This Old Fireplace
Posted on November 27th, 2023
In the heart of a quaint, rustic home nestled in the serene countryside, stood an elegant wood-burning fireplace. Its grand stature and intricate design bespoke an era when warmth was a cherished commodity, and the crackling flames held court as the center of family gatherings.
However, for all its charm and nostalgic allure, the wood-burning fireplace was an inefficient master of warmth. A significant portion of the heat escaped, rising up the chimney, leaving the room in a perpetual battle with the cold.
The primary culprit in energy loss is the fireplace’s damper. An open or unsealed damper in a well-insulated house can raise overall energy consumption by up to 30%, or nearly $200 per year.
According to the Department of Energy, an average home spends approximately $600 per year for heating.
What’s more, between 80 and 90% of the heat produced by wood burned in an open fireplace is lost up the chimney. This means that for every $100 you spend on firewood, you get only $10 to $20 worth of heat.
The rest goes up the chimney. Fireplaces are a mainstay in many homes, but we do not recommend they be used as a primary heat source. The dampers should always be closed tightly when not in use, and it’s worth examining the damper seal annually to make sure it hasn’t worn down or bent, which could cause a leak.
As the flames embers smolder down, and the laughter becomes a whisper, remember that despite its inefficiencies, the fireplace will always hold a special place in our hearts.