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A warm fireplace can save you energy and money with proper maintenance. | Photo courtesy of ©

A warm fireplace can save you energy and money with proper maintenance. | Photo courtesy of ©

The Northeast and much of the country has had very frigid temperatures lately! If you're like me, nothing sounds better than cozying up to the fireplace with a cup of cocoa on a cold day. But be aware that while fireplaces can be a great source of warmth during the winter, if they are not properly maintained, they can contribute to quite a bit of heat loss in your living space.

Here are a few tips to make sure you're maximizing your fireplace and chimney efficiency this winter:

  1. Keep the fireplace damper closed unless you have a fire burning. It can be easy to forget to close it when the fire has burned out, but keeping the damper open can cause drafts and heat loss in the rest of the house.
  2. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room.
  3. Check the seals around your fireplace flue damper—if the seals aren't tight, you could be losing home heating through the chimney.
  4. Insulate your chimney. Exiting exhaust from chimneys can create creosote build-up and can decrease the efficiency of your fireplace. Liners provide maximum efficiency for your chimney and protect masonry from corrosive byproducts of the flue gases.
  5. Get your chimney properly inspected by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America each year before it gets too cold. A certified chimney sweep can offer advice to help make sure all the components of your fireplace and chimney are functioning efficiently and safely.

Lastly, and this may seem obvious, but if you don't use your fireplace, consult an expert and have the chimney flue plugged and sealed.

These tips should keep you warm in your house year round. If you'd like more tips similar to these, see our Energy Saver tips on wood and pellet heating maintenance

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