Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
New York Energy Conservation Code

Fireplace Door Workaround, 2010

Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State

NYS 2010 Energy Code on Fireplaces

    303.1.5 Fireplaces. Tight-fitting noncombustible fireplace doors to control infiltration losses shall be installed on fireplace openings as provided herein:

      1. Masonry fireplaces or fireplace units designed to allow an open burn.

      2. Decorative appliances (ANSI Standard Z21.60 gas-log style unit) installed in vented solid fuel fireplaces.

      3. Vented decorative gas fireplace appliances (ANSI Standard Z21.50 unit).

    Fireplaces shall be provided with a source of combustion air as required by the fireplace construction provisions of the Building Code of New York State, the Residential Code of New York State or the New York City Construction Codes, as applicable.

State Energy Conservation Construction Code,
State of New York, April 1, 1987.

(Courtesy Vestal Mfg.)


    (d) Residential fireplace units shall have infiltration losses with the damper on the closed position not to exceed 20 cfm. Fireplace units shall be provided with a source of combustion air, ducted from the outdoors, of sufficient quantity to support combustion. This source shall be equipped with a damper capable of being fully closed.

Vestal Test Report


Dear Mr. Buckley:

Much to our dismay, our Rumford must have a door on it according to New York State.

Do you know of any dealers who might have a door that is appropriate for a Rumford? Right now, we are looking at placing a 2" wide metal plate all around the face of the fireplace (beautiful Adirondack granite we got).

Needless to say, we are sick about this but we can't get our CofO without it.

Many thanks, Matt

Matthew Pearson
Executive Director
Morgan Stanley
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10020
(212) 762-8274

To: "Pearson, Matthew \(FID\)"
From: Jim Buckley
Subject: Re: Question from Matt Pearson, NY
Cc: Jeannie Rosanelli


Sorry to hear that. Two suggestions:

1) Mark Mykins, a Building Inspector for the Town of Wilton in New York State, is working on an exception to installing glass doors based on an older version of the NY Energy Code which allowed "tight-fitting dampers" in lieu of doors. Our email correspondence is below. Maybe you could work together with him.

2) We do have some "visually minimal easily removable" door options for Rumfords on line at http://www.rumford.com/store/doors.html Most of them are frameless so you won't have to install that metal plate around your fireplace opening. I like the first option, Frameless Bi-fold Doors, since you at least get a useful screen after you remove the glass or metal insert panels, or the last option, Bi-fold Metal Doors, which are the least expensive and store nicely in your garage.

Jeannie said you just called but I'll send this off any way. Let us know what you end up doing and if there is anyway we can help.

Jim Buckley

    To: "Mark Mykins"
    From: Jim Buckley
    Subject: RE: Glass Doors Required

    Thank you. Please keep me informed. If my information is correct and the "tight-fitting damper" as alternative to glass doors was eliminated a few years ago, you might find it useful to find out who eliminated it and why.

    Jim Buckley


    In the case of our present customer, I am going to suggest that he get hold of our Department of State Regional Rep. and request a variance based on the information you have provided and some of the information I pulled from your website. I agree that a tight fitting damper does more to restrict outside air infiltration than a set of glass doors. Hopefully this will push in the right direction when we adopt new code changes in the future. Thank for your timely response, and I'll let you know what the outcome is and if some type of determination by the state is made.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jim Buckley [mailto:buckley@rumford.com]
    Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 9:00 PM
    To: Mark Mykins
    Subject: Re: Glass Doors Required


    Thank you for making this extra effort. The various energy and indoor air quality codes requiring fireplace doors are not generally well thought out.

    Rumford fireplaces - all open fireplaces for that matter - heat radiantly. Glass blocks nearly all of the radiant heat and most glass doors are anything but air tight because the door manufacturers don't want to incur the liability of bottling up the heat and creating a fire hazard. So the customer who closes the fireplace doors on a dying fire at the end of an evening blocks nearly all of the heat but hardly any of the air - just the opposite of what he intends. See calculations and further discussion at http://www.rumford.com/tech14.html

    Last I heard the New York State Energy Code required without exception fireplaces to have "tight-fitting noncombustible fireplace doors to control infiltration losses.." I have that 2003 code on line at http://www.rumford.com/code/energyNY.html New York used to allow "tight-fitting dampers" as an alternative to fireplace doors but that seems to have been changed.

    The intent of the New York code is apparently to limit or control the loss of heated room air. The fact that the code does not define "tight-fitting" and the fact that fireplace doors probably don't reduce the air loss but do block nearly all the radiant heat doesn't give us much guidance.

    We generally advise our NY customers to install fireplace doors but keep them open when using the fireplace. We offer some "visually minimal" fireplace doors described at http://www.rumford.com/store/doors.html but our customers and we generally agree that fireplace doors are not useful and are a waste of money.

    So what do you suggest? I think the alternative in the old NY Energy Code of installing a tight-fitting damper instead of fireplace doors was reasonable.

    Jim Buckley

      My name is Mark Mykins and I am a Building Inspector for the Town of Wilton in New York State. We have a local builder who has installed a Rumford Fireplace in a new residential home neither the contractor nor the home owner wish to put the tight fitting glass doors on the fire place. I am looking for a plausible argument to take to the Department of State technical services department that would allow us to alleviate this requirement under the residential code. I'm sure this is not the first time you have heard this so I' hoping that you can provide me with some information.

      Thank You,

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