Conventional fireplaces can certainly heat up a home, but not in the most energy-efficient or eco-friendly manner. Although, you could try to have it replaced with a more energy-efficient model or have an insert built into the opening, you may not have the right finances at the moment to make such changes. You must turn to other efficient methods, such as fireplace covers.
Full covers can seal up your fireplace to ensure drafts do not enter the home when the fireplace is not in use. It prevents heat loss by stopping the hot air from escaping up the chimney. It also prevents cold outdoor air from entering the home. The fireplace cover you choose will be based on the type of opening to your firebox.
For fireplaces with metal inserts that overlap the outer brick or tiles, you can invest in a magnetic fireplace cover made out of powder-coated aluminum. As long as the fireplace insert is flush with the brick without any type of metal sticking out (such as a hinge from an old fireplace door), you can simply stick the magnetic cover up against the opening as it conveniently closes off all drafts.
If you have a brick fireplace, you can purchase a regular fireplace cover that fits into the opening securely. For a truly eco-friendly cover, nothing can be greener than a fireplace cover you make yourself from leftover materials in your own home, according to the Energy Efficient Arkansas Program. By reusing a piece of plywood and decorating it with leftover fabric, you can have a beautiful cover that makes your home more energy efficient.
Glass doors are convenient covers you can use even when there is a fire burning in your fireplace. A ceramic glass door can prevent drafts entering your home when the fireplace is not in use. When you have a lit fire, the glass doors can allow heat to pass into the room while protecting children and pets from the flames.
The only drawback about glass door covers is that they are not completely air tight. So you will still experience some drafts around the glass doors with air coming down the chimney if there is no fire burning. If you have a fire burning in the fireplace, you will also lose some of the efficiency of the fireplace as heat from the flames becomes blocked by the glass as it diverts up the chimney.
With both fireplace covers and glass doors, you can still experience air loss if neither is installed properly. For a truly air-tight seal, fireplace plugs can be the most efficient choice for your money. Made of polyurethane, the plug inflates like a pillow to fill up the opening in your fireplace just below the damper. You push the pillow into place using a prop device.
This green method completely seals up the fireplace to prevent drafts, as it can lower your energy costs by up to 30 percent, according to Green-Buildings. When you are ready to make a fire, all you do is release the air and take the plug out as you can use it again next year.
Mesh screens have been around for as long as fireplaces have been in use. They can be free-standing metal wrought doors or come as a retractable metal link screen which you can pull over the fireplace opening much like a curtain is drawn over a window. These mesh screens were designed to prevent sparks and popping pieces of wood or coal from entering the room.
When a fire is burning, you can get optimal heat transfer into the room without blocking it with glass doors. But the screen will allow drafts to enter the room when the fireplace is not in use.
Choosing the Right Cover for Your Home
Picking the best fireplace cover that helps lessen your carbon footprint by giving you optimal heat efficiency and the lowest energy loss for your home will be based on the type of opening you have on your conventional fireplace. Don’t be afraid to use several different options until finding the one that makes your fireplace more efficient.