previous
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Remodeling Articles
    Remodeling Articles
  • Hot Water Now
    Hot Water Now
  • Pro Tool Rental. Learn More.
    Pro Tool Rental. Learn More.
  • Projects Done Right
    Projects Done Right
  • Custom Flooring Inspiration
    Custom Flooring Inspiration
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
    Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
next

How to Stop a Fireplace Draft

Q: My home was built in 1953 with two brick fireplaces. Even with the glass doors and the flue dampers closed, I can feel drafts. What can I do to stop this air leakage?





A: Marc Rosenbaum, P.E., of Energysmiths in Meriden, New Hampshire, replies:  I have never found completely airtight glass doors for fireplace use, but a chimney-top damper will solve the leaky fireplace throat-damper problem. These products close the chimney off tightly at the top of the flue and can be retrofitted to an existing chimney. Chimney-top dampers are operated by a lever mounted in the firebox, so they can be opened and closed from inside the living space.

The only possible disadvantage to a chimney-top damper is that it adds a slight restriction to the flue, so a fireplace with a marginal draft may begin to smoke more readily. Also, if there are cracks in the flue, the likelihood of pulling smoke from an operating flue to an adjacent one— which has the chimney-top damper closed—may increase. Flues that are not tight are serious hazards. Have a chimney sweep visually check the integrity of your flues before installing any new chimney product.

Two manufacturers make chimney-top dampers: Chim-A-Lator Co. (8824 Wentworth Ave., Bloomington, Minn. 55420, 612-884-7274) and Lyemance International (P.O. Box 505, Jeffersonville, Ind. 47131, 812-288-9953).

Both manufacturers also make models that include an integral chimney cap with coarse metal mesh that keeps out varmints, even when the damper is open. The two companies make many other accessories, including outdoor combustion air intakes designed to be built into the fireplace floor or sidewall. An outdoor combustion-air intake cuts down on drafts occupants feel when the fireplace is operating because the fire no longer needs to get all of its makeup air from the room.


From Fine Homebuilding 91, pp. 20 November 1, 1994