Asked on Nov 25, 2013

Draft coming in from fireplace. What can I fix and Who do I call?

Teresa D
by Teresa D
Hey guys,
I have a few questions about my gas fireplace. I have ceramic logs and use a key to turn onthe gas and I have to light it with a match. Cold air is coming in from the fireplace. I’ve got glass doors over the opening butthey are not flush so lots of gaps. I believe wasps are coming in through thereas well.
One cause could be that the damper seems to be stuck andwill not close all the way. I’m not sureif the flap is warped or what. It is acylindrical, swinging hinge type of damper. I pull the lever and it seems as though something is stopping it fromgoing all the way. Also, while I was outin the yard this weekend, I noticed an exhaust vent of some kind at the bottomof the chimney. The flaps were hangingdown so it’s always open.
My questions are as follows:
1. Who do I call to look at my damper? A plumber? A handyman?
2. Is that vent supposed to be open like that all the timeor did someone just put the wrong cap on it?
As always, thanks bunches!
Here is where it is located.
Close up so you can see the flaps hanging open.
This isn't mine, but the damper kinda looks like this. Not sure it has that clip on it.
Here is another picture of a damper like mine. I've got a metal arm that I push or pull to open or close the damper.
  14 answers
  • Janet Smith Janet Smith on Nov 25, 2013
    See if you can find a company that installs fireplaces or perhaps a chimney cleaning service. Either one should be able to correct the issues.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Nov 26, 2013
    Plumber, is who you call. If. You can use something and push it close and spray it with WD 40. I would try that before I called anyone. Those things get wet, little rusty and sometimes need a little help.
  • That is definitely the wrong vent cap for that application. Those louvers work by gravity. If they are always pointing down they will always be open. Try a hardware/big box store for a downward vent cap. If not available, have the vent rerouted out the side or back instead of underneath. Easy job for a handyman or yourself. As for the damper, if it won't close there must be something stopping it. Put on some gloves and feel around to find out what it is. Also easy job for handyman. I do like the fireplace store idea if you don't feel up to it though. They would know the proper codes and know how to do the job correctly.
  • It Makes Scents It Makes Scents on Nov 26, 2013
  • Cynthia Freeney Cynthia Freeney on Nov 26, 2013
    Because of the possible dangers involved with making changes to a fireplace venting system, I'd strongly suggest that you call in someone who really knows what they are doing. Dampers, chimneys and the entire venting system exist to make sure that there is enough oxygen supply for combustion, and to make sure that the harmful sub products of the combustion (including deadly carbon monoxide) are safely and effectively expelled. You need a professional that understands the physics involved and is capable of eliminating the draft problem, without endangering your home and family. That person therefore is NOT a plumber and NOT your neighborhood handyman -- unless they have a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certification. Please stay on the safe side. Try to locate a certified professional in your area. As someone said -- a certified fireplace installer or certified chimney sweep service are your best alternatives here
  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on Nov 27, 2013
    Call a plumber..Some gas logs have to be vented and others dont..I would leave it alone till I found out..
  • Higgins const. Higgins const. on Nov 28, 2013
    call a chimney sweep, the thing on the exterior is a fresh air in take, fire needs air to burn. It is the wrong cover for it. good luck.
  • Mary Patterson Mary Patterson on Nov 29, 2013
    If it's chimney-related, call chimney sweeps. Just start calling them and asking your questions. They will know right away what you're talking about and help you get started. They might charge you a minimal fee to come out and inspect it. Be sure to call more than one to get the best price.
  • The gas log fireplace requires that a device be installed on the damper, which can be seen in the photo to prevent the damper from closing all the way. this prevents owners from running the gas fire logs and causing CO from entering into the room. This is part of the fuel gas code and must not be altered in any way. If you decide to convert back to wood, then the bracket can be safely removed as you will remember fast that the damper is closed if you burn wood and the smoke fills the room. Normally drafts are not an issue with fireplaces as they normally draft upwards and not down. If your finding that the air is flowing down, you need to determine why your home is in such a negative pressure. Check your hot water heater also for down drafts near the chimney. do this when the furnace is running and if its in basement the basement door is closed. Another reason why you will feel these drafts is poor quality air sealing around the fireplace box. On the bottom the contractor very rarely air seals or insulates causing the surrounding fire box to get quite cold. The fix is to have a contractor that understands fireplaces of this type open up and properly insulate and air seal around the fireplace. This will go a long way to making the home warmer. Another method is to purchase a foam fireplace board that fits inside the front of the fireplace preventing any air going in or out. It will block the entire face of the fireplace and must be removed to expose the fire logs and system before you can lite it. As far as the plastic hood below the fireplace outside. Its wrong, I doubt it has anything to do with the fireplace, Most likely a vent for a bath or dryer. IN any case its not properly located and needs to be fixed. It too can cause cold drafts left open as it is. A HVAC contractor should be able to fix this for you.
  • Karon Nelson Roberts Karon Nelson Roberts on Dec 02, 2013
    Call the company that supplies the gas. They will either come inspect or recommend a certified professional. Because it's gas, I would NOT try to do any repairs... you could cause CO2 to be expelled into the house--This is a POISON gas. Good Luck
  • Drafts from overlooked holes waste energy and cost you big in the form of higher energy bills. Drafts are the largest source ofheating and cooling loss in the home. Drafts also occur through these “overlooked holes” in your home -- the folding attic stair, the whole house fan,the fireplace and the clothes dryer. Battic Door Energy has solutions for these any many other drafty spots.
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 12, 2014
    Careful who you call - this looks like a diy gone wrong and code violations could red tag your gas service. I would suggest you contact an HVAC contractor for proper venting - a plumber would be for gas line itself. I completely agree with the downward vent needed - looks like somebody put a dryer vent on the bottom of your soffit vent which I agree is NOT proper use, they are intended to mount vertically and blow open when the dryer blows air out. This vent is a dream home for wasps. In the meantime put some small screening over the hole to keep out the wasps.
  • First, the vent is the wrong type. However, I think your drafting is coming from a similar problem i have seen many times before. when these fireplaces are framed and then installed they are rarely insulated right around the shaft. As such there is extreme drafts and heat lose that come from the same. You can easily call a home inspector that does a heat lose views via a thermal meter which shows heat loss areas. I put my money on it that this whole fireplace chase in not insulated well if it all.It is not expensive to have this done and it will clearly show you the problem. If it is the case you can call a contractor or you will have to remove the vinyl siding then the sheathing and insulate replace it back and you will be fine. it really isn't that hard to do. Good Luck
  • Bil12032705 Bil12032705 on Oct 03, 2016
    can you cover the outside or top of chimney with a piece of fibro and remove it for the fire season.