Over the years, the EPA has tightened the standards of energy efficiency that contractors work by. Home construction, including fireplace installation, continues to be more complicated as these standards are changed to better care for the environment and the general public.
Double and triple-pane windows, house wrap and spray foam insulation are common these days and may be good for saving money on energy bills. Though, if you have a fireplace, it does not allow space for air to enter the home from the outside and aid in fueling combustion.
So, that is where outside air kits come in.
- outside air kit
An outside air kit consists of an adapter that mounts to your heating appliance, a tube of duct that pulls air from the outside of your home and an external hood to seal the duct. This kit is so important because the dedicated air source allows the fireplace or stove to pull air from the outside for combustion. When the doors and windows are sealed tightly, air can only pull from the inside of the home, which could create negative pressure inside the room your fireplace is in.
When homes used to be built with less airtight materials, air would seep in and out of the windows and door seals, giving the house a place to naturally balance the air pressure. But now, due to airtight sealing, you may need an air kit to avoid having your home try to balance itself out by pulling air back down the chimney, which could result in leaking smoke back into your room.
- smoke billowing
It's possible to draw outside air from a crawl space, outside wall or soffit vent. You could also draw combustion air from a roof vent, using a 4-inch PVC or aluminum vent cap.
Installation of insulated venting is done best while the unit is being installed. Though, for freestanding stoves, an intake air kit can be set up after the original installation. Some manufacturers offer insulated venting, but you can always find low-cost venting at a local home improvement store.
Many air kits will offer a flap door that is able to be closed when not needed so cool air doesn't leak into your home when the appliance is not being used.
Through this article, we hope you have seen the importance of outside air kits and how they can help the efficiency of your fireplace. If you have any other questions about outside air kits and their installation, feel free to give us a call at 800.203.1642. Our NFI certified technicians would love to help you.