Q: Jason – In the winter I like to start a fire in my fireplace to help my furnace heat up my home and save some money. Only I have noticed that my furnace runs almost constantly when the fireplace is going. What is the deal? – CH

A: CH, There is a number of studies and articles on open fireplaces and how they take more than they give. An open fireplace on average runs at about 10% efficiency. This means if your fire produces 1000 BTUs that only 100 are going back into your house. There are some things that you can do to improve that efficiency (here is an article on how to improve the efficiency of a fireplace) but the fact is most of the heat is going to go right up the chimney in an open fireplace. The only reason to burn in an open fireplace is to have the ambiance of the flames. – Jason