait – contact us today by calling 434-481-3796 or make an appointment online.