How to Make a Wood Burning Fireplace More Efficient

On cold winter days, nothing is better than reading a book with a cup of hot tea. Or having intimate conversations with your loved ones beside the crackling flames of a masonry fireplace. A traditional fireplace is a stunning and vivid architectural design in most houses in America. However, you do not always get the warmth in a most effective way. It is true that most of the heat produced by the fire will get out through the chimney. Hot air creates an upward air draft that will suck most of the heat out of the room into the chimney.

However, there are ways to reduce the heat loss to the smallest possible amount. There are some certain tips to help you save a lot of money spent on energy, as well as reduce environmental pollution. Read the article below to be able to know how to make a wood burning fireplace more efficient.

How to Make a Wood Burning Fireplace More Efficient

Use seasoned firewood

The first and most basic thing on how to make a wood burning fireplace More Efficient is to use seasoned firewood. The performance of your fireplace depends very much on which type of firewood you choose to use.

Seasoned firewood

Image source: Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

You do not want to waste the fire on burning out moisture wood while not generating much heat. Thus, do not choose green color or new cut wood. Beside heat loss, burning moisture wood also creates a lot of smoke that pollutes the environment. To just get burning efficiency at its best as well as environment protection, stick with the seasoned or dried firewood. Seasoned firewood like logs needs six months to a year to dry.

Open the damper

The damper is like a small flap inside the chimney. It is used for the smoke to get out or for air to get in through the chimney. To increase the burning efficiency, you should open the damper as broad as possible. This helps the fireplace get more air, thereby enhancing the combustion and the heat generated. However, this solution will cost you more firewood than normal.

Open the damper

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Also, during hot season or when not using the fireplace, you need to close the damper, because otherwise the indoor air will be sucked out through the chimney. While fire box and chimney are used only for the purpose of burning firewood, damper plays a more important role when the fireplace is both active and not active. Dampers over time will be inevitable worn or deformed, thereby make the chimney almost wide open without sealing. That is when you need to replace a new one.

Clean the chimney once a year

Check your chimney once a year and hire a chimney sweep to remove creosote and another blockage. Creosote is an incidental product made from the process of burning wood, and it accumulates inside the chimney. If creosote is not removed regularly, it will restrict air flow and make the chimney cannot function well. Furthermore, creosote is flammable, so it is the main cause of the fire.

Clean the chimney

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Also, if you want to save on the cost of hiring a chimney technician, you can climb to the roof and use chimney brush to clean. However, you cannot always do everything on your own. It’s because there are some malfunctioning issues that only professional people can resolve. Therefore do not hesitate on hiring one just to ensure your safety.

Also, if you want to save more energy costs, install a fireplace with the damper at the top. A damper as a cap helps seal the air in the entire chimney.

Regular ash removal

Another way to keep your fireplace perform at its best is to remove all of the ash regularly and carefully. It is true that hot ash and cinder can be dangerous if you do not know how to handle them properly. The safest method to get the ash out of the fireplace is to put them in a sturdy steel bucket with lockable lid.

Regular ash removal

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While waiting for the ashes to cool off, which will take a long time, place the bucket away from combustible places and indoor stuff. For examples wooden floor, wooden porch, gas cylinders, heaters, irons, etc. Ash removal should be done on a regular basis because just an inch of leftover ash or soot in the fireplace can reduce 50% of heat transfer performance.

Fireplace insert

The material of fireplace is cast iron or steel, with a glass door. Thus, you can see the fire while the insulated door is closed to enhance more effectiveness of combustion. A fireplace insert is installed inside the fireplace will increase the efficiency of heat transfer to a significant level. As it makes combustion generate more heat to the house instead of escaping through the chimney, as well as less smoke.

Fireplace insert

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There is a mandatory requirement for installing the fireplace insert directly to the chimney liner. It is to prevent creosote buildup inside the chimney and cause a fire. Since the installation needs more complex steps, you should hire a technician to do it.

To get an insert that perfectly fits, measures the size of a fireplace with tape measures. However, the disadvantage of having a fireplace with insert in comparison to other unsupported types is higher installation costs.


To sum up, nowaday traditional masonry fireplaces are increasingly used more effectively by many families as a way to save costs and reduce emissions into the environment. Maintain your fireplace regularly with proper care will ensure that it operates safely and efficiently.

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