There are many reasons to love having a fireplace in your house. After all, what's cozier than snuggling up on the couch in front of a roaring fire on a winter night? However, a fireplace isn't exactly the greenest way to heat up your house. A larger carbon footprint is a definite drawback of using a fireplace for heat. You won't be able to make burning wood into a completely clean heat source, but there are things you can do to improve the eco-friendliness of your home's fireplace. Take a look at some tips that can help you build cleaner, greener fires.
Use a Fireplace Insert
A fireplace insert is like a wood burning stove that you put inside of your existing fireplace. Why would you do that? Because a fireplace insert increases your fireplace's efficiency dramatically. While a typical fireplace efficiency rating is only 5% to 10%, inserts range from 65% to 85% efficient.
Not only does improved efficiency mean better home heating for you, it also means that your fires will produce less smoke and emissions than they did without the insert, keeping your carbon footprint low. Fires inside fireplace inserts burn more slowly and last longer, giving them more time to burn off harmful gases. As an additional benefit, fireplace inserts can improve the aesthetic beauty of your fireplace and can be more affordable than upgrading or renovating your fireplace.
Have Your Chimney Cleaned Regularly
As you use your fireplace, smoke is vented through the chimney, and over time, soot and a substance called creosote builds up in the inner walls of your chimney. Creosote buildup reduces the efficiency of your fireplace by reducing the flow of heat, air, and smoke out of the chimney. If the chimney becomes too blocked, you could end up with poisonous carbon monoxide trapped inside your house, so it's important to have the chimney cleaned regularly.
Make sure that you use a professional chimney cleaning service, rather than trying to do the job yourself. Many DIY methods of methods that are supposed to keep a chimney clean, like throwing salt on the logs or burning potato peels, are ineffective at best. Some, like starting a chimney fire intentionally, are downright dangerous. A chimney fire may clean out your chimney, but it can also burn down your house in the process. Professional chimney sweeps like Early Times Home Solutions use specialized brushes, vacuums, and chemical cleansers to safely remove soot and creosote from inside your chimney.
Burn the Right Wood
Burning the right type of wood can do a lot to reduce smoke and fireplace emissions. You probably know already that you should never burn green wood or wet wood, as both create excess smoke. You should also avoid wood that's been painted or treated, as toxins can be released into the air as the paint or wood treatment burns. The best wood for your fireplace is seasoned cordwood that has been dried for at least six months. When you hit two dry logs together, you should hear a hollow sound. If you are buying bundled wood, you can check the label to be sure that the wood contains less than 20% moisture.
Hardwoods, like hickory and oak, produce the least amount of smoke. Soft woods contain resins, which emit smoke and other particulates while they're burning. You can also keep your emissions lower by using firestarters that get your fire going quickly. You'll get the heat that you need faster, and you'll avoid the emissions that emanate from a fire when it's getting started.
When you make the effort to reduce the emissions from your home fireplace, you can feel good about enjoying a roaring fire during the winter. Ask your chimney care professional for tips that will help you keep your fireplace and chimney clean and functioning efficiently.
As a teenager, I joined my local swim team and soon became a champion swimmer. I have been swimming my entire life, and my love for water pushed me to purchase a home with a large in-ground pool. Strangely enough, after years of swimming I had no idea how to take care of the pool. I knew that I needed to add chemicals to get rid of potentially dangerous bacteria, and I also knew that chemicals kept algae at bay. I didn't know how to choose from hydrogen peroxide, salt, or chlorine additives. I definitely had no idea about shock, and I didn't know how many chemicals to add. After some trial and error, a very green pool, and a necessary draining, I figured it out. I have compiled for you a number of blogs and resources so you do not have to make costly mistakes like me.