Avoid fireplace use
Experts say not to use your fireplace during extreme cold because they waste energy. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
You may think there's nothing better on an icy night than a roaring fire. But right now -- thanks to bad air quality -- it's illegal in most of the Treasure Valley.
And just as important, it's a huge waste of energy. We're on your side to save you some cash by keeping that damper closed. The roaring fire can be comforting. Sit up close and you can feel the heat. But in sub-freezing temperatures...
"A standard open fire place, virtually all the heat goes up the flu," says Byron Defenbach from Intermountain Gas."It's also drawing heated air you've already heated with the furnace out of the home as well."
Fireplaces create a vacuum in your home that brings cold air in through the cracks. So the colder it is outside, the harder your furnace must work just to compensate for all that incoming cold air.
"Because the fire is in the fireplace you don't get the sense that there's a cold draft, but air is moving out through the flu and out the chimney." Also, the DEQ says burning wood for residential heating is against the law right now in the valley.
"We're in orange which is unhealthy for sensitive groups and we'll have been there for five days if things hold up." says Mike Toole from Idaho DEQ, "You got a soup right now. Its kinda gross."
Car emissions may be the biggest pollutant during our extended inversion, but wood particulate is gaining ground.
"There's significantly more burning going on right now so it's probably the top three of contributors right now."
"We're still at the mercy of the inversion," says Toole.
If you have no other source of heat, you can get an exemption. Otherwise, your cheapest and warmest option is to forget the fireplace and rely on the furnace.