Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace is an absolute must for maintenance and inspection. Although fireplaces are not energy efficient for most case, they can be a money saver if you have a wood source. They are also most efficient when a number of people are in the same room as the fireplace.

Buildup from smoke is a recipe for disaster. Over time creosote is layered onto the tile liners of the chimney from smoke. It happens to be a highly flammable byproduct and can start a chimney fire with an ignition source. A lot of small chimney fire occur without the homeowner even realizing! Gas burning fireplaces burn much cleaner and should only require an inspection each year. But, a wood burning fireplace needs to be inspected and cleaned each year. Check the flashing around the chimney if you perform the sweep from the roof (i.e. top-down method). The brick and mortar should be inspected for cracks, too At the fireplace do a quick inspection and cleaning. Visually check for cracks and smoke marks. Cracks should be repaired by a professional. Smoke marks could indicate blockage in the chimney (e.g. bird’s nest). Remove smoke marks with a vinegar and water.

Window and Door Seals

Keeping a home well sealed can tremendously improve the heating efficiency. The most common spots for air leaks are around the windows and doors. Visually the window caulking seal for gaps. Use a putty knife to remove the damaged seal and insert new caulk. Cracks will reappear if the caulk is applied too thinly. Inspect the weatherstripping around the perimeter of the doors. Replace any damaged areas with new material. Replace the entire seal, if required. Feel for drafts by running your hand around the edge of each door. If the weatherstripping is in good shape and there is still a draft, there might not be enough material to bridge the gap. It is possible to layer the strips on top of each other to seal larger gaps.
Furnace Cleaning and Inspection

The most important task for colder climates is servicing the furnace system. It is generally best to have a professional service this system. Furnace maintenance includes blower motor lubrication, burner cleaning, sensor checks, and carbon monoxide measurements. In between service calls be sure to regularly change the filter every couple months. Both the heating and cooling systems utilize the air filters so this will be a year-round task. Luckily, it is an easy DIY job and cheap.

Views: 91

Tags: door, fireplace, furnace, seal, window

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Comment by MD on November 2, 2012 at 11:50am

It is always useful to be reminded of these simple steps that can make home a safer and more energy efficient place to be. Energy Auditor HQ

Comment by Tom DelConte on October 31, 2012 at 5:12am

Hello Tyler, Great post! I serviced my fireplace yesterday after the hurricane, and found yellow jackets and stink bugs in there. turning the propane burners on for 30 minutes didnt kill them, so was forced to resort to use chemical killers. After vacuuming out and replacing the insulated cover, ready to go for winter!

There are tricks which can be used for rejuvenating door seals which I will share in the future, but in general it's great to check your caulking. It's best to do all the furnace and heat pump maintenance stuff yourself in order to keep your costs down, and stay away from the potential high bids on replacement by your local hvac guy or home tester. Enjoy your winter!

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Brad Cook replied to Jim Tenhundfeld's discussion LED's and motion sensors
"I don't know what it stands for. See RAB.com"
14 hours ago
Jim Tenhundfeld replied to Jim Tenhundfeld's discussion LED's and motion sensors
"That makes sense since the same thing happened with dimmable CFL's.  I have never heard…"
15 hours ago
Brad Cook replied to Jim Tenhundfeld's discussion LED's and motion sensors
"My first thought is whether the motion sensor and/or the LED lamp is a cheap one. I had so many…"
yesterday
John Wagner joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
yesterday
Home Energy Magazine posted a blog post
yesterday
Jim Tenhundfeld posted a discussion

LED's and motion sensors

When completing an audit, a customer told me that when he installed a LED lamp in his outdoor…See More
yesterday
Barbara Smith posted videos
Thursday
CharlieK posted a discussion

Eco-Cottage Program Applauded By Housing Groups, Suppliers & Lenders

AmeriSus a leading player in the eco-kit home business kicked off a new program on MLK-day which…See More
Thursday

Home Energy Pros

Welcome to Home Energy Pros – the unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network. Please honor our Guidelines

© 2017   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service