Help for the Fireplace Shopper

Updating and Upgrading Your Fireplace

Thursday, December 11, 2008 Posted by Stephanie H.
No matter which of the four seasons you are enjoying, it just so happens that winter is always right around the corner. There is never a bad time for you to update or upgrade your fireplace.

What can you do to update your fireplace? Many older fireplaces were designed with good intentions, but are incredibly energy-inefficient. When many older homes were built, some important safety features that are standard on new fireplaces today were left out. The following is a short list of ‘updates’ that can be made to greatly improve the efficiency and safety of your fireplace.

1. If you have a wood burning fireplace, update it with a screen mesh curtain to protect your home from sparks and embers. A fireplace screen curtain can be purchased online and installed within a few short minutes.

2. If you have children, consider installing fireplace glass doors. These doors are solidly built and will protect your children and pets from the fire. In addition, simply adding fireplace doors will increase your home’s efficiency by creating a barrier between the conditioned air inside the home and the unconditioned air in the chimney. Many areas (especially California) are requiring homeowners to update their fireplaces with fireplace glass doors before a home can be sold.

3. If you’re still depending on your fireplace throat damper to keep the conditioned air inside your home, don’t wait to install a Top Sealing Chimney Cap Damper to the top of your chimney.
The fireplace throat damper is a metal plate located in the flue; it is designed to be opened during a fire and closed after the fire is completely out. Its purpose is to keep the outside air outside—however, this metal plate has no seal and is notoriously leaky. A simple solution is to install a Top Sealing Damper to your chimney. These dampers use updated technology to create an air-tight seal at the top of your chimney. The product can be purchased online and installed in about an hour by either a professional chimney sweep or the homeowner. A Top Sealing Damper in conjunction with fireplace glass doors will significantly increase your home’s efficiency.

What if your fireplace is already sufficiently updated and energy-efficient? How about an upgrade?

Many people incorrectly believe that the fireplace heats the home. In fact, the fireplace is probably making your home colder and making your furnace work harder, since a fire feeds off of the air in your living space. If you want to harness the power of your fireplace, consider upgrading your fireplace by installing a fireplace heater. These heaters use an electric blower to pull air into the unit, where it is heated and blown back into the room. These units can be purchased online and easily installed by the homeowner. They come in a variety of designs for different applications and typically range in price of about $400 to $600. You should consult an online expert to make sure you purchase the right heater for your fireplace.

A quick fireplace update and an upgrade will keep you ahead of surging energy costs this winter. No matter the season, it is always a good time to tackle the project..

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