Energy Conservation, Home Heating and Fireplace Air Leaks – 1

During our second home energy audit this past spring, the blower test proved to me that we had significant air leakage around the outside of our family room fireplace, as well as the one within the billiard room of our basement.Typically when one thinks of fireplaces and heat escape in the winter, one thinks about an unsealed damper within the fireplace itself.

For both our fireplaces I could feel the air rushing into the house from around the edges of the fireplace border.

Today we will focus on our family room fireplace. Hopefully our experiences we write about here you can use and add to your own collection of home maintenance tips as well as money saving tips to reduce your heating bills in the winter.

 Energy Conservation, Home Heating and Fireplace Air Leaks   1

As you can see in the above picture, we have a brick fireplace. What we found during the blower test of our second home energy audit was that significant air was entering through gaps on either side of the brick between the brick and the small baseboard trim. And, this was happening on both sides of the fireplace brick. 

air leak gap on fireplace brick trim 1 Energy Conservation, Home Heating and Fireplace Air Leaks   1

In the above picture you can clearly see some major gaps which would lead to significant air leakage between the brick and the wood trim. This picture is at the top on the left of the fireplace brick.

air leak gap on fireplace brick trim 2 Energy Conservation, Home Heating and Fireplace Air Leaks   1

Next, in the above picture, still on the left side of the fireplace but this time focusing on the lower part. Notice the large gap around the cabling between the baseboard and the brick and the wood flooring.

If you want to get a real close-up of the gaps, here is a short video for you to view.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nONjk2WQlyM

To see our solution to the gaps between the fireplace brick and the wall crown molding which we quite like, simply select this link to Part 2.

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Comments

  1. Mike Rogers says:

    Good examples. The important thing about home energy audits is that they should be accurate and actionable. We’ve put together a short video highlighting some of the key elements to look for. http://greenhomesamerica.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/home-energy-audit-video/
    Best,
    Mike

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Mike,

    Yes, this certainly is the time of the year when households should be focusing on preparing their homes for the winter months, both inside and out.

    It is amazing how just a little time and effort now in the early fall season can dramatically reduce a home’s heating bills in the winter.

    Dan

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