Country Lore: A Handy Fireplace Draft Stopper

If you have a dectorative fireplace that is more of a conduit for cold air than a source of heat, this easy-to-make fireplace draft stopper should help keep your home warmer in the winter.
By Joe and Margaret Rudich
December 2009/January 2010

As pretty as a roaring fire may be, some fireplaces let in more cold air than produce warm air. A removable fireplace draft stopper is one possible solution.
PHOTO: FRANCISCO/FOTOLIA


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When we bought a house with a built-in fireplace in the mid-1990s, we looked forward to using wood to reduce the cost of heating through our cold Minnesota winters.

We quickly learned, however, that our fireplace is hardly a positive influence on energy costs. As in many homes, the fireplace is placed on an outside wall, and its base and chimney are constructed in a channel that extends outside the house’s primary wall. As a result, far more heat goes out of the home and up the chimney than comes in when a fire is burning. When we have no fire, cold air races down the chimney, barely slowed by a thin metal flue before it turns to a cool draft in the house. I know many suburban homes have this type of inefficient fireplace, and they waste nearly as much energy as an open window.

We may eventually trade this purely decorative fireplace for a woodstove with true heating ability. Until then, we only use it occasionally and have come up with a simple fireplace draft stopper to keep cold air out the rest of the time.

I cut a 2-inch sheet of pink insulating foam into the shape of the fireplace opening, leaving a quarter inch on the top and sides. It fits fairly well in this form, but my wife fit a cloth blanket over the panel to further close the gaps and make this insulation an attractive part of our home. We no longer hear or feel the cold wind blowing down our chimney, and we can easily remove the panel when we do want to have a fire.

Joe and Margaret Rudich
Cottage Grove, Minnesota








Post a comment below.

 

Beverly Lerch
10/11/2013 6:58:37 PM
Here's an alternative--www.fireplacefashion.com.. the FIREPLACE FASHION COVER will attached to your fireplace doors or screens with industrial strength magnets that are hidden inside the cover, no modifications to or residue on your existing fireplace. Folds in thirds when you want to burn a fire. The fireplace fashion covers not only stop the cold drafts and heat loss, they look great. We are a small start up business in Havre De Grace Maryland that manufactures and retails a great solution to fireplace drafts and your expensive heat going up your chimney. All of our covers are hand made in Maryland of all American components. Check us out at www.fireplacefashion.com Thanks G.

Beverly Lerch
10/11/2013 6:58:26 PM
Here's an alternative--www.fireplacefashion.com.. the FIREPLACE FASHION COVER will attached to your fireplace doors or screens with industrial strength magnets that are hidden inside the cover, no modifications to or residue on your existing fireplace. Folds in thirds when you want to burn a fire. The fireplace fashion covers not only stop the cold drafts and heat loss, they look great. We are a small start up business in Havre De Grace Maryland that manufactures and retails a great solution to fireplace drafts and your expensive heat going up your chimney. All of our covers are hand made in Maryland of all American components. Check us out at www.fireplacefashion.com Thanks G.

Christy Walker
3/12/2013 5:12:29 PM
Draft Decor has easy to use magnetic vent covers to stop the cold air coming in your vents...and a Flue-cover to work inside your fireplace to stop air instantly.. www.christywalkercreations.com

Michael Sherfield
1/14/2012 12:54:43 PM
Take a look at the Dratf Guard @ www.draftguard.us We have beeen using it for two years. You don't even notice it in place and it helps year round.

Dakota Woman
11/21/2009 3:28:20 PM
The attic door leak is simple to fix. If it's in the ceiling, make . buy a nice picture frame, put weatherstripping on the back side of it, put a nice picture in it or maybe do something creative with ceramic tiles, & put it up so the air space is stopped. It is easy to hinge it so when you drop the stairs, the framed art drops out of the way behind the stair. If the attic door is a door similar to any room-entry door, either weatherstrip from the backside so it isn't seen, hang a quilt,rug, or tapestry so the door is covered, or put the weatherstripping on the back side of a frame you build to fit the door's measurements & make it a decorative treatment. How duhll if all doors are the same in a house!

mark tyrol
11/19/2009 5:57:39 AM
How To Reduce Your Energy Bills / Energy Conservation Begins at Home Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan or AC Return, a fireplace or a clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day. These often overlooked sources of energy loss and air leakage can cause heat and AC to pour out and the outside air to rush in -- costing you higher energy bills. But what can you do about the four largest “holes” in your home -- the folding attic stair, the whole house fan or AC return, the fireplace, and the clothes dryer? To learn more visit www.batticdoor.com Mark D. Tyrol is a Professional Engineer specializing in cause and origin of construction defects. He developed several residential energy conservation products including an attic stair cover and an attic access door. Battic Door is the US distributor of the fireplace plug.








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