Friday, November 21, 2014

the endless quest...

The bitter cold temperatures we had for a week or so are gone, at least for now, but my endless quest (written about here, here and here) to find and seal the drafts in this creaky old house continues...

The master bedroom has always been the coldest room in the house. It connects to the sunroom, which is almost nothing but windows (and until I sealed it up last year, was very drafty...) and it has a loft area, which probably pulls the heat up and away from the part of the room where people actually spend time. It's too far from the wood stove to expect much heat, so the boiler has to do the main job of heating that room... and during the last cold spell it just couldn't keep up. There is a fireplace in that bedroom, but it's never used and really isn't practical anyway... it's too close to the bed, and hauling wood up the stairs to that room would be miserable.

The master bedroom fireplace is another 1970's zero clearance insert, like the one in the living room, which relies on outside air pulled through the insert to keep it cool enough not to set fire to the wood studs surrounding it... I couldn't help wondering how much that outside air intake system was adding to the coldness of that room, and guessed it was considerable... so I decided to close that fireplace off.

I'm not going to permanently close it off... maybe make it a seasonal thing... close it off during the winter, but open it up again in summer just because it's such a pretty fireplace.

So.... I've been working on my plan for sealing it up all week, and hoped to have it done today... but didn't quite make it.

I can show you what I've gotten done so far though...

Here's where I started.. I LOVE this fireplace... it's made of petrified wood, found here on our land. (The glass doors on the hearth are from the downstairs fireplace, the initial plan was to try to adapt them to fit the opening and use them to seal things off...)



I found some leftover OSB in the garage and figured out that I could fill the fireplace opening fairly easily with just one seam across the middle.






After the OSB was cut to size, and I was sure I had a good tight fit, I moved it back out of the way, took off the fireplace screen, taped everything off, and gave the outside of the fireplace a few coats of heat resistant paint. (That's soot in the fireplace, not over-spray. :)




Then I cleaned up the (horribly dusty) screen and painted it too.



Finally, I added foam board insulation to the back of the OSB, and put it all back together again with the opening sealed up.

 

Yeah, it's pretty ugly.

But that's where this fabric I bought at IKEA comes in...



I'm planning on covering the OSB with the fabric, to give it a look of stacked wood behind the fireplace screen (which also still needs a bit of work).

So it's gone from this...



... to this...



... so far. And the room does feel warmer this morning, not as drafty...

Next step is adding the fabric to the OSB and fixing up that screen a little. Hopefully I'll have some "finished" photos to share next week...

And totally unrelated... I heard back from the Spine Clinic I mentioned on Monday, and M has an appointment to be seen in early January. It might be a long couple of months, waiting for that appointment... but I'm hoping really good things come from it.

1 comment:

Renee Nefe said...

I'm not sure what it would take but perhaps you could get one of the electric fireplace inserts that heats. Looks like fire, but is just a fancy heater.
I know that our gas fireplace lets cold air into our house. Since we never use the fireplace we should do something about it.