We absolutely love having a fireplace in the winter. Even though we’re now in LA our fireplace gets put to good use. It doesn’t give off much heat but it really makes the living room cozy and adds a pleasant element to the small space.
The fireplace has a gas burning element which we keep covered with faux tinder and logs (found on Craigslist) but we could burn logs if we wanted.
Here are some steps we need to take to make our fireplace more efficient and give off more heat.
1. Get rid of the screen and add doors – Fireplace doors reduce the amount of air that would otherwise be siphoned up the chimney. Depending on the type of glass in the doors, some heat still radiates through the doors into the house.
2. Replace the damper – The damper is located just above the fire and is a metal plate that regulates airflow through the chimney. Some dampers fit snug when they’re new, but frequently warp within a year or two, producing a loose fit and allowing air to leak past them. Chimney cap dampers close the entire top of the chimney.
3. Install a fireback – A fireback is a cast iron sheet of metal located just behind the fire. It serves to protect the brick and masonry in the back of the fireplace and also reflects heat back into the room.
4. Install a grate heater or radiator – These units aren’t as large as complete fireplace inserts, but capture a significant amount of heat from the fire and force it into the house.