Drafty fireplace...is there help?

ShadyluvFebruary 3, 2005

We just moved into a new house and the fireplace the builder put in is VERY drafty. There are vents above and below the actual fireplace and that is where most of the air comes through. We had gas logs put in when the house was being built and they give off no heat. But our family room is almost unbareable on cold days because of the draft coming through the fireplace. And to me, it doesn't seem like it should be like that. The brick hearth is so cold you can't even sit on it. Is there anything we can do or have the builder do to insulate it better or fix the drafts? Any suggestions are welcome. Here is a link to the owners manual of the fireplace that was installed:




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Don't take this the wrong way or think I'm being mean when I say this, but you got what you paid for. You have an EPA exempt pre-fab zero-clearance cheapie fireplace. They don't work. Period. They are just for show. These kinds of fireplaces, and any other kind of open fireplace are the biggest scam in the housing industry.

I will assume that you have already checked to see if the damper is closed and that there are no controls for the air vents.

The only other things you can do is install glass doors if you don't have them already, you can try a top-sealing damper too. But, it sounds like the problem is the outside air vents. I don't know if there is anything you can do about it, except seal off the fireplace and the air vents and never use it again. I use my fireplace hearth as a ledge for my plants, and yes, I get a cold draft all around it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 1:51PM
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How about a fireplace insert? These can turn a heat liability into a nice efficient heat source.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 2:00PM
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That's just what I figured....luckily we didn't pay extra for the fireplace! I was just hoping that there was some way to fix it without have to replace it.

We are considering a direct-vent fireplace (we had one in our previous house) and are going to look into replacing this one with that.

Thank you both for your replies!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 3:16PM
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I second the insert recomendation. When we purchased our 1891 home, the family room had such a fraft coming from the hearth, it was almost unbearable. We purchased a Heat-N-Glow ceramic insert in 2003 and it has truly changed the way we feel about the entire home. No drafts and it heats my entire home.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 3:52PM
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I had a similar zero inset in my house and I finally built a cover for the entire thing made out of a wood frame and drywall painted to match the room. I also put insulation behind the frame. I finally pulled it out and found some fire damage behind the fire box. The insulation had gotten wet, pulled off the wall and fallen on top of the unit because the cap was not installed correctly.

The builder who installed it only insulated six feet up the chase and never dry walled the inside. Before I put in my new pellet stove, I insulated to the top and hung fire code drywall. Not an easy job but well worth the effort.

The fireplace went from the coldest room in the house to the heat source for my house.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 6:40AM
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We have a propane Medota fireplace. This was an expensive fireplace and was supposed to be "top of the line" blah-blah-blah but there is ALOT of very cold air coming into our family room on cold days. The hearth (black marble) is like a block of ice. We just pile a stack of beanbags on top of it. I just hate being in our family room in the winter. This is one of the big disappointments in our new home.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 10:28PM
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I had an el cheapo zero clearance fireplace like Shadyluv and I found a pretty good resolution to the problem. I had a real bad draft problem coming from my fireplace since my damper was shot. I bought a chimney balloon and put it in the chimney and it stopped the draft. It is kind of like a beach ball that you inflate in your chimney with a tube, it cost about $40. I bought it online.
I havent used the fireplace since, but I see I can deflate it and remove it if you need to.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here is where i bought the Chimney Balloon

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 10:35PM
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"and any other kind of open fireplace are the biggest scam in the housing industry"

While I agree prefab zero clearance fireplaces are junk and look like it too, you hopefully weren't thinking about Rumford fireplaces when you made that statment. Rumfords allow the beauty and durability of a true open all-masonry firplace while vastly increasing efficiency from that of a traditional or prefab fireplace.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 4:28AM
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