Is Your Fireplace Cold & Drafty? Here Are Some Solutions.
Homeowners who struggle with a cold and drafty fireplace usually are operating a traditional open masonry fireplace. These fireplaces are notorious for allowing cold air into the house and sending warm air outside. If this is a challenge you’re facing, you’ll be glad to know there are some good solutions. Let’s look at a few of them.
Fireplace insert or ZC fireplace
Fireplace inserts: One way to eliminate cold drafts from your masonry fireplace is to add a powerful new fireplace insert. Factory built and beautiful to look at, fireplace inserts are installed inside the firebox of a masonry fireplace and can run on wood, gas or pellets.
The advantage of an insert is that it retains approximately 85% or more of the heat it produces and makes that heat available inside the home. Compare that to 10% or 20% heat-retention by a masonry fireplace. A closed-combustion system allows the insert to keep drafts out of your home and gives you more warmth than any open fireplace system.
Zero-clearance (ZC) fireplaces: These units are built in a factory and are powerful and efficient sources of heat. Unlike inserts, ZC fireplaces are designed to be installed in a wall within the home. Their heavy-duty insulation makes them safe to be placed very close to combustible materials in walls.
ZC fireplaces can be fueled by wood logs, gas or pellets. They come in many gorgeous designs and styles, making it easy to accent your home’s current décor.
Stopping the cold air
If you prefer to continue using your masonry fireplace, there are several ways to stop or reduce its draftiness.
Inspect your dampers: Have a professional check out your throat damper to make sure it’s not rusted or warped. If it’s damaged, it can be replaced – or you can have an efficient top-sealing damper installed at the top of the chimney. A faulty damper is a sure-fire way to bring cold air into your home.
Add fireplace doors: A handsome set of sturdy fireplace doors will create a great seal when the fireplace isn’t in use. Doors keep the drafts out and keep warm air in, plus they bring an elegant aesthetic to your home.
Add a fireback: A fireback is a plate of cast iron that sits inside the firebox. When a fire is going, the fireback absorbs huge amounts of heat and radiates some of that heat back into the room. This doesn’t stop drafts, but it increases the warming efficiency of your fireplace.
Install a fireplace heater: Heaters bring interior air into the device, warm it and then send it back into the room. A good heater can nullify many of the effects of a drafty fireplace.
A certified inspection of your fireplace and chimney is a good first step in making any modifications for heat efficiency. Your inspector will assess the condition of your system and be able to offer proven advice and solutions.
Magic Mountain Chimney Sweeps of Frederick, MD, provides professional inspection services as well as complete installation and service on all fireplace and chimney components. We’re here to help keep you warm all winter long. Call us today at (301) 695-6991.