General Question

andrew's avatar

What are these holes in my gas fireplace?

Asked by andrew (16353points) June 9th, 2008

I’m thinking about fabricating some sheet metal inserts for a fireplace project (see pictures here). Depending on how I engineer it, I may cover up some of the holes on the fireplace (see the last two pictures in the link above). What are these holes for? Venting?

It’s a woodburning fireplace with a full flue and a gas outfitting (on the bottom).

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9 Answers

Upward's avatar

I’m not sure what they are… but for the best interest of your heath, I wouldn’t cover them up without an expert on location seeing them first.

cooksalot's avatar

Looks to me like it maybe the “draw” Where the fireplace draws in oxygen so that the fire will burn. So I wouldn’t cover them up.

andrew's avatar

@cooksalot: What about the front of the fireplace? Doesn’t air draw from there?

jrpowell's avatar

@Andrew
Not if your fireplace is like mine and has a glass cover across the front.

Do you have any vents on your floor? Sometimes furnaces are fed air through ductwork in the floor instead of drawing fresh air from outside. It takes less energy to heat the already warm air. Maybe they did something similar with your fireplace?

You could try using a plumbers snake ($10) to try and get a feel for where the holes lead to.

kelly's avatar

perhaps the inserts can afix to the solid metal verticle in the inner area rather than over the holes in the base (blowup) or the holes in the two verticle planes

cooksalot's avatar

When we had a wood burning fireplace. Like a loooong time ago in another state. We found that A) the fire burned better with the rack under the wood for better air flow. B) When we invested in the rack that had air tubes that ran from front to the back of the fireplace the fire was really hot.
So just cause the front is open doesn’t mean it has enough oxygen. Remember fire uses oxygen so the back of the fire doesn’t have as much as the front. So the holes could be the conduit to feeding more air to the back. Are there any slots or holes in the back? Perhaps a screen on the bottom or top of the fireplace? That would be the big tell as to weather that is what the holes are for.

andrew's avatar

I had the gas company come and the man said that holes were not vents of any kind. I’ll let you all know how the project goes!

andrew's avatar

I finished! Here’s the finished project!

Turns out the pieces I had made (huge shout out to Frederick Sheet Metal) were a tad too tall since I didn’t account for the unevenness in the plaster, but instead of going back to have him grind down the pieces, I sanded down the plaster—and of course, it decided to chip (eventually I had to take one piece back and it took all of 2 minutes to do).

Now I just need to patch up the skim coat, and it’ll be all set!

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