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air to woodstove

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by netmouse, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. netmouse

    netmouse Member

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    Loc:
    North NJ
    My wood stove is in my dining room. It is on a raised brick floor. The wall in back and one side is also brick. I just had a door blower test for my house prior to air sealing and insulating it. I just noticed that there are gaps / tunnels on the bottom row of the wall brick. They seem intentional, and every other brick has a little tunnel gap. It turns out - surprise to me - that there is a huge air flow coming into the house from these gaps. What is also probably happening is that when the stove is not being used, the oil heated air (or a/c air in summer) is sucked out of the house during windy days (this happens with air going out and up the wood stove chimney due to a bit of warping in the doors that I seal when not using the stove).
    d
    I am assuming these gaps ensure good air flow to the wood stove. But I am now spending a lot of money to air seal and insulate the house to save on energy costs. I am thinking of plugging up the gaps in the brick. This is a 100 year old Victorian house with an old stone foundation, and everyone says you will never 100% seal it, it will always have some leakage - so the wood stove will always have a source of fresh air.

    Any thoughts your way on sealing up the brick gaps and their purpose?

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  2. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Delaware, Ohio
    I'd seal them up, and see if your stove still operates OK. You'll probably have to make adjustments to your normal air control settings.

    If you find that the stove doesn't draft well enough, you could install an outside air kit on the stove so that it can intake air from the outside instead of relying on air infiltration to provide air to your stove.

    -SF
  3. netmouse

    netmouse Member

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    Loc:
    North NJ
    What can I use that is fire proof and would temporarily plug up the holes. There are maybe 10 and they might be 5 in. X 3 in. each
  4. netmouse

    netmouse Member

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    What about high heat tape over the opening - to have a firm seal so there won't be leakage around any corners / edges? It is more like 4 in. X 1.5"
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I assume you are talking about holes on the exterior. They serve an important function and should not be sealed up. They equalize the wind (air) pressure so that rain is not driven into the wall under pressure. They also act as weep holes should water get in behind the brick.

    Concentrate on finding leaks on the interior of the walls and seal those.
  6. netmouse

    netmouse Member

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    May 25, 2008
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    Loc:
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    Geez, you know what I think is going on. The brick wall seems to stand out a bit from the actual wall and seem open on top. I think it is by design that the hot air is rising and actually from the top of the brick wall flows down behind the brick wall to the bottom and coming out those gaps. Like recirculating the air - without a fan. Maybe the installer was a lot smarter than I thought. There are also grate openings at the top of doorways between this room and the kitchen and living room doorways with fans. And the living room has a grate in the ceiling that would allow hot air to rise to the second floor.
  7. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Western CT
    How about a picture.

    The heatform type fireplaces allow air flow somewhere in there from the bottom to the top - hot air rises right - for circulation. I don't think it was the installer that was that smart - just the design he used.
  8. rnlincourt

    rnlincourt Member

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    Loc:
    Western MA
    yes but it was his smart idea to use the design....

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