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I have a wood burning fireplace insert, that is not currently being used.

enter image description here

Now that it's cold in my area (27F), I've noticed that there is quite a draft coming from the fireplace. How can I cover/insulate the fireplace to stop the draft?

Rules:

  • Must be wife approved (so not too ugly).
  • Must stop the draft.
  • Must be easily removable.
  • Must be safe when fireplace is in use.

I've seen solutions where a sewn blanket is hung over the fireplace, using hook and loop tape. I have my fears that the hook and loop tape would not fair so well while a fire is burning, but I'm not sure how hot the face of the fire box gets (since we've not had a fire yet).

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In addition to checking the damper for the flue, there's also a fresh air intake that can be opened and closed. Look for a small lever behind the glass, possibly on the side. It's also possible that the entire wall is uninsulated and what you feel as a draft is the cooler air around this wall sinking to the floor. An IR thermometer and something to create smoke can be helpful in narrowing this problem down. –  BMitch Dec 4 '13 at 12:00
    
@BMitch The damper is closed, and indeed the cold seems to be coming from the uninsulated chase, rather than down the flue. Looking through the grates at the top and bottom of the insert, gives a direct view into the chase. –  Tester101 Dec 4 '13 at 12:06
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Similar to @BMitch's answer, I used a magnetic cover to cover the vent below my fireplace. We found this was the primary cool air leak for our fireplace and I bet it is yours too. It works great, and is very simple to remove before starting a fire. Since it is black like the fireplace, it is not even noticed. I bought one from this site selling the exact size I needed and in black.

With magnet on magnet removed and sitting in front

Here is my fireplace with it on and removed.

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If the worst part of the draft is coming from the vents above and below your insert, you can block the draft with some magnetic vent covers:

enter image description here

Test the your insert first with a magnet to make sure these covers will stick.

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That should work, provided the wife approves of the appearance. The face of the fireplace shouldn't get hot enough to burn your hand, otherwise it'd be a safety hazard. The tape should do just fine.

Is the chimney damper closed?

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The damper does seem like the first and foremost thing to check. No impact on appearance, safe while burning if you remember to open it first (a sign on a chain that hangs right down at wood-level is useful if you might forget.) If you don't have one or it's not closing tightly, a chimney-top damper has certain advantages in retrofitting one. –  Ecnerwal Nov 13 '13 at 21:59
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You may have solved this already but an alternative is a Chimney Balloon.

enter image description here

It is easy to install, and you don't see it. If you accidentally leave it in then it will melt and deflate and is not going to go ablaze in the fireplace. You'll need to pick the correct size though,

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