How to Insulate a Fireplace
LESLIE: Steve in Iowa is on the line with a fireplace question. What are you working on?
STEVE: Hi. Yes. Thanks for taking the call. Yeah, I’ve been – we have a gas insert into a wall and then on the outside of the house, there’s a bump-out to accommodate it. And we’ve been getting a lot of – we get a lot of drafts in the winter through there. We don’t use it; I don’t think it’s – we just don’t use it. It just makes the room too hot.
And so we shut it off but I’d like to – really like to insulate around there because I know, not only in the – I live in Iowa and not only is it hot in the summer, they lose a lot of air conditioning that way and then in the winter, get a lot of drafts in there, so …
TOM: Steve, is this a gas fireplace? Are you talking about the wood chase that sort of covers it?
STEVE: It’s a gas fireplace. That’s correct.
TOM: OK. So, is this up off the ground or does it go all the way down to the ground?
STEVE: It goes all the way down to the ground in back and then the foundation underneath it is bumped out, as well.
TOM: OK. Because a lot of times, there’s gaps when these bump-out fireplace chases don’t actually touch the ground. But in this case, it’s in the ground, as well.
So, your options are really limited here because it’s a zero-clearance fireplace and it can be against combustible material but there are rules about how much you can insulate it. So what I would do is I would get the name of the fireplace, I would jump online, I would get the installation instructions and I would determine how the fireplace was supposed to be installed into the chase, which is that structure. And then compare that to what you’re actually finding.
They’re going to tell you in those instructions where exactly you can seal and insulate and how much insulation you can use. Because you don’t want to do it incorrectly because it could become a fire hazard, either for you or for a future owner. Does that make sense?
STEVE: Yes, it does.
TOM: Alright. That’s the best way to approach that, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.