These five simple fireplace hacks will make your life easier, and your home warmer and safer.
1. Invest In An Insert
If you do not have one already, invest in an insert. Inserts turn your drafty fireplace into a heat-producing machine. Inserts stop all of the heat from going up your chimney, and many have a blower that super-heats the air in a cavity around the insert before blowing it out into the room. All the heat with no smoke.
2. Clean Your Glass With Ash
Clean the glass to your fireplace or stove door by using a dampen newspaper dipped in (cold) ash. Spray with water and wipe down with a paper towel for a perfectly clean glass, without damaging the expensive glass. Trust us, it works.
3. Use The Proper Wood
Use the right wood for your fires. You want ‘seasoned’ firewood – that is firewood that has been kept dry and the moisture content has been reduced to 20%. They even make special moisture meters to check for this. Not only does it give more heat, it provides less creosote (bad stuff that gets in your chimney).
4. Learn How To Work Your Damper
When starting a fire, open the damper all the way. This allows air to feed the fire, helping your fire start. Once started and you have some coals, close the damper between half and two-thirds of the way. If you are looking for an overnight burn, close the damper around 3/4 of the way shut or nearly shut, but never completely shut as this can cause smoke into your home. Each fireplace is different, so you will have to experiment for optimal burn.
5. Keep Your Family Safe
I can’t help it – I’m a chimney sweep, I’ve seen things. Trust me when I say, the best hack you can do is: keep getting your regular annual chimney inspections, and ensure you have BOTH working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.