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New member... old house with a couple of old fireplaces

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mkarch, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. mkarch

    mkarch New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Seattle, WA
    Here's the background - this summer we bought a mid century house with 2 regular masonry fireplaces common from the era.

    It's a fixer, so we're prioritizing projects. The long term plan is to put a gas insert in the living room, and a wood insert in the family room for backup heating. The central heat is oil, which we don't want to keep for too long. Plan on that is to replace with a heat pump either this summer or next.

    I like burning wood, don't mind the cut/spilt/stack, it's good exercise. But the old fireplaces are so inefficient it seems like I'm spending too much time/money on the fire for the heat it's putting out.

    My question is - is there an easy way to (slightly) improve the efficiency of these old fireplaces in the short term, or am I better off plugging the chimney until we get a good insert?

    Living and family room are the same style, except family room vents to the left chimney.

    [​IMG]

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,247
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Fireplaces are notoriously inefficient. Not much you can do that will improve that. Lets face it, they really haven't changed much in hundreds of years.
    Prioritizing - ahh yes....the great head scratcher. Only you will know best...but if long term is to get off oil, I would start by getting your heat square up. An insert (personally I prefer free standing stoves), with an insulated block off plate would start to look pretty important to me.

    And welcome to the forum

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