Why gas fireplaces can get so cold!
I get this call every winter, many times. "The area around my gas fireplace is really cold! What can we do?" That is a good question! What can be done now?
This is a thermal image of a recent new construction inspection.
It was not cold outdoors, in the 40sF. But look how cold is radiating out from the fireplace! Thermal imaging is the only way to demonstrate what is going on here.
So, why is that cold radiating?
Always, ALWAYS, the answer is insulation.
And the improper positioning or the lack thereof.
Imagine how cold this area will feel in the dead of winter when it is really cold outside!
The time to find this, and diagnose the cause, is during a pre-drywall inspection, which was not done on that house.
Consider this case in point.
From a recent pre-drywall inspection, which is the ONLY time this sort of thing can be caught, you can see on the left side the small hole where the gas line enters in the cavity under the fireplace. That is a large cavity! How will they insulate that?
And that is one of 4 such cavities that would be very difficult to insulate and possibly left untouched.
On the right you can see that same gas line as it comes up to enter the fireplace mechanism to service the appliance. Clearly the cavity has been left uninsulated. That is why the thermal image on the top of the post shows such cold radiating from around the fireplace.
My recommendation: pre-drywall is the best, and really the only, time to assess the quality of the insulation in the house. There are many areas that are difficult to access, and therefore difficult to insulate. Once the drywall goes up all those sins are covered up, and disappear. Until the family is sitting in the family room and feeling cold air! Paying attention to this issue pre-drywall is the best time to make sure that the house is comfortable and insulated! Insulation is permanently bad or permanently good. Take your pick.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560