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How to Weatherproof a Fireplace

Closed Chimney DampersWhen a traditional masonry fireplace is not in use, it can increase heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Unless the chimney is properly sealed off, indoor and outdoor air will freely flow back and forth, helping to drain a homeowner’s wallet through higher utility costs. Weatherproofing your fireplace is a beneficial way to cut expenses, and the following tips can help.

The Damper

Before lighting a fire in your fireplace, the damper must be opened. Otherwise, smoke will fill the home instead of going up the chimney. Once a fire has gone completely cold, the damper should be closed again. But closing the damper doesn’t guarantee an airtight seal. In fact, dampers commonly have air gaps that create heating and cooling inefficiency. Dampers become damaged in a variety of ways, all of which result in a poor seal. Failure to routinely clean a chimney can cause the damper to corrode due to chemical byproducts created by fires. Water leaks in the chimney can cause the damper to rust and deteriorate. If the flue liner begins to wear away, bits of clay tile can damage the damper. If you are unsure about the effectiveness of your damper, you can do a simple test. Insert a dollar bill between the damper doors and conduct the test from one side of the closure to the other. In any area in which the dollar isn’t held firm, your damper has an air leak.

Add a Fireplace Cover

A creative option for weatherproofing your fireplace that could also enhance its decorative appeal is to add an airtight fireplace cover. Multiple step-by-step do-it-yourself tutorials for making a fireplace cover are available online.

Have Fireplace Glass Doors Installed

The troublesome and costly open-window effect of your drafty chimney and insufficient damper can also be offset by having glass doors installed. When you add glass doors, drafts are prevented and the aesthetics and efficiency of your fireplace can also be enhanced.

Best Solution: A Fireplace Insert

Fireplace InsertIn addition to getting rid of costly drafts, you can change the efficiency of your fireplace from 10% at best to as much as 85% by having a fireplace insert installed. This is the most expensive upfront solution, but it has much greater cost-saving benefits. With a fireplace insert, your masonry fireplace is converted into a highly efficient supplemental heating system. An insert could allow you to turn off central heating and depend on the fireplace for warmth in winter as often as you like.

Your options for a fireplace insert include a wood-burning, gas, or pellet fireplace insert. All three options are excellent and will help you cut costs of heating in winter.

No matter which type of fireplace insert you choose, it is essential that a certified chimney sweep handle installation. The process of ensuring you get the most efficient new appliance possible begins with obtaining precise measurements. An insert is created specifically for a particular fireplace. When the fireplace insert is installed, a professional chimney technician is needed to get the job done right. Installation often involves adding a new chimney liner, in order to meet the all-important manufacturer’s specifications for proper operation of the fireplace insert.

Contact Dubuque Fireplace & Patio

Are you ready to cut utility costs by weatherproofing your fireplace? Our expert chimney technicians at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio can help, whether you want a fireplace insert and installation, a new damper plus installation, glass doors, or other fireplace and chimney solutions. We also offer the best chimney maintenance services, including chimney inspections, chimney cleaning, masonry rebuilds, and much more. Contact us today; see the information below.


Dubuque Fireplace & Patio

925 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa

Phone – (563) 582-5156


Chimney Specialists Inc.

869 Main Street, Highland, WI

Phone – (608) 929-4887 / Toll Free (800) 395-6660





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