Are drafts from your fireplace giving you the chills? It may be another month until the calendar catches up with the weather but, like it or not, winter temperatures are here. Let’s face it, the only time getting chills is good is while reading a suspense novel.
Otherwise, getting the chills means you’re coming down with something; or something – like cold drafts – are coming down your chimney. Learn why those fireplace drafts are happening and what you can do to stop them.
What Causes a Fireplace Draft?
Most people understand that sealing your home to prevent unwanted cold air from entering is important. However, many are not aware of the need to allow some airflow in the home to reduce fireplace draft. Homes that are sealed too well don’t allow airflow inside. This can stop air from flowing up the chimney as needed. If you are unsure whether your home is too airtight but suspect airflow to be the issue, try opening a window while using your fireplace. If the open window provides enough flow to push air up through the flue, then your home needs a boost to its airflow.
Improperly Sized Chimney
The size of a chimney needs to be built relative to the size of the appliance that will vent into it. A chimney that isn’t sized correctly will lead to fireplace draft issues. This problem most commonly arises when a gas insert is installed and the liner is not properly sized or insulated for the new upgrade. If you are experiencing fireplace draft and aren’t sure if your flue was resized correctly when you had an upgraded appliance installed, a good place to start is to have your chimney or venting system inspected.
Additionally, creosote deposits can develop much more quickly in chimneys that are too small. These deposits pose their own unique risks like chimney fires. Annual inspections and cleanings are the best preventative.
Not everyone is aware that when you start a fire in the coldest days of winter, you need to prime the flue. Smoke won’t rise out of the flue if it is too cold. To get air flowing up and out rather than causing smoke or cold fireplace drafts into your home, prime the flue before starting the main fire. This can be accomplished by holding a safely burning log or other source of heat such as a tightly rolled newspaper high up in the flue to heat the air. Once the flue is heated, warm air will rise and when your main fire is lit the smoke will continue to rise up and out of your chimney.
Common Solutions for Fireplace Drafts
Fireplace Cover/Draft Guard
Just as the name suggests, fireplace draft guards and covers block the fireplace opening when not in use or even when closed for the season. Several styles are commercially available and many simply attach to the metal facing of your fireplace with magnets. You can have one custom made or, if you are a DIY kind of person, make your own from materials such as foam board or plywood.
Glass doors help prevent drafts by closing the fireplace when not in use. They have a modern appeal and clean look. Additionally, because they are attached to your fireplace, you do not need to store them when not in use, simply open them to use your fireplace and close them when you are done.
Install/Replace the Damper
A device known as the damper is located at the top of your chimney. They are designed to let the smoke out when a fire is burning and to keep heat from escaping when the fireplace is not in use. If your damper is damaged – or if you don’t have one – warm air could be escaping and/or cold air could be entering the chimney improperly.
When the last ember has gone out and your fireplace is not in use, closing the damper lets you block air out, stopping any drafts from entering your home. If there is nothing obstructing the damper and it still lets air in when closed, it most likely needs to be replaced. Dampers are constantly subjected to the weather which eventually takes its toll. No damper lasts forever.
A Fireplace Insert Can Fix Your Draft
Fireplace inserts are a good option that combines the warmth of a wood burning fireplace with the efficiency of a wood stove. They help eliminate drafts. It is certainly an option to consider and can even freshen up the look of your home.
Gas inserts are another option that completely prevents drafts. They are convenient and bring a modern appliance to your fireplace without being wildly expensive. There are a variety of styles from which to choose when selecting a fireplace insert for your home. Nearly any existing fireplace can accommodate the installation of a fireplace insert whether you choose a wood or gas insert.
Whether you choose a simple draft guard or want a complete fireplace remodel, there are many options to get rid of drafts and keep those chills away this winter!
We Can Stop Fireplace Drafts in Michigan & Ohio – Call Doctor Flue!
We can inspect and repair your fireplace and chimney to fix any problem! Contact us today to schedule an inspection to help keep your home safe and your fireplace ready for winter.
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