to oak or not to oak

offingmootJuly 15, 2008

I am posting this in a few forums to spark a conversation. I am installing a pellet insert. Quadrafire Santa Fe. House is 1400 sq ft, open floor plan. 75 years old with balloon insulation. I have lived in the house for 2 full winters with no cap or flue on the chimney it is drafty in the fireplace room. I also notice even though windows are brand new and the house is fully caulked, that I feel drafts on very cold, windy days.

I cannot decide if I should install an Outside Air Kit. Have seen it debated before.

My water heater is electric, and the oil furnace is in the basement and will hopefully NOT run this winter, so I am not worried about a house draft affecting that. I have no kitchen range exhaust as that is electric as well. The only exhaust is the bathroom and it vents directly into the attic for now. So that would be the biggest pull of air probably from the attic.

Outside air for combustion sounds smart and practical but I am scared of pressure problems and spillage.

I read a good article here but still cannot decide.

Problem is I need to decide soon cause they will have to drill out the chimney to do it. He said to run it along side the exhaust in the chimney one would have to be much higher than the other and looked busted.

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Huh? Whoever wrote that article thinks too much about theory and not real life. As far as I can see, he is writing about fireplaces, too, which may be a different kettle. But it seems to me to be a case of faulty analysis. Outside air pressure can influence upward chimney draw (or draft) in some conditions, but that is different from incoming combustion air, which is what your issue is.

I know from long experience that a wood stove will pull air from inside the house in order to burn, and that air has to be replaced. It will come in from any little crevice available, hence drafts. This is especially true in a tight house, which yours sounds like (most houses, no matter how tight will have some little seams that will admit air.) Oddly a looser house often provides readier access to air and doesn't necessary be pulling from all over the house to feed the stove.

Hooking an air intake into the chimney is sure not the only way to bring in outside combustion air for the stove in order to avoid drafts. Where is your stove in relation to the rest of the house? Unless there is literally no access to the outside from underneath, you can run a 3" pipe under the floor to bring in air to the stove. The part through the floor should be metal; the part from outside to that inlet can be flexpipe if you need to snake it along a joist space. It should be screened (to keep out critters) and have a flap cover to keep out cold air when not in use. Some stoves have a built in connector to hook up an outside air intake. Mine will simply run along a basement joist to an outside intake above snow level. (BTW, my furnace also has an outside air intake like this.)
But if this isn't possible, I'd go with the outside air intake via chimney. YOu might want to talk to someone else to get an idea if there are other possibilities. Sometimes chimney guys only think in terms of chimney stuff.

Dayle Ann

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 2:29PM
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