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A number of products on the market are designed to help you save energy and reduce heat loss through your fireplace; these include flue sealers, doors and covers, heat exchangers, and inserts.
Flue sealers. Flue sealers are removable stoppers that prevent air from escaping through the chimney. These inflatable devices—made from heavy-gauge plastic—are inexpensive, and easy to install and remove. Place the flue sealer just below the damper to prevent heat loss and downdrafts when the fireplace is not in use. For maximum efficiency, have the flue cleaned before installation.
Doors and covers. Glass fireplace doors are designed to fit standard firebox openings. Secure fitting frames with fiberglass seals and adjustable inlet vents reduce heat loss and prevent downdrafts. Removable fireplace covers, which are considerably less expensive than glass doors, fit tightly around the fireplace opening to prevent heat loss when the fireplace is not being used.
Heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are made of large tubes and fans that circulate warm air within the tubes and force heat back into the room. While they improve the heating capacity of a fireplace by up to 10%, heat exchangers require routine cleaning to remove soot buildup, and installation is often expensive and complicated.
Inserts. By sealing off heat loss and radiating heat into the room, fireplace inserts can improve the efficiency of your fireplace by 65% or more. Double- and single-wall units are available, with double-wall models being the most energy efficient. Optional air-circulating fans can significantly improve heat distribution and overall efficiency. Professional installation is recommended.
The damper on your fireplace is designed to prevent the warm air generated by your furnace from being lost through your chimney when the fireplace is not in use. Over time, wear and tear can warp the damper so that it no longer seals properly. Without a tight seal, you may see a significant increase in your heating bills. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a certified professional annually. If the seal on the damper is not working properly, have it repaired or replaced.
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