Is Your Fireplace Energy Efficient?

Homeowners Life Smart

How to Make Your Fireplace Energy Efficient

To approximately 80% of buyers that purchase a house valued more than $200,000, a fireplace tops the list of most desirable amenities. Besides, who isn’t into warming up next to a cozy fireplace in the winter or anytime it’s cold? A fireplace can even add value to your home when it comes times to sell. Does this all mean ALL fireplaces are energy efficient? Does it mean that you’re guaranteed the utmost comfort and warmth? Well, it depends.

Traditional vs. Modern Fireplaces

A traditional wood-burning fireplace normally adds romantic ambience and warmth to any home’s interior. Sadly, most are energy hogs. They convert only 15% of wood’s energy to useful heat. Furthermore, most heat escapes up through the chimney as it draws cold air to your house to replace heated air.

Fortunately, with the new energy efficient fireplace designs, you can achieve efficiency ratings of 75% or even more. Gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts are actually more efficient. An insert is a woodstove that perfectly fits into a masonry fireplace. For the past 15 years, fireplaces inserts have really helped many households to save substantially. To be safe, reduce standby losses, and improve efficiency, your insert needs to have stainless-steel liner that runs right to your chimney’s top.

Factory-Built Fireplaces

One of the best attributes about factory-built fireplaces is the fact that they’re incredibly energy efficient. Factory-built appliances do not need full masonry chimneys. They have metal flues that efficiently move combustion gases outside, even when they’re channeled straight out via a close wall.

Another amazing attribute about such a fireplace is that you can place it as close as ½-2 inches away from walls or any other combustible materials. The beauty of it all is that even while at it, you don’t risk putting your house on fire.

Their design is beyond impressive. They boast top-notch insulation. Additionally, they bring with them blowers and fans, which help, circulate warm air to any room. This way, the entire room gets warmed up real time. The case is totally different with the traditional fireplaces.

Energy-Efficient Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Do you have to add wood to your fireplace? If yes, then it’s prudent to refrain from the standard design. As indicated earlier, it simply loses too much heat through the chimney. So how can one make a standard fireplace more energy efficient? The best solution is to install glass doors. These doors usually limit the amounts of room air that’s sucked to the fireplace during combustion.

Glass doors work especially well when fire burns down for the night and you have to leave the damper open. Glass doors are great at blocking radiant heat. You can keep them open whenever your fire is blazing.

Plus, wood burning systems are one of the many home energy upgrades that qualify for rebates so making the change could be more than worth it in the short and long term.

Energy-Efficient Gas Fireplaces

If you desire the low maintenance and convenience of an efficient gas fireplace an excellent option is a direct-vent gas fireplaces. These fireplaces utilize two-way vents which supply outside air for purposes of combustion. They boast energy-efficiency ratings of as high as 77%. It is much better compared to a top gas fireplace that’s connected to a chimney.


Energy efficient fireplaces, both gas and wood burning allow you to enjoy the glow and warmth of a fire without your home energy bills going up (in smoke). By installing them, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Save resources, time and money
  • Save up to 50% more energy
  • Use 1/3 less wood for just the same amount of heat
  • Cut down creosote build-up thus bringing down the risk of chimney fire

Psst – Have you checked out our interactive energy assessment home? More tips on energy efficient fireplaces, and other areas of your home that are prone to energy leakage can be found there. Check it out!


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