Block Cool Air from Entering Through Your Chimney This Fall & Winter
If you’ve been noticing a chill in the air in your home – even when your fireplace is running – you have a problem that’s not unusual and, fortunately, fairly easy to solve in most cases.
There are many ways cool air can enter a home, and one of the more common ways is through and around the fireplace. Assuming you’ve determined that the fireplace is the culprit, step one is making sure it was properly built or installed.
With zero-clearance fireplaces, it’s important that the right amount of insulation was added during installation, particularly against walls that surround the fireplace and whose other sides are on the outside of the house. If insulation has dropped over time or was simply put in incorrectly, the gap will be a gathering place for cold air.
Checking the status of insulation may require pulling off siding or making a small hole so the insulated area can be seen. Chimney inspectors have special cameras to use for this task.
Proper installation of a zero-clearance fireplace should also include a false ceiling, which is a flat board covered with insulation above the appliance that prevents cold air from moving down through any open spaces.
Both masonry and zero-clearance fireplaces can bring cold air into a home that is too air-tight and doesn’t allow sufficient air flow up the chimney. Compounding the problem is any appliances that push air out of the house such as kitchen vents and other fans. A vacuum needs air, and the fireplace is a perfect place to bring it through. For this reason, it’s a good idea to leave a window or two cracked just slightly when using the fireplace.
A chimney balloon is used to close off the flue closed when the unit isn’t operating. It fits into the chimney just above the firebox, and you simply inflate it to block the air passage. You’ll have to remove the balloon each time you start a fire, but if you use your fireplace sparingly, this can be a good option.
Another device, known as a chill-blocker, also is a good way to prevent outside air from getting into the chimney. It is built into the chimney cap and is operated by a cable that’s connected to a handle in the firebox. Chill-blockers create a much tighter seal than you get with standard cast iron dampers located just above the firebox.
It’s important to note that any modification, installation or repair of fireplace and chimney systems should be performed only by a qualified technician experienced in this work. If you suspect that the cool air inside your home is fireplace-related, Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, Ga., is ready to help. The first step is to arrange for a thorough inspection of your system. We can find out where the problem lies and provide the service you need to get it fixed fast.
To arrange an appointment or if you have questions, call (770) 255-1300.