Chimney & Fireplaces/Double Fireplace

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Question
Hello, we just rented an older home that has a double fire place. The owner is out of the country for vacation. Last night we lit a fire in the living room and the flue was open - the den side seemed to leak smoke so we opened that flue as well.  Should the flue for both sides be open when we do a fire?  They share the same chimney - now, today the den (the room that didn't have a fire lit) smells like fireplace.  We have never operated a fireplace before so this is new.

Answer
Hello Shannon, what is happening is you are getting Negative Pressure in your home (house stack effect) that is hot air rising in your home (and getting out through the attic vents, doors, lights, another fireplace (it is pulling air down to feed the other along with smoke and odors as well) your house is a better chimney than your chimney. Also kitchen/bathroom exhaust fans, clothes dryers, Radon systems and the boiler/furnace all take house air out of the house (mechanical negative pressure) your house needs make up air, perhaps an open window in the basement? Or stop the air from getting out the attic and other area’s.
Trail and error until you get this fireplace to work for you, maybe close off the room from the rest of the house to use it (close doors)
Or it could be dirty? I would have a local Certified Chimney Sweep (www.csia.org, there you can look up by zip code to find one near you) take a first hand look at what you have.
James

Chimney & Fireplaces

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James Ball

Expertise

I am a chimney sweep with over 22 years of experience, CSIA certified and member of the NCSG, I can answer questions about smoky fire places, wood stoves, and heating units (boiler and furnace chimneys) do you need a relining? A cap? And much more

Experience

over 22 years

Organizations
Chimney Safety Institute of America, National Chimney Sweep Guild

Education/Credentials
CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified

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