Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry. AsktheChimneySweep.com
….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
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Our chimney is 27″ wide by 25″ high by 23″ deep. The chimney is in a relatively new home ( 4 years ). We have a special air system installed by the builder. There is a vent under the grate that we keep open when operating the fire. The fireplace working really, really well and we use it a lot. If we could make one wish, it would be to make the opening to the fireplace bigger.
All of what I am reading is that “if” this is even possible, it would be a big job and quite expensive. We are just about to reface the fireplace and wanted a firm answer from an expert on whether such a change is recommended and safe, and also the cost involved.
Clay Lamb’s reply to Ann
Because all of our homes are so darn airtight, this could be a complex re-design situation.
There are many factors that can effect the draft as well as the air balancing in our homes today. Design factors must be taken into consideration for the fireplace to draft properly. The height and shape of the flue tiles will all draft differently (round, rectangle or square) also, the location of the fireplace (on an outside wall or in the center of the room), ceiling height and the shape of the room that your fireplace is located in all can play a factor.
Location of HVAC supply and return vents can be crucial, as well as the location of staircases or whole house attic fans. Proposed changes to the fireplace opening must be able to pass your local building codes in your area. Other fireplaces located in your home and how they might function after the modifications have also been made need to be considered. Also, that “special air supply” you mentioned located under the grate may also need to be evaluated.
There are way too many variables for me to give you a firm answer and estimate of cost here online.
The original home builder may provide insight, or your HVAC contractor may also shed light on this project. I would consider speaking with a designer or architect as well and, you may find a reputable chimney contractor who might find interest in your project in your area and , you can use this link to the National Chimney Sweep Guild locator: http://www.ncsg.org/search.
It is very important to go online and read their customer reviews from Google, BBB and Angies List.
Also, I personally love taking on projects like this and I have successfully completed many of these projects, but I have walked away from just as many as well. Yes, it would be “a big job and quite expensive,” but I’ll bet this a is very do-able.
Please send me some pictures (when) this project comes about.
Here are two fireplace projects from our (Ask The Chimney Sweep video) library.
Cincinnati Chimney Sweep, Clay Lamb owner of American Chimney Sweep. Executive Producer of Ask the Chimney Sweep Podcasts and YouTube channel.