Your fireplace provides the perfect ambience, but its ability to transfer heat into your home can be less than optimal if you’re not using it correctly. So what can you do to generate a warmer and cozier hearth? Here are five best practices to help you get the most from your fireplace this winter.
1. Burn seasoned firewood.
Whether you use hardwood or softwood, your firewood must be dry, or seasoned, before burning. Wet wood causes a decrease in efficiency as the energy from the fire is used to evaporate the water within it.
Pro Tip: A firewood moisture meter can help you accurately read the moisture content of your wood so you know if it is seasoned and ready to burn. Properly dried wood should have a moisture reading of 20 percent or less.
2. Build a strong-burning fire.
Starting a fire seems simple, but there are techniques to create a fire that produces more heat while using less wood. Try these steps for your next fire:
Open the damper all the way.
Place shredded newspaper and small pieces of kindling at the base.
Add one or two logs on top, then light it.
Let the small fire grow until it is roaring then add more wood. Be sure to keep space between the firewood to encourage air flow and keep the fire burning.
3. Maintain adequate airflow.
Remove the ash from your fireplace whenever it reaches the bottom of the grate. This ensures there is proper air circulation for efficient-burning fires. Leave one or two inches of ash within your fireplace at all times to help insulate the new bed of hot coals in the next fire and improve its heat output.
4. Circulate the heat.
The warmth from the fire tends to stay in the area immediately around your fireplace–rather than circulating efficiently through your home. To help move trapped hot air, run ceiling fans counterclockwise at low speed. This redirects warm air from the ceiling down the walls and into your living space.
5. Professionally service your chimney and fireplace.
Creosote buildup in your chimney not only reduces the draft–hindering efficiency–but it also creates a fire hazard. Professionally clean your fireplace and chimney at least once a year, or more if you use your fireplace frequently. Additionally, schedule an inspection with a certified chimney sweep to check for any gaps, crevices, or cracks that may serve as an inlet for cold air.
Chimney Cleaning, Inspection, and Repair in NH and MA
Following these steps will help you transform your fireplace into an efficient, effective heating source. If you need to get your chimney and fireplace serviced or repaired, contact Admiralty Chimney’s CCP-certified technicians. Our team will take special care to keep your system in peak condition and your family safe.
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