Cold Air Coming In Through Fireplace: Causes & Solutions

A condition most homeowners will do their best to avoid is cold air coming in through your fireplace.

This is most evident during the winter season when the objective is to have your home heated. Cold air coming in through the fireplace only makes it more difficult to heat your home efficiently as heat is lost.

Heat loss can be so drastic when this situation isn’t addressed urgently. So, what are the causes, and what does cold air coming in through the fireplace mean? We’re here to offer as many answers as we can.

Apart from answers, our objective is to also proffer lasting solutions.

Problems Caused By Cold Air Flowing Down Chimney

One of the first signs of trouble, when cold air comes in through chimneys, is a drop in temperature. This defeats the aim of heating as significant discomfort results from this situation.

There are other negative impacts such as increasing in heating costs or bills.

You’ll need to increase heating to balance out the cold breezing in. The longer the fireplace is allowed to burn, the more the heating costs are.

Why Cold Air Flow Down Your Chimney

Cold air doesn’t suddenly begin to flow in through your fireplace without a reason.

There are multiple reasons why this situation plays out. By knowing its causes, you’re able to take appropriate action in resolving it. Plus, the faster such solution is provided the better.

The possible reasons for cold air coming through your fireplace include the creation of negative pressure, insulation issues, and open dampers.

These three scenarios are likely to cause all sorts of issues with temperature loss. Let’s take a look at each of them.

  • Creation of Negative Pressure

Negative pressure in a home is akin to the creation of a house vacuum.

Negative pressure simply refers to a situation where cold air is drawn into a home through paths of least resistance. Your chimney offers to serve as the gateway through which cold air is drawn in.

So, why does this occur? It happens when more appliances needing air function at the same time. Most homes are designed to be airtight. This means the installation of airtight seals on doors and windows.

With a limited or controlled amount of air coming in, add more being used up, it creates an imbalance.

Such imbalance is leveled out or equalized by air suction. Only this time, cold air is pulled in to replace lost air. As long as negative pressure within a home persists, there will be cold air coming in through a fireplace.

  • Insulation Issues

Insulation is important in a home as it helps regulate temperature loss or gain.

Fireplace inserts and fireplaces may require zero clearance during installation. When such areas are left exposed, it easily leads to air coming in through the fireplace opening.

This leads to temperature loss and increased heating costs. This situation is common for certain fireplaces designed with their back end or half facing or projecting outside.

Now, all the sides will need to be properly insulated to prevent temperature loss.

This is why it’s important to have a reputable chimney service perform all your installation needs. This is only one possible area to look out for as the temperature drop may be from elsewhere.

Have a professional chimney technician check for possible areas of temperature drop around your fireplace.

  • Open or Non-Existent Dampers Top Sealing Damper

Cold drafts can be caused by open or non-existent dampers. Now, dampers serve important functions such as the regulation of air intake and expulsion of smoke from combustion as well as gases.

With a top-sealing damper, cold drafts are well controlled.

These provisions (top-sealing dampers) have gasket closures that act as seals to easily keep out cold air when the chimney isn’t in use. When the top sealing damper is closed, no cold air passes through the fireplace.

These are some of the advantages of installing a top sealing damper.

Solution For Cold Air Coming in Through Fireplace

So far, we’ve seen the various reasons why you’re experiencing cold drafts through a fireplace. We’re not only going to focus on the causes, but also solutions to such problems.

Based on the causes discussed above, possible solutions include lesser use of ventilation fans and slightly opening up a window close to the appliance used.

Other solutions include inspecting for possible insulation issues and sealing up open spaces. Have a fireplace door installed and also consider a top-sealing damper.

Chimney balloons or plugs will be of great help. Having your chimney permanently sealed is also an option.

  • Lesser Use of Ventilation Fans

Lesser use of ventilation fans will do a lot to reduce cold air coming in through a fireplace. You only have to put them on when necessary.

  • Inspecting and Fixing Possible Insulation Issues

Insulation issues are likely to occur as discussed above.

However, these can be addressed by having the fireplace area inspected. The aim is to pinpoint the area(s) leaking in cold air. A chimney technician performs this task reliably.

  • Have a Fireplace Door Installed

A fireplace door does a lot to keep in sparking embers and ash from getting out. Another benefit is you get from this fireplace component is its ability to keep or block out cold drafts.

  • Installing a Top Sealing Damper

Chimneys having no top-sealing dampers are likely to leak in cold air that enters through your fireplace. Your best bet of preventing such problems is by having a top-sealing damper installed.

Have a chimney sweep inspect your damper and recommend the best possible action to be taken.

Of course, such a technician should get the job done. You mustn’t complicate the process by adopting DIY techniques.

  • Permanently Seal your Chimney

Is this really an option? It depends on who you ask.

For some owners, a decision may be made not to use a fireplace again. This may be due to the installation of a gas stove, or electric stoves. Whatever the case is if you feel you won’t be making use of your fireplace again, consider having it permanently sealed.

The task of permanently sealing an existing fireplace must be handled by a professional. This helps prevent future problems that could occur.

Cold air coming in through a fireplace is a problem that can be fixed by the above actions. First, the causes need to be identified. We’ve provided a list of possible explanations for this phenomenon.

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