How to Install a Fireplace – The Ultimate Guide

Nowadays, using traditional wood burning fireplace instead of the other modern heating equipment is a trend in most of the houses in America because of the comfort, warmth, and ease of use that it offers. For a lot of reasons that many people, including architects and contractors, always build a house that comes with at least one fireplace to double its value. Furthermore, even homeowners want to add a fireplace to their existing houses.

However, like many other things, sometimes a fireplace will not work well without regular inspection and cleaning. It leads to expensive bills every month. Once a fireplace is installed correctly, we can easily find the errors and fix them. The issues related to malfunctioning chimney will be difficult to be resolved after the fireplace is installed. Thereby, the initial design phase plays an extremely important role. A rational design fireplace with a good ventilation system will hardly get any problem when operating.

Here are six steps on how to install a fireplace so it will operate properly:

How to install a fireplace and a chimney into the house

The first thing you need to do is to locate the fireplace and chimney on a chase that leads to the outside of the house for house’s floor conservation. However, well-located fireplace and chimney do not always meet the customer’s perspective because it also depends on aesthetic matters. In many circumstances, the construction of a fireplace and its chimney must follow the installation instruction of the manufacturer.

The construction of a fireplace and its chimney must follow the installation instruction of the manufacturer

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Draft inside the fireplace is affected by many factors. For examples, exhaust temperature, air temperature, or the length of the chimney. If your fireplace is well designed, it will have very low draft in the fireplace during cold season and even whenever you do not need to use it. The reason of low draft is because the air temperature inside the chimney is warmer than the air outside. In contrast, a fireplace with poor air venting system will force the air to flow into the house. This carries the odors and cold air from the fireplace.

When the fireplace and chimney installed in a chase projecting to the outdoors have not been used, the temperature of the air inside the fireplace will drop to below room temperature. It decreases the draft, causing negative pressure. If you are using fireplace under negative pressure conditions, the smoke will spill into the home instead of escaping through the chimney. The only way to fix this issue is to place the chimney through an enclosed space surrounded by the outside of the house.

Construct the chimney at or above roof height

As noted above, one of the factors that affect the draft in the fireplace is the height of the chimney. The higher the chimney is, the stronger the draft is. To produce enough draft, the chimney must be designed a warm room temperature. Besides, it must be as high as the highest part of the house. This criterion is to avoid a negative pressure condition. A chimney placed in an outside chase or with a height lower than the house’s top could cause much worse problems.

A chimney placed in a chase in a wall that serves as a boundary around the house is usually lower than the roof. Thus, it is easily vulnerable to the wind.

To overcome this problem, the best chimney walls should be located on an interior wall. Besides, it should go straight through the highest part of the house. Also, an alternative solution to avoid the negative effect of the wind is building the chimney higher than strong wind areas.

Construct the chimney at or above roof height

Image source: InterNACHI

Avoid using large exhaust fan

When a large exhaust is turned on in a tightly built house, the pressure inside the room can drop to under the pressure level of the air outside. it creates negative pressure. Negative pressures reverse the upward draft and push all the smoke in the fireplace into your house.

The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid using a large exhaust fan. Or you can compensate for exhaust air by a nearly equal amount of the air indoors.

Using high chimney system

Chimney comes in many types. In many different temperatures, along chimney will create stronger draft than a short chimney. The majority of the chimney produced by the factory has a minimum height of 14 feet. At the same time, higher chimney system is still a priority because it brings effective performance for those fireplaces. They have a large diameter and open hearth. For this type of fireplace, a chimney with at least 20 feet height is suitable for letting more air to come in.

Using high chimney system

Image source: Arcade Llandysul

Use straight chimney systems

When installing the chimney, remember to make it run within the house’s structure as straight as possible. It is because each bend section of the chimney to help it go through an obstacle may disturb the flow of flue gas. To ensure a well-design system, you should carefully read the requirement in the manufacturer’s instructions relating to the use of chimney offsets.

Adding glass door

The fireplace with open design often has smoke spillage because of the characteristics of the chimney that limit air flow. Or most of the new constructed houses do not provide enough leakage to carry a large amount of air escaping from an open fireplace. Therefore, by installing a glass door, you can cut off the spillage significantly.

To sum up, having a good design fireplace in a house is a really good real estate investment. As it will increase the value of the house to more than 10%. However, for many different reasons, owning a fireplace means sometimes you will have to face with many problems. For examples, heat loss, downward draft, unpleasant odors, cold air, or smoke spillage and so on. Therefore, know how to install a fireplace properly, make a rational installation from the first stage to limit the problem, combined with regular check and cleaning.

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