Let’s Talk About Fireplace Efficiency

For many homes, especially those in rural areas, the fireplace is not only a cozy place to gather, but a much-needed aid to heating the house. Unfortunately, this benefit can be needlessly reduced if your fireplace doesn’t burn efficiently.

Traditional fireplaces – the open ones where you can sit by the hearth – actually lose much of their heat through the chimney, and can also pull warm air out of a room when the fire isn’t burning. Consider the fireplace insert. It can be wood or gas, whatever your preference.

If a gas fireplace doesn’t appeal to you, or it doesn’t work with your current home, there are still ways to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your wood-burning fireplace. The wood that you burn is going to dictate how long and how hot your fire burns, as well as how much is burned completely, without leaving a buildup of clogging ash.

When looking for wood that burns for a long time, produces the maximum amount of energy, and leaves a solid bed of coals, your best choice is hardwood. This can include:

  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Hickory
  • Ironwood
  • Rock Elm
  • Sugar maple
  • Yellow birch

These woods produce more heat per load and because they’re dense woods, they last for hours. This isn’t to say that softer woods don’t also have their benefits; softwoods burn faster and don’t put out as much energy, but they also won’t cause overheating if used in spring and autumn. Softwood can also be used to start a fire, and then you can gradually replace it with longer-lasting hardwood so you don’t have to constantly stoke it.

Another thing to keep in mind when looking for the most efficient wood for your fireplace is moisture content. Wet wood not only doesn’t burn well (if it burns at all) but it also gives off a lot of smoke. Whether you’re buying your wood or cutting it yourself, ensure that you give it plenty of time to dry out, and stack it off the ground so it doesn’t absorb moisture. If stacking it outside, ensure that there’s room for air to move through it, and if possible, stack it where the sun and the wind can help dry it out.

No matter what type you choose, a fireplace is a great addition to a home, contributing warmth, comfort, and ambiance. By ensuring that your fireplace burns at top efficiency, you also ensure better heat for your house and a cleaner environment. Please contact us today to book your free design consultation.