How to Seal a Fireplace


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Old 11-14-13, 07:20 PM
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How to Seal a Fireplace

I have a 1700 sq ft split level. On the main floor there is a fireplace with a gas insert. The main floor is COLD! Many reasons why, but one is the fireplace has a wicked draft -- I can feel the cold air pouring into the room. I don't use the gas insert because the blower motor is on the fritz and makes a ton of noise. I'm pretty sure the gas insert wasn't installed correctly, as I can easily tip it and drag it out of the fireplace. I'm thinking of getting rid of the gas insert and sealing up the fireplace, any suggestions? Or do you all think I should fix the insert and start using it? Thanks for the help, I'm a long-time guest user and this is my first post.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 04:37 AM
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It sounds like it is an outside chimney that creates a down draft when it gets cold. If the installation was that poor, I would opt for removing it and sealing it up, but saving anything that could be safely used for a proper high efficiency unit. Be sure that gas line is turned off and discontinued correctly.

The new sealed combustion units that burn outside air can provide good heat and an alternate source when needed.

Bud
 
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Old 11-15-13, 05:06 AM
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Got a picture?
Is it just gas logs or are a real insert?
Any insert I've worked on is just slid into place, not attached to anything.
 
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Old 11-20-13, 07:38 AM
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Google "lock Top Damper".
They're easy to install and seal up great when the fireplace is not in use.
 
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Old 11-21-13, 03:58 PM
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Name:  fireplace.JPG
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Here is a picture. I'd like to keep the heating source, but as I've said the blower motor is in rough shape.
 
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Old 11-21-13, 04:01 PM
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Bud,

I think we are on the same thought line. I'm thinking I'd like to remove it for this winter, seal up the fireplace, and then next year install a direct vent insert. I'm thinking of a flu balloon in the damper, but I feel like I need to seal the actual opening into the room. How can I do this without ruining the fireplace?

Seth
 
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Old 11-21-13, 07:58 PM
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Today was first really cold and windy day and I couldn't take the draft. I disconnected the insert and removed the fireplace. I was a little alarmed to see that whoever installed it simply used aluminum flex ducting, like what is used for dryers, to connect the insert vent to the top of the chimney. Is this normal practice? I pushed the flex duct up above the flue damper and closed the metal damper. I also found that whoever ran the gas line simply drilled a large hole in the exterior of the chimney and fed the gas line through…there was open air to the outside. I filled this hole with spray foam. Here is what I am left with, any recommendations how to temporarily close of the fireplace opening?

Attachment 21735

Seth
 
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Old 11-21-13, 08:04 PM
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Picture didn't upload correctly. Here it is

Name:  fireplace2.JPG
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Old 11-22-13, 12:42 AM
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A second heat source is nice, emergencies or just enjoyment. During our ice storm of 98 there was one development of fine homes the all required electricity for the heating systems. No alternate heating option at all. They froze solid while I cooked and heated out home with our little air tight wood stove. It wasn't 70 degrees in the house but it also wasn't 30 degrees. Toasty in front of the stove and the rest survived. Doing it right makes for a nice asset.

Speaking of doing it right, don't hesitate to get everything inspected by your local fire department. Having them approve the install adds to value and peace of mind. Makes the insurance company happier as well.

For covering the front I have run into many homes where the damper just wasn't enough. My advice and help involved a simple wood frame just inside the front with a foam perimeter. With a tight fit and the foam it will often stay in place without fastening it to the brick. Then a nice piece of plywood or MDF painted as desired, or even a picture of a fireplace in action, and it seals off the air flow and looks reasonable.

Not sure about their chimney liner, but in a good chimney all they are doing is reducing the diameter to improve exhaust flow. Check with a stove company, that may be what they use for a retrofit.

Bud
 
 

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