Excuse us for using a fire-safety pun that we just can’t resist…BUT if you find yourself with a large tax return and all that money is just burning a hole in your pocket, then you might consider investing that tax return on a greatly needed fireplace upgrade. People who filed their taxes early could start receiving their returns as early as the middle of March. While there’s no right or wrong way to spend your tax return, using it to improve your home is always a wise decision. As chimney professionals, we will always encourage you to consider ways to make your fireplace and chimney more efficient, safer, and easier to use.
Your tax return might reflect a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars. The amount of money you have to spend and the amount of need you have surrounding your fireplace and chimney will determine what project is most appropriate for you to undertake. However, here are a few ideas that you might consider. Remember that some of these projects can still offer you huge benefits as a homeowner even if you do them only in part. You also might consider investing a little extra money on top of what you received in your tax return to make sure you’re able to get the job done properly. A chimney professional can help advise you on what projects your home needs the most, which projects are “absolute musts” when it comes to thoroughness, and where you might be able to save money without sacrificing quality or safety.
Change Up Your Fuel Source
If you have an older home (or just a traditional home), there’s a good chance that you have a wood-burning fireplace. Wood fireplaces are classic—but they aren’t always the easiest type of fireplace to have. They’re difficult to ignite and require a lot of work to keep the fire going. You need to be diligent about putting the fire out completely after you’re done enjoying it and then the fireplace can prove difficult to clean in between burning fires. Maybe this is the season when you put money into a fireplace that uses a different fuel source, one that is more in tune with your lifestyle. Installing a gas fireplace or one that burns pellets or coal could require extensive changes to your fireplace and chimney, such as changing out the fireplace lining or putting in a new ventilation system.
Get a fireplace insert
Instead of renovating your fireplace to use a different fuel type, you might opt to get a fireplace insert that can fit right into your home’s existing hearth. This will ultimately save you a lot of money that you could spend on installing a new or different fireplace. A fireplace insert is usually more efficient at burning fuel (and creating heat), plus they’re less wasteful and easier to clean. You could choose a fireplace insert that burns gas, pellets, or even traditional wood.
Give your fireplace a new look
Maybe your fireplace works just fine—you don’t have a problem building, maintaining, or extinguishing fires. But the way that your fireplace looks? Well, it just feels outdated. It doesn’t match the aesthetic of your house, and it could even be bringing down your property value. The truth is that an aesthetically pleasing fireplace is an important part of the fire experience. No matter how warm and cozy a fire feels when it’s burning, it won’t be the same if you just feel underwhelmed when looking at your worn-out old brick and dirty fireplace. In this case, you can use your tax return to do a remodel and customize your fireplace in a way that makes you excited to sit by it. Maybe that means painting the brickwork or installing a brand-new marble hearth. There are all kinds of tasteful moves you can make. Don’t forget to add beautiful new accessories like glass doors or a new grate, plus a new set of fireplace tools (poker, shovel, blower, and so forth) to put on display right beside it.
Invest in maintenance
For some homeowners, the most responsible way of spending your tax return is to do some greatly needed upkeep on your fireplace. Repair the masonry and replace any exterior damage to the chimney, such as cracks or even a broken chimney cap. Your chimney could also use a good sweeping after a long winter of use. With summer approaching, it’s wise to tackle any projects your fireplace and chimney need before you put their use on hold during the warmer months. That way, everything is ready to go by the time next winter is here.