I know we’re all trying to pretend like winter isn’t closing in on us, but I’m here to make you face the facts. Now is the time to start preparing your home for winter before the first big cold front hits and you’re caught freezing!
I’ve shared before about some of the fast and inexpensive things you can do to make a difference in your comfort level and energy bill. Things like using draft dodgers, caulking around windows and doors, insulating your outlets and more in this post.
Today, though, I want to focus on fireplaces. They’re gorgeous, they’re fun to decorate, but they are the largest culprit when it comes to high energy bills!
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it is basically the largest, most poorly insulated “window” in your house. The amount of heat you’re adding to your house by burning a fire is not nearly equivalent to the amount of hot air you lose both while the fire’s burning and when it’s not!
This is especially true if you’re like us and only light a fire a few times a year for ambiance. Sure, it’s beautiful and the kids get a kick out of it, but, honestly, we’re losing so much money on this fireplace every single day, just to have a fire a handful of times throughout the year! It’s a head-scratcher for sure!
So when the Project Envolve team was tasked with the mission to figure out different ways to prepare our houses for winter, I knew I wanted to focus on the fireplace. It was the first thing that was mentioned when we had our energy audit last year, and I can sit in the living room and feel drafts coming through it on cold days!
I am an ambassador for Project Envolve, a program sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities. But wanting to save money and have a warmer house in the winter is entirely my pleasure!
So I headed to Home Depot, grabbed an employee and just started talking. I honestly thought my only solution was going to be to get an electric insert and spending loads of money. But he mentioned something about a fireplace plug, and I was intrigued.
He didn’t really know too much about it either, so we looked it up together on the computer and the reviews were GREAT! Plus, it was incredibly affordable, easy to insert and claimed to be able to save around $300/year on your energy bill (paying for itself about 5 times over)!
We (meaning my husband… hey, somebody has to be the photographer!), had it completely in place in about 5 minutes from start to finish! Seriously, a one-person job with a HUGE impact!
Step 1: Unroll it flat on your floor and insert the plastic tube that you will use to inflate it.
Step 2: Begin blowing into the tube to inflate it, much like a balloon. Don’t inflate it the whole way, though. It will be easier to wedge into place if you only inflate it about 80% or so.
Step 3: Assemble the black tube that will support it and keep it in place once it’s inserted. These pieces just snap together in seconds.
Step 4: Pick up the entire plug and insert it into your fireplace making sure that the support pole is on the bottom and you still have easy access to the blow tube.
Step 5: Starting in the middle of the plug, start pushing it up into your chimney opening. Work your way out towards the corners.
Step 6: Push on the center support pole to get it nice and straight while you blow into the inflation tube to inflate it the entire way. Keep pushing all the corners up until it is a nice and snug fit.
This is what it looks like once it’s fully inserted. I kept the plug lowered a little bit for this picture, so you could see how it is inserted in there. After the picture, we pushed it back up tighter. The support pole stays there so it doesn’t slide. It’s a very tight fit once it’s inflated all the way, and you can IMMEDIATELY tell a difference in how much of a draft is getting through.
Another bonus, we can still have our occasional fires! Just use the pole to remove the plug, have your fire and once it’s completely out, insert the plug back in! There is no sense in wasting money on your energy bill in between fires when this is so simple!
I kid you not, it’s taken me SO much longer to type up these steps than it did for us to actually inflate and insert this thing! And once the doors are closed, you can’t even tell it’s there!
Tip: My husband wore safety goggles in case there was any soot that fell down while he was inserting it. His “Safety is No Accident” shirt is a complete coincidence!
I can’t wait to see how much this affects our electric bills this winter! We don’t even have that old of house, but I was still sitting in my living room all bundled up because of this drafty fireplace! No more!!
Be sure to check out the PPL ELectric Utilities Pinterest Board for more money and energy-saving tips!