We have an open fire, which we use occasionally during the winter. I
rather fancy opening up a vent in the floor, near the hearth, in order
to feed the fire with air from the vent, rather than it sucking draughts
in via the doors to the room.
Does anyone have experience of this? Is my thinking along the right
lines? And what would I look for, at Screwfix, Wickes, etc?
Well assuming you have a vented underfloor space, one or two 4" drain
pipes, some cement, and a couple of - in my case - 6" drain covers..the
sort of cast iron thingies that you put in drainpipe collectors and the
I don't know whether you can retro-fit them - maybe you can if you have
suspended wooden floors, but it would be a bit more difficult with solid
My in-laws' bungalow (built in about 1960) had solid floors with under-floor
ventillation for the open fire built in. ISTR that there was an airbrick in
an outside wall, with a metal duct below the screed - terminating under the
fireplace. I think the relevant bits were made by Baxi - but I doubt whether
they make them now!
With suspended floors, and airbricks in the outside walls, is it
necessary to use ducting? I would have thought that some sort of
sliding grid to open and close a hole in the floor near the fireplace,
would be sufficient.
Ah, but without that connecting duct: would you not be drawing cold air from
outside, into the *whole* floor space? Thus, trying to reduce the direct
draft across your feet might make the whole room colder.
Incidentally, when I had the floors up in our 1900s house, that had
originally had fire places in all rooms - each with a stone slab beneath - I
found the ends of all the cross beams supporting the floors where they
abutted the hearth stones, had been charred, and, what with some of the full
length beams having rotted where they rested in the wall, this made for a
very springy floor indeed! Moral: be careful, and don't let any hot ashes
get under the floor - which that duct you mention might have been intended
Not by any means an expert on this though. Have similar dilemma after being
conned into the benefits of a flueless fire. Ours may or may not be
consuming its own emissions, but it sure does very quickly use up all the
air in the room, so just tends to suffocate rather than poison. Like you, I
am wondering how to get an air supply to this to make it safe, without
causing the drafts. As the room is also getting musty as a result of the
blocking up of the chimney when this wondrous new item was fitted, it may
look pretty but in effect it has been a dangerous mistake.
You could certainly get somewhere *near* the fire by doing that.
But my experience of suspended floors is that you still have a solid base
for the fire itself and for the hearth - so you'd have to tunnel under that
if you wanted to deliver the air right to the point of combustion.
My recollection is that, in my in-laws' bungalow to which I referred in an
earlier post, the exit from the duct was right under the fire basket, and
that there was a lever to open and close a valve to control the airflow.
** Newsflash ** - just done a Google - see
OP here: thanks a lot for a very useful and productive discussion.
To do the job right, I'll have to start saving for what Roger (and
others) have mentioned:
-- looks great!
Correct. Baxi did an excellent fireplace with up to four pipes going
to each house wall and all terminating in a chamber under the
fireplace. The idea was that any prevailing wind provided forced
draughts to the base of the fire.
Sadly the controls were a bit lacking and you got anything from a
blast furnace of a windy day to a peat fire on a silent day. :)
Emptying them was rather difficult as well.
They were normally put into a new build as it went up due to the
Quite a timely thead for me this as we're having the living room floor
done and I was thinking that now would be the time to put such a vent
in. However, I have one doubt. I remember chatting to a damp
treatment bloke who told me that one of the problems with older
properties is that they get damp as they were (to paraphrase) meant to
be draughty and heated with coal fires. If I bring ventilation direct
to the woodburner, will I be depriving the house of a beneficial
airflow and exposing the house to the danger of damp/condensation?
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