Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert – 1

We mentioned a few days ago in our Home Energy Conservation – No Cost Heating & Cooling Savings Tips about checking along the exterior walls in your home for any air leaks. It’s no cost to look for them. Further, it will cost only a few dollars to fix them once found.

Recently we wrote about how we installed see through plastic window insulation film on the large windows and sliding glass door in our walkout basement in order to keep more of the coldness that was being caused in our basement by those large, 22 year old windows.

As I was applying this on the first window I took my sweat shirt off as it was getting warm (not because of the see through plastic film just yet but because I am not in the best of physical shape icon wink Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert   1 ). Once I was down to my T-shirt I felt on my right arm a cool draft.

This is what I saw when I turned to the right. 

basement fireplace Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert   1

Yes, that is a picture of the fireplace insert that was installed in our home well before we purchased it.

We never use it; in fact, when we had the local natural gas company over a couple of months ago to replace the natural gas meter, I asked them to shut off the natural gas line to this fireplace because we never use it. We really don’t use the basement that much.

When I looked more closely at the fireplace, here is what I found. This first picture is showing a gap along the vertical outside edge measuring about a full inch. 

fireplace air leak 1 Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert   1

This second picture is on the top left of the wood paneling on top of the fireplace insert, showing another air leak area.

fireplace top air gap Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert   1

This third picture is showing more gaps along the top of the wood paneling to the immediate left of the fireplace insert, plus the vertical air leak as well as the one on the upper left.

fireplace paneling air leak Air Leaks Around Basement Fireplace Insert   1

Yes, as I placed my fingers by those openings I could feel the cold air rushing in the house quite dramatically.

It never, ever occurred to me that the insulation of a fireplace gas insert by a qualified installer would have such air leaks

Then again, it never occurred to me that the installation would not be done by a qualified installer.

It also never occurred to me that the house inspection we had before purchasing the house would not have identified this.

Then again, home inspections are very different from home energy audits.

Tomorrow, we continue with this situation looking at the solution we used (there are many) to stop the cold air from rushing in the house causing the furnace to work longer resulting in higher home heating bills in the winter and the excessive consumption of non-renewable energy resource (in our case, natural gas).

To view the product we used to seal the air leaks around our basement fireplace insert, simply select this link to Part 2.

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