Fireplaces are lovely and cozy to sit around but not to great for actually heating your home. Increase the efficiency of your fireplace with these tips and get some of that wasted heat back.
The problem with most fireplace design is that a significant amount of heat is pulled right up the chimney and then the problem is compounded by a strong updraft pulling heated air from the room along with it. Tweaking a fireplace to be more efficient involves combating both of those problems. At Mother Earth News they put together a list of ways you can cut down on heat loss and increase the heat retained in your living space.
Some of the solutions are fairly inexpensive like installing a fire throwback:
A fireback is simply a heavy sheet of metal (traditionally cast iron) behind the fire. In addition to protecting masonry in the back of the fireplace, a fireback reflects heat into the room (instead of all the heat going up the chimney). Estimated cost: $75 to $350.
Adding glass doors to a fireplace is another simple, although pricier fix. The most efficient but expensive fix is to install an insert into your fireplace essentially turning it into a miniature wood stove.