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Thread: Do you close your chimney flue in between fires?

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    Do you close your chimney flue in between fires?

    So I've usually left my flue open during the winter months on the off-chance that I'll start a fire and forget to open said flue. My wife apparently just realized this and complained of cold air coming down the chimney tonight. So I closed it with the intention on opening it and leaving it open when she goes to bed.

    But what's the physics there? Does your heated air escape out the top? Does cold air come down the chimney to make the house colder? My house is 60 years old and already drafty as $#@!.

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    I've always closed the flue when I'm not burning the gas logs.

    I've also been told to wait about 30 minutes or so after stopping the fire to close the flue.

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    I have gas running to the fireplace but NEVER use it. I throw a Duraflame in there and a few logs.

  4. #4
    Close it in between. Your house might be drafty, but if you left a window open it would be even worse...

  5. #5
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    Mythbusters proved that a fire in the fireplace actually cools down your house! It's sucking all the warm air up the chimney. And god knows I believe everything those guys say.

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    The flue should definitely be closed between fires. You are letting a lot of heat out of the chimney.

  7. #7
    I've always wondered the same thing, does leaving the flue open cause a slight decrease in the inside temp. I've left it open this past month, but what do I know. I suspect very little. I already keep my house at 67 downstairs and 68 upstairs. My wife complains all of the time, except for the when the bill comes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horn_Spanker
    Mythbusters proved that a fire in the fireplace actually cools down your house! It's sucking all the warm air up the chimney. And god knows I believe everything those guys say.
    Yes, usually true (thank God for MythBusters!), the fireplace sucks air in from the HVAC intakes in the house. Since that pulls cold air down from the attic, you can actually suck in cold air.
    You solve this by having the glass doors on the fireplace, which you should close almost entirely (leaving a very small slot to feed the fire). The glass nicely radiates heat back out without sucking the cold air in and up. I do this with mine and it heats up the entire living room very nicely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Duke
    The flue should definitely be closed between fires. You are letting a lot of heat out of the chimney.
    Yup.

    Just make it a habit to open it before you light anything and remember to close it the next morning at the latest.

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    On a somewhat related note, if you forget to open your flue and you have a gas fire going will it hurt anything?

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    There's no way the Mythbusters show took every possible variable into consideration (e.g. distance of fireplace from HVAC intakes, volume of air in chimney, shape of chimney/fireplace, fuels burning in fireplace, amount of heat radiated from fuel being burned, etc.). In short, shut it when your not using it. The colder the air, the more dense it is. Therefore, on a very cold night, it will settle down into the chimney and displace any warm air that is there (ultimately settling into your home).

    I use a tiny chunk of Duraflame or firestarter log and stack dry logs on top in a manner to get them burning quickly. Once we have good flames and especially once there are coals, I can turn the heater down below 60 because the living room is toasty as Hell and it warms the other rooms up as well. I will agree that they are an extremely ineffeicient manner of heating your home (especially more than the room that the fireplace is in), but a blanket statement that they actually make every home colder is just $#@!in stupid.

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