What Can I Do About Cold Air Coming from My Fireplace?
It’s pretty purpose-defeating to use a fireplace to heat your home and have that same fireplace be a conduit to bring in cold air from outside. Fortunately, there are solutions to this all-too-common problem, some simple, others a little more involved. Let’s take a look. The place to start is with understanding the chimney/fireplace system. It’s an open system, designed to provide a clear drafting path for smoke and toxins to exit into the outside air. If you’ve got annoying cold air coming from your fireplace, you have one of two choices:
Prevent the air from entering your home
Create more heat from your fireplace
In some cases you can do both, as we’ll see below.
Keep cold air out
The fireplace damper is your first line of defense against cold air infiltrating your home when a fire isn’t burning. Dampers should close tightly, blocking all the air above them. If your damper is warped, rusted or otherwise damaged, cold air in the upper flue is going to get past it.
Along with the common throat damper located just above the firebox, some homeowners add a top-sealing damper at the top of the chimney to double their protection.
Another great way to block cold air is with a chimney balloon or plug. These devices are placed above the throat damper and inflated to completely block air from coming down into your fireplace. Balloons are designed to be used only when a fire isn’t burning. Should you light a fire with an inflated balloon, it will automatically deflate.
Finally, a set of sturdy fireplace doors will go a long way in keeping cold air out of your home. Often made of decorative glass, fireplace doors not only block air drafts when the fireplace isn’t in use, they also look beautiful.
Bring more heat to your home
There are two excellent ways to increase the temperature inside your room/home and eliminate cold air drafts all together.
Install a powerful fireplace insert
Fireplace inserts come factory-made and properly sized to fit into the firebox of your existing masonry fireplace. Inserts are heavily insulated and operate with their own efficient venting system. Heat-efficiency ratings of 85% and higher are common with inserts. This means that the majority of the heat the unit produces will be used as heat for your home. (Compare this with a rating of 10% or 20% for most open masonry fireplaces.)
ZC fireplaces, like inserts, can run on wood, gas or pellets. These fireplaces are installed separately from your masonry fireplace and become your home’s new, active appliance.
Zero-clearance fireplaces are so-named because they’re powerfully insulated and can be safely installed close to wallboards, flooring and insulation in virtually any wall in your home. Heat-efficiency ratings often go well above 80%. They have their own vent pipe, so no chimney is necessary.
Either a fireplace insert or a ZC fireplace will bring significantly more heat to your home than a traditional masonry fireplace, and both appliances will not be anywhere near as drafty as a masonry unit. Black Moose Chimney & Stove of Antrim, NH, can help with fireplace and insert installation, chimney and fireplace component installation, certified inspections and full-service chimney cleaning and repairs. We want you to stay warm, and we know exactly how to make that happen. Call us today at (603) 525-7905.