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What can be installed to feed air to my house when the fire place is operating?

I have constructed a new house that is tight. I have both a fireplace and wood burning stove. I have trouble establishing flow when lighting the woodstove when the firepalce is operating. The air is being pulled down the woodstove flue with burning newspaper placed at its opening. I have to open a window in the house to get the air to move up the woodstove flue.

Asked by Tom Tyrrell
Posted Oct 30, 2012 3:56 PM ET


6 Answers

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Ducted combustion air vents for wood-burning fireplaces are controversial. In several homes, hot coals have been blown into the combustion air ducts, resulting in house fires.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Oct 30, 2012 4:03 PM ET


I have to wonder why the fireplace would be burning when the woodstove is needed. Fireplaces do such a lousy job of producing heat, when they draw so much air in and send it up the chimney that there is a cooling effect from all that excess air drawn from the outside through the myriad leaks throughout the house. Tom ought to get the woodstove going before lighting off the fireplace, if it's even needed other than for viewing.

Answered by Dick Russell
Posted Oct 30, 2012 4:31 PM ET


Now, Dick...(everybody's a critic :-) )

A fireplace burns wood at maybe 15% efficiency -it's a decorator item, not a heating appliance. When not in use they're generally a hole in the thermal & pressure envelope leaking heat and driving air infiltration. The house of my dreams has no place for a fireplace, but the house I live in does, but it's more trouble than it's worth to me. YMMV.

There will be a sealed-combustion woodstove going into my fireplace before winter though!

Answered by Dana Dorsett
Posted Oct 30, 2012 6:20 PM ET


"I have to wonder why the fireplace would be burning when the woodstove is needed." I think it's the other way around--when the fireplace is in use, Tom needs to run the woodstove to keep the house warm.

One safe solution to the problem of fireplace makeup air is to place a passive air inlet near, but not inside, the firebox.

Answered by Michael Maines
Posted Oct 31, 2012 7:45 AM ET


For further discussion of these issues, see this article: How to Provide Makeup Air for a Wood Stove.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Oct 31, 2012 10:49 AM ET


We have one woodstove with outside air connected, and it's hard to light if there's anything exhausting air... range hood, clothes dryer, bath fan. As soon as it's lit and the stove door is closed, it burns extremely well, and is completely unaffected by house pressure, wind, etc. Highly recommended. We have another that's not connected to outside air, and it's a lot more fickle.

Answered by David Meiland
Posted Oct 31, 2012 12:51 PM ET

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