While it’s true that less than 50% of new-build homes come equipped with a fireplace, many old homes still have chimneys and fireboxes.
Having an old-fashioned fireplace with a chimney can make your home cozier and more attractive. However, it can also bring in an unwanted cold draft.
What does it mean if your fireplace is drafty? How can you fix the problem so that your fireplace remains a source of heat and comfort, not a source of chilly air?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about fireplaces that are letting in cold air and how to stop drafts.
What Causes That Cold Draft?
You let your fire go out and within a matter of minutes or hours, the room becomes frigid. When you approach the firebox, you feel cold air coming out in gusts. What’s the deal?
Scientifically speaking, air becomes a draft or breeze when it’s moving from high to low pressure. In other words, the pressure at the top of your chimney is higher than the pressure below, and cold air will pump in until that pressure reaches equilibrium. There’s nothing you can do to alter the science behind wind, but you can block off the entry points that are letting that wind into your house.
A cold draft coming from your fireplace opening indicates that those same components of your chimney that are meant to pull smoke and toxins out, like the flue, aren’t doing anything to keep cold air from coming in. If you try closing your damper and the glass doors on the front of your firebox and it doesn’t solve the problem, you’re going to need to do some renovating.
Is There a Cold Draft Quick Fix?
If this is a matter of desperate times, you may need to rely on desperate measures. In other words, if your house is freezing because of a drafty fireplace, you may need to close off that fireplace ASAP before you can invest in permanent solutions.
To do so, you’ll need a thick plastic sheet and strong tape. Cut the plastic so that it is a few inches larger than your fireplace opening and apply tape around the entire edge. No, you can’t use your fireplace when it’s wrapped up in plastic, but you will cut down on that cold draft until you can put long-term solutions in place.
Long-Term Solutions for Cold Drafts Coming from Your Fireplace
Now, let’s talk about real solutions that will allow you to continue to enjoy your fireplace without having to live in a freezer every time the fire isn’t roaring. Consult a fireplace and chimney professional to determine which of these steps will make the biggest impact on your fireplace.
Check the Damper
First, check the damper, a metal device located above your firebox and below the flue, and make sure that it is closed when you aren’t using your fireplace. If it is closed and you still feel a draft, you may need a new damper. If your damper is warped, rusted, or otherwise damaged, it’s not going to create a proper seal to keep out cold air.
Consider a Fireplace Plug
In addition to replacing your damper, you can also invest in a fireplace plug. Fireplace plugs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functionalities, but the purpose is to further seal off the flue when the fireplace isn’t in use. Many fireplace plugs are inexpensive and easy to take out and put in.
Install a Chimney Cap
While chimney caps can’t keep 100% of outdoor air out of your chimney, they can work wonders for cutting down on that cold draft. Plus, chimney caps with mesh sides can keep out unwanted pests and critters. The only downside is that your chimney cap can become a hub for creosote, and you will need to have it inspected and cleaned annually to prevent clogs and chimney fires.
Install Glass Doors
If your only line of defense outside of the firebox is a mesh screen, it’s time to consider glass fireplace doors. Always be sure to hire a professional to help with the selection and installation process, as glass fireplace doors need to be designed specifically for fireplaces.
Keep in mind that most of these glass doors have loose hardware to ensure that you can open and close them regardless of temperature, and these doors, alone, won’t stop a draft. That said, they are a great component in the overall line of defense.
Install a Fireplace Insert
Maybe you’re tired of dealing with your existing fireplace, in general. It isn’t bringing you joy to build a wood-burning fire and to keep your chimney clean and functional. Now, this cold draft has you even more frustrated about your fireplace.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to consider a fireplace insert (aka retrofit). Fireplace inserts are one of the many incredible fireplace options on the market today, and you can find them in both gas and electric. As the name implies, fireplace inserts are installed in your existing firebox, and with the right size and model, you can block off that draft for good.
Contact Dreifuss Fireplaces for More Fireplace Solutions
The last thing you want is for your fireplace to become the source of a cold draft. With this guide, you can assess the potential causes and find smart solutions to stop that cold air in its tracks. For many homeowners, the best solution is to install a new fireplace insert for a whole new fireplace experience.
Want to learn more about fireplace solutions? Contact Dreifuss Fireplaces to learn about the different products on the market today and how we can help you attain the fireplace of your dreams.