When you see the picture of the perfect American living room in a home, there's a cozy room with a couch, recliner and a fireplace burning beautifully. People love to sit by the fireplace watching the flames encircling the logs. Not only does the fireplace add warmth but it adds atmosphere. Unfortunately a fireplace in a home is not perfect. There are many issues that make a fireplace very inefficient.
When a fireplace is burning, it radiates warmth into the air around it. But it also creates a current that actually pulls that air out of your room and up through the chimney. So basically warm air is escaping and your fireplace has to work even harder to warm your room. Yes, there is a damper on a chimney that supposedly keeps the inside air from escaping and the outside air from coming in. But most are not constructed very well and the seal around the edges of the damper still allows air to escape.
There are some things you can do to fix this problem. There is a damper that you can buy which is installed at the top of the chimney. This damper acts like a storm door and has a seal so that the air can not sneak around it. You can get such a product online and you can install it yourself if you're comfortable going on top of your roof.
Another option you have is to change your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace. You can get a gas fireplace insert which can look just like a regular wood burning fireplace. These heaters have artificial logs that look just like they're burning. Depending on your home construction and budget, you have several options on how to install and vent the fireplace. Most gas fireplaces use propane or natural gas sources. Many homeowners go with this type of change because they get tired of having to keep cut wood around and disposing of the ashes. A gas fireplace eliminates that need.
You can also replace your fireplace with an electric heater. There are portable electric heaters that look just like fireplaces. You can get an electric fireplace heater that has a fan which can very efficiently heat a whole room quickly. Electric heaters are very efficient in the way that they heat a room. 100% of the electricity that is used is turned into heat and put back out into the room.
Another inconvenience is that the fireplace is usually in the room with thermostat. The room with the fireplace becomes very warm and thermostat turns off the heat. This makes rooms in the rest of the home cooler because the fireplace is not heating them. This may cause you to look into getting a portable space heater for other rooms in your home.