If you own a fireplace, you probably already know how pleasant it can be to curl up in front of the fire with your family during those long winter nights.  What you may not be aware of is the fact that the fireplace is actually an inefficient source of heat in your home.  You could be spending more than you realize in energy dollars when you use your fireplace during the winter.

Your fireplace may be exhausting thousands of cubic feet worth of air out of your home, which is then replaced by the cold air from outside.  This forces your home heating system to work overtime to keep your home warm, and this warm air is just continually lost.  Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to reduce your energy losses.

Plug it up

If you never plan on using your fireplace, plug it up. Insulate, plug and seal up the chimney flue so warm air can no longer escape your home and cool air isn't given a chance to come in.

Keep it closed

When you're not actively using your fireplace, keep the damper closed.  When you keep the damper open, it's akin to keeping a window open in the winter months.  An open damper translates into warm air escaping from your home.

Make it more efficient

Reduce the loss of heat when using your fireplace by opening the dampers in the bottom of your firebox or slightly opening the closest window.  Open it only approximately an inch, and then close doors that lead into that room.  This will make the fireplace more efficient.

  • If possible, lower your thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees in the room where the window is open.

Use tempered glass

Install doors made of tempered glass coupled with a heat-air exchange system, which will blow the warm air back into your room rather than flushing it out through the chimney.

Check your seals

Ensure that the seal on your flue damper is as snug as it possibly can be.

Add caulking

Caulking all the way around the fireplace hearth can help to make your fireplace more energy efficient.


It really doesn't take much to make your fireplace more energy efficient, saving you big energy costs.  These simple steps will allow you to get the most out of your fireplace year round, especially in the winter months, without worrying about the impact it will have on your energy bill.