Replace Your Fireplace – or Upgrade It?
Buying a new fireplace and having it installed can be costly. A fireplace upgrade, however, can solve most or all of the problems you’re having with your existing fireplace and bypass the need to bring home a brand new one.
National Chimney Cleaners of Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, has some fireplace upgrade and performance-boosting tips that you might find helpful.
For a fireplace to run optimally, the various components and functions of the system have to be in good working order. Let’s look at some strategies to boost performance.
A clean chimney
A chimney that’s obstructed with built-up creosote and outside debris won’t draft well. This could result in smoke and deadly carbon monoxide backing up into your home. Solve this problem (and reduce the chance of a chimney fire) by having your chimney swept once a year by a trained chimney sweep.
Fireplaces need air
In order for smoke to rise up the chimney, air is required. In ideal circumstances, this air is easily supplied by the home’s interior. But if your home is newer and more on the air-tight side, you might need some help.
First, try cracking a nearby window and turning off exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen. This may create sufficient air flow.
Next, make sure your fireplace damper is fully open. Rusted and damaged dampers may only open partially, impeding the flow of air.
Finally, consider having an outside air inlet put into the fireplace. This opening will bring in enough air to create a strong, efficient draft that moves smoke in the direction it should go.
If lack of heat from your fireplace is a problem, here are a few suggestions.
- Burn only dry hardwood logs for a hot, robust burn.
- Add a grate to your fireplace to allow more air beneath the log stack. This will cause the fire to burn more efficiently and completely.
- A heat exchanger will generate more firebox heat by using gases that come from the firewood. Speak with a fireplace technician about the pros and cons of this device.
- Firebacks made of cast iron are designed to fit into the back of the firebox and reflect heat while insulating the fireplace. They come in a variety of very attractive designs.
Stop escaping heat
A fireplace that’s not in use can be the cause of a lot of heat escaping your home. Solve this problem by installing glass fireplace doors and making sure your damper forms a tight seal above the firebox when closed.
Warm the flue first
Cold flue air is heavy and can block or slow down rising warmer air from a fire. A top-mount chimney damper will help keep freezing-cold outside air from getting into the flue.
You can also roll up a newspaper, light it and hold it up beyond the throat damper for a few moments to warm the flue air before starting a fire.
Upgrade or replacement?
By using these tips, you might find that your fireplace once again performs the way you want it to. If you try everything and can’t get the appliance up to speed, it may be time to replace the unit.
National Chimney Cleaners can help with many parts of a fireplace and chimney upgrade. We can also install a beautiful new fireplace when that’s the best option.
Speak with a fireplace expert today at (800) 631-6177, or reach out through our handy contact form.