Problem: Background: I have been augmenting the oil-fired hot water heating in my house this year with wood burned in my fireplace. The fireplace is ordinarily very inefficient for heat, since the cold air rushes in, feeds the fire, and then up the chimney goes the heat. However, 30 years ago, we installed one of these grates that circulates fan-driven hot air through the fireplace, and particularly with closed glass doors, blows it out the front of the fireplace. Up until a few days ago, it was working just fine. I’ve gone through about ¾ cord of seasoned wood and kept the oil burner from firing up too much.

Of course, today is the coldest day of the year, and the blower has not exactly crapped out, but oddly, is blowing only cold air through a hot burning fireplace, and at seemingly less air flowing out. I took apart the fan, and tested that. Seems okay, sucking in air as usual, at two variable speeds. Nothing clogging air flow IN. And like I said, still flowing air through the grates, but appears to have less flow than before. Using first the shop vac, I sucked air and then blew air through the system (leaf blower, can you imagine in a LR?? Haha) thinking maybe there was a clog in the 7 pipes that comprise the grate. No clogs. So…my next suspicion is that air is being blown in with the fan, but maybe there is a crack in the pipes, causing the air to escape into the fire and up the chimney, and not returning the heated air around to the front of the fireplace. For that I will have to take apart the apparatus and visually inspect it to see if that is the case, and…then what?? I’m not a welder….hm….my local welding shop, I guess.

Any advice? Can these units be fixed or must it be scrapped?
Thanks!
Helen