Since 1982



​pADGITT cHIMNEY & fIREPLACE | Padgitt forensic investigations | hEARTHMASTERS PUBLISHING
Specialty O&C Fire Investigations for Insurance Claims

Fireplace Test:

· Place tissue paper, a newspaper page cut in to strips, or a piece of saran wrap across the front opening of the fireplace and secure it at the top with tape.

· Open the damper

· Watch the paper—if it goes in towards the fireplace draft is good and there is no negative pressure

· If the paper goes out towards the room, a down-draft is occurring and this is an indication of negative house pressure on the floor where the fireplace is located.

· Slowly open a window in the room and watch the paper, it should reverse and go in towards the fireplace—this is positive indication that there is a negative pressure problem.

Call 816-461-3665 or to schedule an appointment for one of our technicians to diagnose whatever the problem may be and offer a solution.

Many homes have negative pressure problems—this is common when homes are tightly insulated, or in larger or multi-story houses.  Not enough make-up air can get in the house for all of the things that need air, like fireplaces, wood stoves, gas ranges, furnaces water heaters — and people.

Fireplaces can smoke or smell when a second fireplace is used or when a furnace kicks on. This is because the furnace or fireplace needs air for combustion, and takes it from the place of least resistance which is often a fireplace.  This is a house problem—not a chimney problem.

When an exhaust fan is used in the kitchen or bath, or the furnace is used, this makes the problem worse.  You may notice cold air drafts coming from fireplaces, fireplaces that smoke, Carbon Monoxide backup from the furnace, gas fireplace, or hot water heater, or leaky doors and windows. These are all symptoms of negative pressure in the house. Sometimes unexplained illness and flu like symptoms can be an indication of negative house pressure.

Carbon Monoxide is a serious and widespread problem and CO detectors only measure 9 ppm over a 10 minute span before the alarm goes off. This means that the household could be exposed to low levels of CO, which is known to cause permanent brain damage or illness. The HVS will dilute CO and other aldehydes in the air. Note: All homes need a CO detector on each level. 

Smoking Fireplaces are usually caused by a lack of combustion air and a negative air pressure problem in the house. The HVS ventilator can alleviate these issues in most cases. Fireplaces and stoves on lower levels of the home will perform poorly since they are in the negative pressure plane. In some cases, an induced draft system may also be needed. 

Symptoms of Negative House Pressure: 

· Poor indoor air quality

· Smoking fireplaces and wood stoves

· Unexplained illness that stops when out of the house

· Carbon Monoxide backup from gas furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, or stoves

· Mold and mildew in the house

· Leaking doors, windows, can lights, etc.

· Cold downdrafts in fireplaces

Whole House Ventilator

A whole house ventilator supplies fresh air to a house, correcting poor indoor air quality, excessive condensation and negative air pressure. This system mixes cold outside air with warmed house air before introducing it to the house and provides needed fresh air to the entire house and all appliances. Most houses need additional make-up air to provide 6 or more fresh air exchanges per day and provide air for appliances to work properly.

The HearthMasters Ventilator brings in needed air on demand from the house, heats it during the winter months, then distributes it through the house through the cold air returns. This supplies needed combustion air for all appliances in the house including the furnace, hot water heater, gas range, and fireplaces. It also re-supplies the house with six fresh air exchanges per day as recommended by the EPA.

We offer three sizes of Whole house ventilators: the HVS 2000 is for homes 2,000 sq. feet or less, the HVS 3000 is for homes 3,000 sq. feet or less and the HVS 4000 is for homes less than 4,000 sq. feet. If your home is larger, two or more systems may be needed. The HVS only works for homes that use forced air heating systems. We are currently working on designing systems for other types of heating. Please contact us for more information:

Draft Inducer

The Draw Collar keeps the flue or liner warm so there is never a cold downdraft. This can be added to the flue collar of any wood stove insert, freestanding wood stove, and in some cases, Direct Vent gas fireplaces. This may the the only solution to a smoking wood stove on the lower level of a home because negative house pressure on the lower levels may not be able to be corrected. We always recommend using a Draw Collar on a basement or lower level appliance.

Wall Ventilator

The Condar ASV is made of tough ABS polymer. Outside air enters the ventilator through a louvered grill, which provides protection from rain. Insects and vermin are excluded by a separate screen located directly behind the grill. 

Air flows into your house through a tube inside the ASV that can be cut to fit any wall thickness up to 14 inches. A manually-operated damper controls the airflow, with settings ranging from fully closed to fully open, or any volume flow in between. If desired, you can dictate a constant minimum airflow by popping out an optional plug built into the damper.

House Pressure Testing

​We conduct house pressure testing to see exactly how much air is needed for a home. If interested in this service please contact us. 

Negative house pressure problems
and make-up air solutions