Cold air coming in through fireplace - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a wood burning fireplace in our living room that we never use and there is a draft coming in. The flew is closed. We have not used the fireplace in the 1.5 yrs we have been here and I don't think the previous owners did either (there TV and stereo were on the fireplace.)

What can I do to keep the cold air out?

The opening is all brick, we do not have a glass insert or anything else in the it.

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#2 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 02:22 AM
 
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We have some insulation stuck up in ours since we don't use it. Ours does have glass doors on it though so I don't have to worry about the kids getting into the insulation.

Carrie, mom to Johnathan (7-02), Brodie (2-04), Kate (12-06), Jordan (9-08), (4-09) & Maggie (3-10)
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#3 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 03:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nolansmum View Post
We have a wood burning fireplace in our living room that we never use and there is a draft coming in. The flew is closed. We have not used the fireplace in the 1.5 yrs we have been here and I don't think the previous owners did either (there TV and stereo were on the fireplace.)

What can I do to keep the cold air out?

The opening is all brick, we do not have a glass insert or anything else in the it.
You really do need to get glass doors.

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#4 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 03:30 AM
 
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Insulation is useless if there is airflow. Insulation prevents heat from moving through it, it can do nothing about air moving around it. So you have to find a way to stop the air flow.

We have a wood burning fireplace, it has glass doors on the front, but glass doors only do so much too, we could still feel a draft.

We took fiberglass insulation, put it in a garbage bag and then stuffed it up the chimney. The garbage bag surrounding it helps stop up the airflow so the insulation can prevent heat loss.

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#5 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 03:36 AM
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My children and I taped a large sheet of paper over the fireplace opening, so as to seal all the air out. They also decided it looked too 'plain', and got out the markers and drew a 'roaring fire' on the paper. Very cute. And, it serves its purpose very well. It keeps the entire downstairs at least 10 degrees warmer through the night. It was like having a door or window open, with the cold, cold, cold air just blowing into the room. YIKES!!!
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#6 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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#7 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 03:46 PM
 
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Oooo, I'll be following this! We have glass doors that are totally useless for keeping out the cold. We have ever used the fireplace in the four years we've lived in our apt and I know nothing about it.

How do you know if the flew is closed?
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#8 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
Insulation is useless if there is airflow. Insulation prevents heat from moving through it, it can do nothing about air moving around it. So you have to find a way to stop the air flow.

We have a wood burning fireplace, it has glass doors on the front, but glass doors only do so much too, we could still feel a draft.

We took fiberglass insulation, put it in a garbage bag and then stuffed it up the chimney. The garbage bag surrounding it helps stop up the airflow so the insulation can prevent heat loss.
Yep, we did the same thing. We have two, one that we use and one we don't. Husband stuffed bagged insulation in it and stopped the draft.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#9 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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We have our flue closed and a big wooden chest in front of the opening, but I'm going to try the plastic shrink-wrap like we put on the windows.

SAHM to twin kindergarteners

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#10 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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Growing up, my father put a big hunk of foam cut to fit in the opening of the fireplace. (He worked at a chemical plant and the guys who worked in foam cut it for him...but you could buy some and do it.) It was kind of like upholstery cushion but extra thick.

He wrapped black fabric around it and put on a spider web made of sequins. Then we stuck a fake spider in the middle. It was cute! I haven't thought of it in years. The kids always played with the spider.

We used our fireplace a lot, so we needed something you could just take out and put back in easily.
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#11 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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We had the same problem with draftiness - the previous owners had solved the problem by taping up a giant piece of cardboard - but that wasn't really the aesthetic effect I wanted in my living room. We bought a thick piece of plexiglass at Lowe's for less than $20, cut to fit, and attached it to the front with super-heavy-duty velcro. It keeps out the cold, looks much nicer than the cardboard, and is easy to pop off when we want to use the fireplace.

Cindy, part-time family doc, full-time Mommy to Jared (2/04) and Connor (2/08) :
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#12 of 19 Old 12-21-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaLuvsHerBabies View Post
My children and I taped a large sheet of paper over the fireplace opening, so as to seal all the air out. They also decided it looked too 'plain', and got out the markers and drew a 'roaring fire' on the paper. Very cute. And, it serves its purpose very well. It keeps the entire downstairs at least 10 degrees warmer through the night. It was like having a door or window open, with the cold, cold, cold air just blowing into the room. YIKES!!!
We did that too. I also have taped that shrinking weatherproofing plastic for windows over the fireplace and moved a big, square upholstered chair in front of it. I always wanted glass doors too (we've since sold that house).

To find out if the flue is closed, lean in and look up. You should see a handle. Pull it. IF you see sky, it's open.
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#13 of 19 Old 12-22-2007, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great ideas! Dh and I will tackle this problem next week after Christmas.

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#14 of 19 Old 12-22-2007, 02:10 AM
 
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I would think just stuffing something in the chimney - e.g. and old bed pillow or whatever would work really well.

You can tell if your flue is closed by looking up the chimney. You should be able to see the flue and tell if it is closed or open.
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#15 of 19 Old 12-22-2007, 09:17 AM
 
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I'm just curious if it's a regional thing... everyone keeps calling it a flue. Where I come from the flue is just the opening (the inside of the chimney when it gets up toward the roof). The *damper* keeps the air out. You close the damper in the flue and it stops the airflow. Am I getting some terminology wrong here? Can't you just close the damper to keep the air from coming down the flue?
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#16 of 19 Old 12-22-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I'm just curious if it's a regional thing... everyone keeps calling it a flue. Where I come from the flue is just the opening (the inside of the chimney when it gets up toward the roof). The *damper* keeps the air out. You close the damper in the flue and it stops the airflow. Am I getting some terminology wrong here? Can't you just close the damper to keep the air from coming down the flue?
I think folks just use the term 'close the flue' to refer to closing the damper, since you are blocking the flue up with it. Kinda the way people say close the window instead of close the sash?

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#17 of 19 Old 12-22-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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Yeah, Velochick, you're right. The damper is the little (dirty) metal door that closes off the flue, somewhat.

Oh, if you move, be sure to remove the stuffing or tell the owners it's blocked! My dad once smoked up the whole house once because he forgot to remove the insulation he crammed up there the year before.
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#18 of 19 Old 12-23-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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Okay thanks...

The reason I was asking is because we have a woodburning stove on the main level and a fireplace in the downstairs family room. We were concerned about CO2 downstairs as we believed there wasn't adequate ventilation and during the inspection, they found that the damper was broken on the fireplace. We are eventually going to replace the fireplace with an insert and I wanted to make sure that the whole FLUE wasn't broken (which would mean relining, from what I understand.) I wanted to make sure that what I was told was accurate and that I hadn't misunderstood. The guys that did the inspection are from NY. I'm in the Midwest.

Thanks again!
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#19 of 19 Old 12-23-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebecca View Post
Yeah, Velochick, you're right. The damper is the little (dirty) metal door that closes off the flue, somewhat.

Oh, if you move, be sure to remove the stuffing or tell the owners it's blocked! My dad once smoked up the whole house once because he forgot to remove the insulation he crammed up there the year before.
Yeah to that. I admit, I've been alarmed reading all these posts about people just stuffing flammable things up the chimney. This just doesn't sound very safe to me. Especially insulation. Egads.
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