Can this upper vent be covered/removed? This is a wood fireplace, that we plan on using. There is also a hole in the right side of the fireplace.

We plan on putting a large post/shelf where this vent is, but are unsure if covering or removing this is unsafe.

  • 2
    refer to the fireplace instalation instructions ...
    – jsotola
    Jul 31, 2023 at 2:21
  • 3
    At minimum it will reduce the effectiveness of the fireplace at producing heat, as it's all but certain to be the exhaust vent of a "heatilator" to recover some heat before it goes up the flue. Unless you are "using it" merely for amusement value rather than to get some heat, this plan sounds unwise for that reason alone. The location is probably also too close to the top of the fireplace for any shelf made of wood or other combustible materials.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 31, 2023 at 2:34

2 Answers 2


The comments have already addressed that you should look at the installation instructions of the fireplace. And it is probably an exhaust. Ours needed in air inlet, but that was a grill much lower down.

Whether you remove the vent or not. If you are wanting to put a timber shelf, you can do what we did. We got a metal heat deflector made - it was actually designed by our fireplace installer. It was very thin, barely visible, and hung down about an inch from the shelf. It was very effective.


I am pretty sure that the lower vent in the intake and hides fans. Those fans pull in cool air from the room and push it around the fire box, heating it, then push it back into the room via the exhaust. It is a great way to recover some of the heat made from burning the wood. I imagine you could cover both of those vents if you wanted, but I would question if the fire box material itself could withstand the buildup of heat in doing so. You should call a fireplace shop and ask them for their opinion, in my opinion.

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