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stop draft from fire place

topic posted Wed, November 14, 2007 - 9:13 PM by  Kit Kat
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I have a gas fire place that's very drafty when not used. It has a metal frame. Anyone have a suggestion on how I can stop the draft... it doesn't have to look pretty,... just cheep and easy to do.
posted by:
Kit Kat
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  • Re: stop draft from fire place

    Wed, November 14, 2007 - 9:29 PM
    Do you mean a metal firebox, like lilning to the fire area that forms a box? '
    If so, you can just cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to fit the opening. If the sides narrow as the box deepens it is easy to push a reasonably well cut piece with straight edges into the opening. Just remember to fasten a drawer pull or a knob to the face of it so you can pull it out. Painting it so it can be wiped clean and look halfway decent, free of smudges and splinters, will go a long way towards keeping it around to reuse each year.

    Cost: about 20 bucks total if new
    : or zippo if you know a scrounge or a hammer jockey (carpenter) like me.
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    Re: stop draft from fire place

    Thu, November 15, 2007 - 11:41 AM
    Best solution is a close-able cap at the top with a chain running down the flue.

    Other than that you can stuff fiberglass insulation up the flue but taking it out and putting it back will spread fiberglass particles all over the place. Breathing them is as bad as breathing asbestos.
    • Re: stop draft from fire place

      Tue, October 18, 2011 - 7:28 PM
      Fireplaces can be drafty for the following reasons:
      1. the damper and doors are not air tight allowing air to flow through the flue
      2. the framing around firebox (the chase) is not air sealed allowing air to flow through the vents in the front of the fireplace

      I've spent the past few years looking for a way to address both causes and came up with a product called the Draft Shield. Please visit www.ksgproducts.com/ to learn more.
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    Re: stop draft from fire place

    Sat, November 17, 2007 - 7:06 PM
    I just completed a baffle for mine. It leans against the front and looks really nice. Maybe this would work for you too.
    The draft comes from the bottom vents which measure up from the floor about 6 inches. I just happened to have a board the length of the vented area. It would be better to have some extra length if you want to cut a board to fit. The extra height allows the board to lean against the frame and stay put. I didn't feel like painting it and instead covered the front with a sheet of heavy duty black paper, wrapped around to the back and taped with painters tape. It looks really good with the matt black metal frame. Then for some insulation I layered polyester batting along the lower half of the board on the side facing the fireplace, covered that whole side of the board with black felt and attached it on the edges with hot glue. Now my floors are toasty warm again and it cost me next to nothing.
  • Re: stop draft from fire place

    Tue, December 11, 2007 - 4:58 PM
    Most fireplaces have a "damper" built into them, somewhere above the firebox. It's a door that opens and closes by a small knob usually sticking out of the brick. If there is no "knob" or handle like this, wouldn't hurt to look up the chimney with a flashlight (yes, stick your head in it!), and maybe you'll see a long, skinny, metal door like this. You may be able to shut it by hand. You precious heat is escaping until it is shut.
    Also, any decent fireplace has an air intake, as you don't want to burn the air in your house that's already warm. There should be a small opening that pulls air from the outside. It could be on the floor of the firebox, or on the bottom in the back. Could be a door there to control this draft opening. Outside, a small "clean-out" door should be closed as well. Clean it out while you're there.
    And when you're doing all this, light a stick of incense and watch the smoke. It's a lesson on how chimneys "work". They actually suck air up them, it's a phenomenon really. When the smoke no longer goes up the chimney, your draft has been closed, and you can relax.
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      Re: stop draft from fire place

      Sun, January 16, 2011 - 10:55 PM
      > Most fireplaces have a "damper"

      It is possible that even closing the damper won't solve the problem.
      In that case, check whether there is a C clamp installed on the edge of the damper door.
      The clamp prevents the damper from closing completely.
      I have found these clamps installed in all fireplaces of the houses I've rented (in CA).
  • Re: stop draft from fire place

    Sun, January 16, 2011 - 3:00 PM
    I cut an over sized piece of carpeting I found 'curb shopping' and glued a smaller piece of plywood to it with a handle and stuffed it in the vent
    • Re: stop draft from fire place

      Thu, October 20, 2011 - 2:43 AM
      First of all blocking up the ventilation on any gas appliance is dangerous and stupid. if the fire is light (perhaps by someone who didn't know that you've blocked it) while the flue or air supply holes are blocked the flue will not draw away the carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide/water vapour mix that your fire will produce. These fumes cannot be seen or smelled and they can kill you.

      If you want to reduce drafts from your fire place concider a) changing the gas cowl at the top of the flue, these are designed to prevent down drafts or b) changing the fire completely.

      I'm unsure of US laws but in the UK anything to do with working on mains gas appliances or household chimneys/flues are resticted by law to competent professionals .
      • Re: stop draft from fire place

        Thu, October 20, 2011 - 12:39 PM
        >First of all blocking up the ventilation on any gas appliance is dangerous and stupid.

        Indeed.

        I have to agree that it is not the smartest thing to block the flue in a way that is not obvious and has no easy way of controlling the venting. Better to have an easily and obvious way to open and close the vent. Use a damper if the draft thing is a problem when a fire is not in the fire place.

        My fireplace damper has a wire and chain that opens and closes the chimney damper at the top of the chimney. The damper plate is balanced on a hinge and weighted so that gravity disengages the cover if the chain is not pulled and hooked to the top of the mantle in the living room. The wire for this runs up the chimney to the vent cover from the fireplace in the living room. I don't know if this is code—that's the way the fireplace came and was probably code when the fireplace was built. Nowadays, in my town anyways, you have to put in a scrubber of some sort if you do a chimney renovation and/or sell your home.

        There are many different designs for chimney dampers, some of which default to open or closed. Since I live in the SF Bay Area where the weather is not sever, my damper is designed to fail safe open (if the chain and wire assembly breaks/is disengaged). Folks in colder or air-conditioned homes may want a damper that defaults to closed.

        Here's a link to various chimney dampers:

        www.google.com/search

        BTW, newer designs of dampers are generally a lot more complicated than they should be. They also don't seem to use good old plate steel and iron and appear to be rather flimsy. Got to an urban recycler that reclaims old dampers in your area and look there first. The older designs tend to be better constructed and simpler to install, etc. Installing a damper in your area may have to meet local code requirements.

        The damper I have can simply be unhooked from its wire and removed by hand (no bolts or screws). This damper sits about four inches down into the flue, at the top of the chimney, by means of a two metal tabs that drop it down into the chimney via "U" shaped hinge frame with two tangs at the to of the "U" that flare out and hold it by gravity into the chimney itself. If I move, I will likely take this old damper with me—it's a least 60 years old and possibly the original, making it more like 90+ years old and it works great, is not worn out. If you can get a damper like that, one that does not block the draft when open and can be easily removed for chimney cleaning (very important in old chimneys, especially if you burn paper, wet woods, and cardboard, etc) use that…if it's code in your area, of course. Definitely ask about how easy it is to remove and put back on if you do install a damper and are expecting to have do maintenance on your chimney. Mine is so simply designed that it took me less than a minute to figure out how to remove it. Putting it back on is a little harder as you have to run the wire back down to the fireplace—use a coat hanger to get ahold of a it up the chimney and then easy to reattach to the decorative chain assembly in the living room…but definitely longer than a minute to do that, especially by oneself!

        Ah, but we're talking about gas fireplaces…a completely different subject than the wonderous bounty that is a wood burning one…sorry for the interruption.
        • Re: stop draft from fire place

          Fri, October 21, 2011 - 1:47 PM
          Most of the flues with dampers fitted are from the days of solid fuel. Any damper or butterfly valve should have been removed or disabled (locked open) before a gas appliance was fitted to that flue.
          There are lots of different designs of anti-downdraft gas cowls and some work better then others so read some reviews on-line.
          You can buy them for gas or solid fuel fires....they're not expensive and they just sit into the top of the flue pipe or chimney so they're easy to remove and clean at the same time that you sweep the chimney.
          Gas fumes are deadly and not something to take risks with.

          www.darwinawards.com/

          BTW; I agree, solid fuel is much better....I only burn wood.
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        Re: stop draft from fire place

        Fri, October 21, 2011 - 7:15 AM
        *****First of all blocking up the ventilation on any gas appliance is dangerous and stupid. if the fire is light ********

        Something about Darwin springs to mind.
        Ya know natural self de-selection might not be such a bad thing.
        • Re: stop draft from fire place

          Sat, November 5, 2011 - 3:03 PM
          Yeah, the problem is when the de-selecting process deselects and entire block decimated by the fire. That's the reason there are codes and laws about all this stuff, right?
  • Re: stop draft from fire place

    Mon, September 22, 2014 - 6:45 PM
    Here's an alternative--www.fireplacefashion.com.. the FIREPLACE FASHION COVER will attached to your fireplace doors or screens with industrial strength magnets that are hidden inside the cover, no modifications to or residue on your existing fireplace. Folds in thirds when you want to burn a fire. The fireplace fashion covers not only stop the cold drafts and heat loss, they look great.
    We are a small start up business in Havre De Grace Maryland that manufactures and retails a great solution to fireplace drafts and your expensive heat going up your chimney. All of our covers are hand made in Maryland of all American components.
    Check us out at www.fireplacefashion.com
    Thanks
    Beverly

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