Masonry fireplaces add a beautiful aesthetic touch to a home, but they aren’t highly efficient when it comes to heating and preserving the heat. A common issue homeowners who run masonry fireplaces describe is cold air drafts coming from the fireplace. If this is a problem you’re having, here are some ways to address it.
Stopping the cold air
The logical way to deal with a cold and drafty fireplace is to stop the cold air. That can be done several ways.
Damper: Keeping your throat damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use is an ideal way to prevent drafty air. If the damper is rusty or warped, it may let cold air through, so have your damper inspected if you believe this is a problem. Also, consider adding a top-sealing damper, which sits at the top of the chimney and increases protection against drafts.
Fireplace doors: A pair of tight-sealing fireplace doors will do a fine job in keeping any cold air that escapes the damper(s) out of your home.
Available in various materials and design styles, fireplace doors bring the additional benefit of beautifying your hearth area. Those are the two most effective ways to address a drafty fireplace.
Increasing the heat
A little cold air coming in often can be solved by increasing the amount of heat your fireplace generates.
Fireback: A fireback is a cast iron plate that goes inside the firebox. It serves to protect the firebox and also radiates a good amount of heat out of the fireplace and into the room.
Fireplace heater: Fireplace heaters draw air from inside the room into the fireplace, where it circulates and heats up. The new, warmer air is then sent back to the room for everyone to enjoy.
Adding a more efficient appliance
Stopping cold air and increasing the heat from the fireplace are good options if your masonry fireplace is too cold and drafty. But the best solution is to have a heating appliance where drafty air isn’t a problem to begin with.
Fireplace insert: A fireplace insert is a specially made fireplace that comes self-contained from the manufacturer. It is installed inside the firebox of an existing masonry fireplace. The insert operates on a closed-combustion system that allows it to retain a huge percentage of the heat it produces and push it out into the room.
You won’t have cold drafts with an insert like you do with an open masonry fireplace. Fireplace inserts can run on wood, gas or pellets and are among the most efficient heating appliances on the market.
Zero-clearance fireplace: Zero-clearance, or ZC fireplaces also are factory built but are designed to be installed in a wall within your home, not inside a masonry firebox.
These units are insulated and safe, and they come with extremely high heat-efficiency ratings. By retiring your masonry fireplace and running a powerful ZC fireplace, you’ll experience an immediate positive difference in your indoor temperatures.
Complete Chimneys of Pasadena, MD, can help you solve the problem of a drafty fireplace. We safely install fireplace doors, firebacks, fireplace heaters, fireplace inserts and zero-clearance fireplaces. Don’t be cold another winter. Call us at (410) 544-7600 and bring on the warmth.