Hi Home Energy Pros,

I'm relatively new to the forum but have enjoyed reading all the conversations going on here and hope to be more active as time goes on! In the process of re-launching WattDoesItUse (wattdoesituse.com), we're giving the associated blog (wattdoesituse.com/blog) new life and are particularly excited about the concept of integrating interview pieces that feature you, the industry pros: what are you seeing as the most common home issue when it comes to energy waste? trends in the energy efficiency in terms of consumer demands? Particular myths you want to dispel? Particular aspects of home energy management that you are always addressing and wish people knew more about? Please reach out -- we would love to feature your expertise in the blog and learn from you! Feel free to comment here if interested or contact me at sarah@wattdoesituse.com.

Thanks!

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I have a very interesting business, that started as a result of energy usage in my home.  We purchased an older home that needed much work.  With every "energy" efficient remodeling, windows, insulation wrap and new siding, roof, etc.  The very last thing that was giving us a problem, was the fireplace.  The open hole to the outside.  The damper was warped, allowing air exchange in and out of the house.  

Most people do not realize the "drafting" that goes on 24/7 with a fireplace.  Even if the damper is closed.  The worst of all, being the gas fireplaces, where the damper must be propped open to allow gas fumes and carbon monoxide to go outside.  This allows air exchange 24/7 in and out of your home, along with the entry of bugs, outside odors and pollen.  

I covered my fireplace, with an insulated cover.  Amazing difference in my oil usage.  The first partial year, 11% savings.  Second full year was 13%.  I now make magnetic insulate fireplace covers, after much demand from everyone that had a fireplace that got covered.  

Fireplace Fashion by Beverly

fireplacefashion.com

A good topic to deal with Beverly.

The harsh truth about fireplaces is this- They are for looks more than an efficient source of heat (80%+ goes out the chimney!) If you want the aesthetics of an open fireplace and a much more efficient heat producer, invest in a fireplace insert, which collects much of the heat, blows it into the room, and effectively seals off the air exchange, as long as the door is closed when not in use. You can even have the door open with a fire going to have the open fire feel.

There are different sized units for your size fireplace and are similarly priced to a comparable size wood stove- the absolute best option for a low cost to free heat source in cold weather climates.

My advice: Don't dither with proven inefficiency & potential dangers of open air fireplaces. 

Thanks Mark! Great thoughts. We're working on the piece with Beverly and will definitely keep your input in mind. We'll share the finished product here!

Hi Sarah, 

ElectricityPlans.com has a lot of content on energy efficiency targeted at consumers -- everything from DIY Energy Audit, to calculating wattage. Let me know if you want to collaborate on something! rbridges@electrictiyplans.com

Hi Rebecca - We would love to explore opportunities for collaboration! I'll send you an email. ~S

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