Wood Burning Fireplace Problems
All around the world there are millions of homes
that enjoy a roaring fire in a wood burning
fireplace. Although there are a number of benefits
there are some wood burning fireplace problems. The
problems associated with a wood burning fireplace
are inherent in the design of the fireplace. Some
of them can be overcome but some cannot. For
example, most conventional fireplaces make lighting
a fire in them difficult and they are inefficient.
Other potential problems include excess smoke,
smoky rooms, and unwanted drafts of cold air in the
house. In fact, if a conventional fireplace is not
maintained properly, it could pose a serious and
even deadly problem.
One of the more common wood burning fireplace
problems is that they are very inefficient. Most
fireplaces only provide about 10% of the available
energy in the wood they burn as opposed to an oil
furnace or gas fireplace that burn nearly 80%
efficient. Without the right type blower fans most
fireplaces do little to add heat to the home. Many
conventional fireplaces actually cause more home
heat consumption from the furnace because the heat
simply gets sucked up the chimney.
Fireplaces are inefficient because while a fire is
burning the warm air from inside the home is going
out the chimney as a result of the chimney draft.
Conventional fireplace can use as much as 10 times
more air than is needed by an oil furnace or gas
fireplace. Not all the air that is drawn into the
fireplace is used for combustion. Only 15% is
required for combustion and the rest simply flows
out the chimney.
Escaped air, known as "tramp air", causes two
distinct problems. The first problem is that tramp
air draws heat created by the fire and pushes it
out through the chimney instead of pushing it into
the home to heat it. The second problem is that
tramp air causes too much air exchange within the
home. A large fire in a conventional fireplace
could cause all the household air contained in the
house to be forced up the chimney by as much as 1.5
times every hour. This is a massive air volume
exchange that acts as a negative factor in heating
In most cases any conventional fireplace has too
large an area by which air is leaked up the
chimney. This means that while you are burning wood
to heat the home, cold air is actually coming
inside defeating the purpose. Although the chimney
damper is supposed to help most do not.
A good option is to use properly fitted
glass doors to reduce heat lost.
Fireplace Environmental Effect
Conventional fireplaces have an effect on the
environment. When wood is burned there are higher
levels of emissions produced. As a result the
outside air becomes more polluted as well as the
air within the home. This could be caused from poor
construction of the fireplace as well as the type
of wood being burned.
As the fire burns other products in the wood
such as moisture and minerals are released which
forms smoke. If you want to use a conventional
fireplace consider the drawbacks prior to making
your final decision.
A roaring fireplace fire offers great winter
ambiance but conventional fireplaces are very
inefficient and probably do little to nothing for
helping heat the home. These wood burning fireplace
problems are not new and are the reasons why modern
gas fireplaces and gas stoves have been developed.
They are very efficient and do not have an acute
negative effect on the environment.
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Fireplace and Woodstove Safety
and Woodstove Tool Set
Glass Fireplace Doors
Stone Fireplace Design
Starting Fireplace Fires