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  • Making Your Fireplace More Efficient

    Making Your Fireplace More Efficient

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    With today’s economy and soaring energy costs it’s a must to use your energy dollars very wisely. Lindemann Chimney Service in Northern Chicago is dedicated to helping you take advantage of every chance you get to save money on your fireplace.

    There are many small things and some more costly things you can do to utilize energy dollars to your best advantage. In fact, you can think of it as getting a raise because you are adding extra money after expenses. There will be some upfront expenses but taking these steps will more than pay for itself in the years to come, if not the first year.

    In this time of fluctuating home heating oil, natural gas and Liquid Propane, LP), gas prices, many people are turning to wood heat. If you have a place you can cut or gather wood to supplement your heating bill it would be a wise choice to make. It breaks that dependence on foreign oil which in turn affects the pricing on just about everything else in this world. Withdrawing, processing and distributing natural and LP gas even depends on oil price fluctuations.

    Woodstove Insert: With wood you have the advantage of having heat when your neighbors go without because of an ice storm or other power failure. A woodstove insert is an actual woodstove that’s designed to fit into a fireplace opening. These units are designed to provide radiant heat output and also include blowers to circulate the heat. Depending on options and usage, a woodstove insert installation can pay for itself within 3-7 years. Until 12/31/10 there’s also an energy tax credit for qualifying installations. A typical installation includes the woodstove insert and an insulated stainless steel chimney liner.

    Benefits from today’s woodstove inserts include a clean air wash front glass, a fairly continuous radiant heat, circulated heat, moisture introduced from a scented steamer or kettle and saving money while maintaining your independence from utility companies.

    We offer Regency Woodburning Inserts in a variety of sizes and styles.

    If you already have a woodstove insert, be sure to check the seals on the door gasket. Now is the time to check it out before you start the burning season. Shut a dollar bill into the stove door. If you can easily move it around at any point, then you are losing dollars up the flue and the gasket needs replacing. If the gasket is worn around the window be sure to get it replaced. It is just as important as replacing the worn gasket around your refrigerator door. Damaged or worn woodstove gasket affects the operation efficiency of the stove. It lets in excess air, making the fire hard to control. Your woodstove insert won’t be operating at optimal efficiency so you are actually wasting your energy dollars.

    If your woodstove insert has a catalytic combustor it may need to cleaned from time to time. Catalytic combustors need to be replaced when their effect declines. We will be happy to look at this for you during your chimney cleaning and inspection. If repairs are needed we can schedule this for a future time and give you an estimate.

    Creating a tight seal: Your chimney has to handle warm temperatures inside while also being exposed to outside freezing temperatures. This means it needs to be in top condition to handle the extreme temperature conditions it’s exposed to on a daily basis. Making sure there’s no water entry is very important. Installing a chimney cap or chimney top sealing damper cap will prevent moisture entry except in the case of extreme weather situations. Chimney dampers are not for use with gas fireplaces.

    The Gasket on Energy Top Dampers

    A refrigerator is designed to cool your groceries and most have a freezer with a defrost function. If the seal on your refrigerator was deteriorated and not sealing well you would probably make it a priority to have it replaced. A fireplace damper can also leak air. They can easily become warped, rusted, damaged or may even be missing. At best, a conventional fireplace damper just has a metal to metal seal. If you put a dollar bill in this old damper and closed it you would probably be able to easily pull it out. The good news is that just like a fridge, there are top sealing dampers that have the same type of cushiony gasket. These dampers, when closed, provide a very tight seal preventing heated air from escaping and cold air from entering through the fireplace. If you put a dollar bill in a top sealing damper, don’t count on being able to remove it until you open the damper.

    A chimney top damper like the Energy Top+, above, seals by the action of a cable that drops down the chimney interior and is secured in a metal bracket at the bottom. The handle, which is easily accessed through the fireplace opening, secures in the bracket when closed. To open the damper, simply give it a slight tug and release the handle and the damper pops open. Some top-sealing dampers provide the option of a chimney cap and damper in one. This is the best option for optimum protection. We encourage you to have a top sealing damper installed for every fireplace flue you have. They can pay for themselves in 2-5 years in “paid” energy dollars saved.

    Start Saving Now

    Now is the time to take the steps to spend your energy dollars wisely. No one can predict the future in what future energy costs will do. The oil market is unstable and can catch you off guard and unprepared. This affects everything you buy as costs soar. Create some control over this situation by taking charge of your own heating and energy saving measures. Control your energy dollars and spend them wisely.

    Copyright 2010 Lindemann Chimney Service

    Posted by Karen Stickels Lamansky, Author of Design Ideas for Fireplaces, Published by Creative Homeowner Press

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