Drafty Fireplace- What can I do?

christinekaDecember 11, 2009

We have a home, bult in the late '70's and remodeled by previous owners. They weren't the type to put anything quality into the house, so not real sure about the fireplace either.

Our fireplace is a regular old wood type. It has a flue that is low. I put my hand up near it and a significant amount of heat is not escaping through it. It was my knees that were turning into ice cubes! There is a horizontal vent underneath where the fire would be that is a huge source of heat loss.

It has been really cold lately. I have a bunch of children, the youngest being a 5 month old baby. I like to put the baby on the floor in the livingroom because I can keep stuff away from her there and then go make dinner in the kitchen. The problem, however, is that it is freezing on the livingroom floor. Maybe not freezing, but really cold- too cold to leave my baby there. On top of that, our heat is escaping, which means we spend more money to keep our house a decent temperature.

I'd love to just get rid of the whole fireplace. I don't think it is worthwhile as would be a pellet stove or something that could put out a significant amount of heat. We, however don't exactly have the funds for a house project either.

I've tried duct taping and putting a piece of wood in front of the fireplace. A big problem is that the fireplace has a very uneven rock face, so there are gaps between the firplace and the glass door thingy in front.

Is there anything that we can do to reduce the loss of heat from this vent?

Here's an old picture I have of it.


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There are several devices made to keep warm air from going up the chimney. Some are inflatable bags which can be placed in the flue, others are insulated boxes which fit across the fireplace opening.(Making one of these yourself out of rigid styrofoam would be an easy and inexpensive DIY project. The glass fireplace doors do little to insulate aginst heat loss.) Northlineexpress.com is one good source for commercial products.

The horizontal vent is designed to direct warm air to the room when there's a fire. Blocking it off ought to reduce the amount of heat going up the chimney.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 6:05AM
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