Winter Heating HVAC

Fireplaces Are Great For Festivities, But Look Elsewhere For Everyday Heating

Gas and wood fireplaces are the least efficient major heating source available and could be causing a major headache, among other issues, at the end of this Winter. Apart from festive décor and entertaining guests, fireplaces are not advisable for regular use in your home. Your hard earned money is traveling right up the chimney along with most of the heat generated by your fireplace, and unless you are careful, you could be negatively impacting the respiratory health of everyone in your home. Review the most common issues associated with fireplaces as a winter heating solution to come to your own conclusion, and see our tips for maintaining and operating your fireplace in a safe and responsible manner.

Energy Efficiency

It’s approximated that “between 80 and 90 percent of the heat produced by wood burned in an open fireplace is lost up the chimney.” This shows how wasteful and costly a fireplace can be as your main source of heat in your home or even just your living room. You’re better off keeping the damper closed tightly and enjoying the consistent, clean heat from a central air system or ductless mini-split air system in your home.

Air Quality

The costs of consistently using a fireplace for your main heat source are more severe than mere financials. Using the wrong type of wood could allow pollutants and potentially even toxic chemicals to be dispersed throughout your home, like those coated in harmful sealants or containing artificial fillers. You can lessen this issue by buying only premium, natural firewood that’s free of harmful chemicals and keeping your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned, but the best way to avoid potential contamination and pollution is by limited use.

Insulation & Energy Leak

A damper or chimney that’s not properly sealed or flush when closed could cost you a fortune in energy costs while letting in outside irritants into your home and lungs. Studies show that “An open or unsealed damper in a well-insulated house can raise overall energy consumption by up to 30 percent.” A fireplace in use is extremely wasteful, but you may even be losing heat from your furnace or central air heating system as well if you don’t secure and seal your damper in between uses. An active chimney can create a major source of vulnerability in terms of your home’s insulation and efficiency. With this in mind, preventing heat loss and keeping your energy bill at a reasonable rate will likely become a much higher priority than using your fireplace on a regular basis.

Fireplace Maintenance

Tips For Responsible Use If Necessary

  • You’ll need to change air filters more regularly to monitor your home’s air quality for any irregularities and protect your respiratory system over time
  • Keep the fireplace clean, closed and sealed when not in use
  • Only use clean, high quality wood to reduce air pollution and artificial irritants in your home
  • Try to only use it sparingly for guests or special occasions, and ideally leave your everyday heating to your HVAC system

For a safe, convenient source of heating to keep your home comfortable all Winter at a reasonable rate, contact your local HVAC specialists at Robillard HVAC to discuss installing or upgrading your central air system or furnace.

Sources Cited: AC & Heating Connect


If you’re in need of HVAC maintenance services in North Central Massachusetts or South Central New Hampshire, Robillard HVAC is the call to make with over 15 years of experience. Our maintenance specialists work quickly, efficiently, and effectively so that your system gets back up to speed and running clean. Contact Robillard HVAC today for expert HVAC services.

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