For me having a wood-burning fireplace is a must for heating my home in the cold and dreary winter, but there are times when a storm is on the way or the days when it’s windy out that I can feel a cold draft wafting from my fireplace opening. It sends chills up my spine each time. This year I decided to tackle the problem by investigating how to stop the cold air draft with a fireplace draft cover.
Stopping a fireplace draft is not difficult. Some options include the use of a fireplace draft cover, installing a damper device, the use of a fireplace draft stopper or a fireplace insert. Other options are fireplace vent covers or adding glass doors to the fireplace to stop drafts from coming through.
I was determined to search for all the information I needed to stop cold air drafts from bugging me in the winter. I researched the causes and solutions of fireplace drafts thoroughly before choosing an option that I knew would work best for my needs, and I wanted to share that information. It was surprising to find how much heat loss a drafty chimney can account for. Heat loss up a chimney can be as much as 73%.
Why Is A Draft Coming Down The Chimney?
If like me you have very noticeable cold air coming from your fireplace you ideally need to identify the main problem before spending money on a solution. After some digging, I found these reasons for a fireplace draft.
The House Has Poor Airflow
The main reason I had a cold air draft issue with my fireplace was that my home had poor airflow. I had put a lot of time and money into ensuring most of the house was as airtight as possible, not knowing it would adversely affect my fireplace.
A house must have enough airflow if you don’t want your fireplace to have a draft. This is because a chimney will normally draw air up it. After all, that’s its job, to keep smoke from choking you. You can check if that is the issue with your fireplace by opening a window while using your fireplace.
If you find less of a draft, you know you need to allow better airflow in your home. Also if you notice that smoke or fumes are present in the room this is another sign of p[oor airflow.
The Wrong Size Chimney
Few people know that when you upgrade your fireplace you may also need to upgrade your chimney or flue liner. If the liner is not lined up properly or in the right size, it will cause a cold air draft from the fireplace. You will need to have your chimney inspected if you think you might have this issue.
How To Cover A Fireplace Draft
Even if you’ve addressed the issues above a fireplace can still be drafty. There are many ways to cover a fireplace to prevent a draft from coming in, and I researched a few to find one that would work best for my fireplace. Here are some solutions I found:-
Installing Glass Doors
One of the best ideas I discovered was to install glass doors in front of the fireplace. This particular solution is perfect for those who have an open hearth fireplace. I didn’t have the right fireplace, so I could not use this method.
If you do, I suggest using tempered glass doors in front of the fireplace as an effective way of keeping the cold air draft out of your home. It’s also energy efficient as it helps keep the warm air circulating in your house rather than going up the chimney. The glass screen will heat up and help radiate heat from the fire. It will also act as a safety barrier for children and pets.
Use The Fireplace Damper/Chimney Cap
I wanted to know if using a chimney cap/damper worked, so I asked a friend who had his replaced not long ago. He informed me that using a chimney cap worked to keep cold drafts out of his fireplace.
I checked my chimney cap/damper to ensure it worked properly. I learned that the fireplace damper should always be open when you are using the fireplace.
The damper helps the air to flow properly, and if the damper is closed or not working, it won’t just cause a cold air draft, but your home will fill with smoke and carbon monoxide. My damper was not working correctly, so I had to replace mine.
My friend also suggested not to use a cone-shaped chimney cap as it caused a downward draft, and using a rotating one made a mess on your roof, so I installed a regular square one, which has helped keep the air flowing correctly.
Using Fireplace Draft Stopper Or Chimney Balloon
I opted to use a fireplace draft stopper called a “Flueblocker” It’s made of wool and fits snugly up the chimney out of sight. These types of fireplace draft stoppers also have the added benefit of preventing unwanted soot or wildlife from falling into the hearth.
When I wasn’t using my fireplace the flueblocker worked well and is more budget-friendly than some other options. Other types of fireplace draft stoppers or plugs come in the form of inflatable chimney balloon devices made from balloon urethane, they fit snuggly up the chimney to stop any cold drafts from coming through. Most types of chimney balloon will allow a small amount of air to vent around them to keep a small amount of airflow.
It was a helpful solution as I only wanted to stop the cold air draft until I could get the draft problem sorted out permanently.
Installing A New Chimney
As much as it bugs me to say, some chimneys can’t be saved. It’s one of the last options you should consider, but I need to mention it; sometimes, if all else has failed, the problem might be solved by investing a little money to build a new chimney.
I was lucky, I found solutions that worked for me, but if your chimney is barely working, skewed, and parts are falling off, getting a new one is best. You can build a brick-and-mortar one or have a gas one installed.
Do fireplace blankets work?
Fireplace blankets are made of thick insulating fire-resistant material. They attach over the front of a fireplace – usually with magnets. They are best used after you’ve had a fire burning o that only the embers remain. You can then place the blanket over the fire while it cools to prevent cold air from coming into the room.
The problem is they aren’t very attractive to look at so might only be useful for a cabin. Some people find that they work great at stopping a cold air draft, while others find that they do not work at all. The best way to find out if a fireplace blanket will work for you is to try it out and see.
Will Cleaning My Chimney Help Stop Cold Drafts?
I found that one of the reasons I might have a draft coming from my fireplace was if the flue was blocked. It’s important to sweep and check your chimney regularly.
When you use the fireplace, creosote builds up in the flue and chimney, and over time this can block proper airflow as the chimney won’t be able to open and close properly. Regular chimney sweeps will help to eliminate this issue.
What Can You Use To Insulate A Fireplace?
I decided to use a fireplace draft stopper or flueblocker when my chimney is not in use, but there are other ways to insulate a fireplace that also work. Some of the best options besides buying a fireplace plug include:
- Using an inflatable rectangular flameproof pillow as a fireplace draft stopper,
- Using a decorative fitted fireplace cover,
- Use insulating flameproof foam board by cutting out the correct shape, then pressing it in place under the damper.
However you decide to insulate your fireplace you should make sure that the material is flame retardant or flameproof.
No one likes a drafty fireplace; for me, it was a real issue until I researched the causes and discovered a few quick and easy solutions. I opted to have my chimney swept, replace my chimney cap, and use a fireplace draft stopper when I am not using my fireplace. I hope some of the suggestions work as well for you as they did for me, and they keep you warmer this winter, as. well as help cut the energy bills for heating your home.