Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate
555 Walnut Street
5th Floor Forum Place
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1923

Phone: 717-783-5048 or toll free 800-684-6560
Fax: 717-783-7152


Consumer Tip for February 2008

Toll Free Number


 (PA only)

Hold on to Heat

A tip from

While a fire can be inviting on chilly nights, the fireplace is actually one of the least efficient sources of heat you can use.  A well-burning fire can send up to 24,000 cubic feet of air up and out of the chimney per hour - that’s enough air to fill more than 339,800 two-liter bottles!  When warm air travels up and out of your home, it is replaced with cold air that is drawn into the house from outside.  Cool air is warmed up by your heating system, and is eventually pumped back out of the chimney, wasting energy.

If you use your fireplace and central heating system at the same time, there are easy steps you can take to reduce the amount of heat and energy lost through the chimney.  When you have a fire going, open dampers in the bottom of the fireplace, if you have them, or open the closest window slightly and close doors into the room.  Lower your thermostat setting when using the fireplace, and consider adding a grate with C-shaped metal tubes, which will pull cooler air into the fireplace and push warm air back into your home.   Remember to close your chimney flue when the fireplace is not in use!  If you never use your fireplace, consider permanently sealing the chimney to avoid heat loss.  

(Sources: U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Energy Savers: Fireplaces.

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