How to Get More Heat Out of Fireplace – 7 Simple Ways
Everybody would love to sit by a cozy fireplace during the chilly nights, along with a hot mug of coffee. Whether the gas fireplace or the wood-burning one, everyone would enjoy sitting by a warm hearth with their loved ones.
Built with bricks and mortars, a fireplace is one of the most aesthetic corners of the room, providing comfort and warmth to the whole surrounding area. A traditional wood-logs burning fireplace is more efficient and cost-effective than wood stoves or other electrical heating appliances.
Homes with traditional fireplaces usually have built-in chimneys functioning properly and throwing the heat out of the house.
This is where you may feel like you are not getting the most out of your wood-burning fireplace. There’s a reason for that, as an open fireplace may feel inefficient with the heating supply due to the same reason for throwing the heat up in the chimney.
So now the question is how to keep heat from going up the chimney and get more of the fireplace.
This article will help you learn 7 simple ways, with the help of which you will be able to get more heat out of the fireplace like never before!
7 Easy Tips to Generate More Heat From Your Fireplace & Stop Heat From Going Up in the Chimney
Sitting by a wood-burning fireplace and feeling like the fire is not producing as much heat as it should?
The reason is that as the hot air rises from the flames, much of the heat from the fireplace leaves the chimney rather than inside the house. Most heat from your wood-burning fireplace can be lost through your chimney instead of entering your home. Worse, the rising warm air creates updrafts that suck warm air out of the room.
But instead of compromising with this extreme heat loss, there are multiple ways to turn your traditional aesthetic fireplace into a more efficient heat source.
Here are the 7 easy ways to get more heat from your fireplace.
- Use dry and quality wood logs
- Open the damper completely
- Allow ventilation in the room
- Ignite the fire flames properly
- Keep the fire going
- Maintain the fireplace
- Install a fireplace insert
Fireplace plays an important role in any space, but if not used efficiently, it may not maximize its ability to transfer heat into your home. Before you start using a fireplace, do not forget to get service in southern Maryland for a chimney sweep. This will help your fireplace to work efficiently while staying absolutely operational.
Let’s get into the details of these 7 ways to increase the warmth of a beautiful flame.
1. Use Dry & Well-Seasoned Wood Logs
Well-seasoned or kiln-dried logs should be used to light up the fireplace, as they usually have a low moisture content and burn well compared to moisturized woods. Do not use recently felled wood or wood with a greenish tint, as it may not burn in the longer run. Dry logs are pieces of wood that have been dried to evaporate moisture for up to 6 months and are seasoned well.
The moisture content of felled wood is around 60%, too much for efficient burning in a wood-burning fireplace. Wood with such a high moisture content is difficult to ignite, and the fire produces more smoke and less heat. More energy is required to burn the excess moisture from the wood. This means less overall heat generation.
Wood with a moisture content above 20% will burn aggressively and result in more smoke, so it is recommended to keep the moisture content below 20% for fireplaces. Ensure to use well-dried or kiln-dried wood with a moisture content of 20% or less to get the most heat out of your burning wood.
Using damp wood, you may hear a hissing sound from the fire as the moisture burns off. Sufficiently dry wood will make a hollow sound when tapped, eventually crack, and the bark will begin to peel off. A moisture meter can also be used to determine the moisture content of logs quickly.
2. Open the Damper Completely
Check the chimney dampers to make sure they are wide open to allow maximum airflow through the chimney. This will increase the airflow to the fire. The dampers are usually closed during a fire to prevent warm air from escaping the house.
If there is a damper, it is either just inside the chimney (at the bottom of the chimney) or at the top of the chimney, and the chimney has a pull pipe to open it. When the flaps are fully open, the wood burns hotter and faster due to the increased airflow.
To ensure the wood burns faster, keep the valve damper open. This means you can burn wood faster than normal. If you want the most heat out of your fireplace, you may have to sacrifice the life of the wood you use.
However, when the damper is open, the smoke and toxic gasses produced by the fire cannot escape through the chimney and into the house. If your fireplace doesn’t have a damper, you don’t need to open it before lighting the hearth.
3. Allow Ventilation In the Room
Ventilating a room with a fireplace is just as important as keeping the chimney clear by opening the damper. Chimneys are designed to draw air out the toxic gasses of your fireplace and home.
Lack of ventilation in the room from the chimney may create a vacuum, combining fresh air with the produced smoke. This vacuum reduces the chimney’s ability to draw air from the fireplace and can draw fresh air into the fire.
Many homes are now solidly built with very little room for air to enter the house. This can cause problems with the air supply to the fireplace. To improve the heating performance of a wood-burning fireplace, the room must be well-ventilated so that the fire is always supplied with fresh air.
Leaving the door to other areas of the house open or leaving the windows in the room slightly available will help improve airflow to the fireplace. There is no need to open the windows wide as a few centimeters is enough. Ventilation from the outside through vents and windows allows the warm air inside your home to be expelled from the outside instead of being expelled through the chimney creating a perfect harmony between fireplace and air.
4. Ignite the Fire Flames Properly
Now let’s talk about how to start the fire. Once you have created all the ventilation systems and opened the chimney damper for your fireplace, this is the time to ignite the fire. To improve the heat output of your wood-burning fireplace, you must ensure that you have started the fire well and the logs are burning properly.
This includes properly setting up the fireplace from the beginning to maximize the speed at which the fire ignites. For this purpose, you can place a crumpled-up newspaper on the fireplace and dry kindling. The fire can be extinguished by placing a small log on the kindling.
Take note that you must never start a fire with large pieces of wood. There should be enough space between the wood logs allowing the airflow. Be careful to leave only a little space; otherwise, the heat will not transfer between the wood, and the fire will burn slowly or keep running out.
Light the fire and wait for the chimney to warm up before adding more wood. As the fire and coals get warmer, you can start adding larger logs, and they will keep on catching fire. Do not add so many logs simultaneously, or the flames will die naturally and will not sustain.
5. Keep the Fire Going
If you want to get the most heat out of your fireplace after lighting it, you need to keep the fire going without a break. For this purpose, you can use kindling and small pieces of wood. Once the fire has started, and a bed of hot coals has formed, you can move on to larger pieces of wood.
In contrast, hardwoods are a good alternative to softwoods as they burn longer and provide more heat for the duration of the fire. The way the logs are loaded also plays an important role in how much heat the fire will produce. Evenly distributing small pieces of wood throughout the fireplace will increase air circulation and speed up the burning of the wood. This creates a sustainable fire, but the wood burns faster.
Placing large logs closer to the fireplace will keep the fire burning longer between refills, maximizing heat output per log. Be sure to add logs to your fireplace before the fire smolders. The fire flame and hot coals ignite the new wood and help keep the fire burning.
6. Maintain the Fireplace
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your fireplace are highly recommended, and for this purpose, you can contact Complete chimney sweeps in Baltimore county, if you reside in Maryland. This repair and maintenance will help maximize airflow while producing more heat output for your next fire.
The ash in the chimney should not be completely removed but should be left on top to improve airflow to the fire. A small amount of ash should be removed periodically to reduce ash content in the chimney.
The fireplace should be monitored regularly and must not be left unattended. The ash helps to insulate a layer of hot coal in the next fire and improve its thermal performance. This ash layer helps the wood burn, and it can be more difficult to start a fire properly from scratch when all the ash is removed.
7. Install a Fireplace Insert
The most efficient solution for fireplaces is to install a fireplace insert. This is an act of installing a wood stove inside a brick fireplace. A cast iron or steel box can fit securely in a brick fireplace and line the entire chimney for maximum efficiency and safety. Fireplace inserts are readily available to increase the heating capacity of your fireplace while reducing heat loss from the unit when not in use.
We recommend choosing safety, so it is a nice idea to go ahead with the fireplace insert installation. With a reliable solution for heating your home, you can enjoy more than just a beautiful view of your log fireplace.
Count on Complete Chimneys LLC for Fireplace Sweeping, Maintenance, Repair, & Installation Service
Fireplaces have become one of the trendiest home heating units providing comfort and elegance. They are easy to use and convenient for everyone. If you reside in Maryland and nearby areas and are looking for the best fireplace, insert installation, or chimney repair service, then you can count on Complete Chimneys LLC. We are experts in sweeping, maintaining, and installing chimneys, stoves, fireplaces, and vents. Book your appointment now or call us at 410-544-7600.