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3 Tips for Reducing Fireplace Emissions & Increasing Efficiency

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Fireplaces make the home feel cozy, but they are also inefficient and may release toxins into the air. Here are a few tips for increasing efficiency and reducing fireplace emissions…

During the chilly days of winter, it’s so nice to curl up next to a warm fire! But did you know that your fireplace may be emitting pollutants into the air both inside and outside your home? Whether you burn wood for heating, or only on special occasions to create a cozy atmosphere, wood-burning fireplaces are not very efficient and can release toxins such as carbon monoxide.

Here are a few things you can do to help reduce fireplace emissions and make your fireplace more efficient and sustainable.

1.) Update Your Fireplace Design

If you must burn wood logs for heat, installing a fully enclosed EPA-certified wood stove or an EPA-certified fireplace insert is the best choice. These types of stoves burn 1/3 as much wood as open fireplace models while providing as much or more heat for the home.

You may also choose a fireplace retrofit, which is somewhat less efficient but can still reduce fireplace emissions by approximately 70%, while still providing an attractive aesthetic.

2. Choose a More Efficient Heat Source

If your stove or fireplace only burns logs, your options may be limited, but you can choose cleaner-burning manufactured logs made from 100% compressed sawdust.

Even better, opt for a pellet stove, which is the cleanest-burning type of solid-fuel stove. Some models can reach efficiency standards of 70-80%, comparable to a gas fireplace.(1)

Best of all, if you love the look of a fire but want a more efficient heat source, consider switching to a gas-burning fireplace, as most of the heat they generate remains in the house, and natural gas releases far fewer pollutants than burning wood.

3. Seal Off Your Fireplace

If your fireplace is largely decorative, it may make more sense to seal up the chimney. Even if you aren’t using your fireplace and keep the dampers closed, warm air can still escape through the chimney, lowering your home’s efficiency.

There are a number of different ways to block the chimney from the inside, but issues such as nesting animals or water infiltration may pose problems. The best way to seal an unused chimney is to cap it at the top. The cap can always be removed if you sell the home and the new owners want to re-open the fireplace for use.

 

Sources:

1.) https://earth911.com/living-well-being/cutting-carbon-from-your-fireplace/

 

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