Some winters in Sacramento are milder than others. Despite being only halfway through winter, we’re experiencing some unprecedented highs and warmer than normal lows. Even though we’re having some mild weather here on the west coast, homeowners are still tempted to light their fireplace. The truth is that it can be done, but it can be difficult, and there’s no real use for lighting a fire during warm weather. If you think you can avoid using the furnace by lighting the fireplace to “take the edge off” during warmer weather, it may be costing you—and in more than one way.
When it comes to your fireplace, there is a lot more at play than just the wood, the match, and the chimney. The chimney system is made up of many important parts that keep it working safely and efficiently. If the efficiency suffers at all, the fire suffers. More creosote and carbon are produced, smoke will not vent properly, and the chimney system will be dangerous and more susceptible to damage.
For a fire to burn, three things must exist — fuel, oxygen, and heat. During warm weather, you can certainly light a fire, but the trouble is in managing to keep it going. Once the fire is lit, it depends on heat from the fireplace to drive the smoke and toxic fumes up the flue. During cold weather, this is simple science. The heat rises up the flue even if the fire isn’t all that hot, because it is warmer than the air outside the chimney. When temperatures are warmer, however, the fire has to be very hot in order to push air up through the flue.
Pressures and temperatures outside the house can cause many problems. These issues can include the air inside the flue to stall completely, the fire to burn fuel incompletely and improperly. This pushes smoke into the house. If you want a fire during warm weather, the heat that you need in order for the chimney to work properly will be too much heat for your house! After all, fireplaces are designed for home heating during cool weather months. During warmer periods your fireplace can be extinguished and your damper closed. During the off-season, you can take other measures to close up your system for spring and summer.
Fireplace Alternatives for Warm Weather
If what you’re looking for is the ambiance of a fire during warm months, you can still enjoy your home without building a fire in the hearth. Many homeowners who enjoy a fire, but don’t need the high-heat from a wood fire will convert a traditional wood-burning fireplace into gas with the simple addition of a gas log set. Log sets do not always depend on the chimney for ventilation. In fact, some models don’t need to be vented at all. Gas fireplaces offer serious benefits to the environment as well as ease of use for the homeowner. Gas fireplaces have precise temperature control and even instant shut-off features. They make it easier to burn a fire without excessive heat and without a drop in efficiency that can lead to damage and danger.
Enjoy a Fire Year-Round
You don’t have to shut down your fire as soon as the temperature rises. You can still enjoy a crackling fire and dancing—but it may be outside! The great thing about an outdoor fire is that they’re great in spring, summer, winter, or fall. You can enjoy an outdoor fire pit, fireplace, chimenea, or torch. A little light from a gas or wood-burning outdoor fireplace will make hosting a breeze.
Outdoor Fireplaces in Sacramento
The weather is nice here in Sacramento, albeit a little chilly for a few more weeks. However, you don’t have to let that cramp your style. At A to Z Chimneys, we build outdoor fireplaces for homeowners in Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties. Whether gas or wood-burning, our outdoor fireplaces are the most stylish, functional, and beautiful. Adding an outdoor fireplace is a great way to complement your landscape and your home, improve your property value, and enjoy your patio, poolside, or garden year-round. Don’t worry about lighting an indoor fireplace when the temperature warms up this spring. Head outside for a nice outdoor fire instead.
If you’re still trying to use your fireplace during warm weather, make sure you are using the fireplace properly. Only burn properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace, no matter when you light it. Your firewood should be cut and stored to dry for at least six months before it burns. In addition, make sure you only burn wood in your wood-burning fireplace. Do not burn trash, cloth, or paper in your fireplace. These things should never be burned in a fireplace, but when the fireplace is less efficient during warm weather, these things will not burn properly or completely and may result in a fire emergency.
When you need help with your fireplace this season, call on A to Z Chimneys for Sacramento’s best. Call 916-408-2496 today.
We can also help our customers prepare the fireplace for the off-season when it hasn’t been lit for some time.