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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Question Fireplace and smoky odor

    We purchased a 1969 colonial 7 years ago and fell in love with the fireplace. The problem is that after we burn a fire we can smell the smoke weeks later. The next day after a fire we completely clean out the fireplace. In addition, we have had the chimney cleaned mulitiple times, have had the chimney waterproofed, repointed and even put a new damper on the very top of the chimney. We are contemplating knocking down the entire fireplace and chimney and rebuilding, but figure that would be very expensive and are looking for some expert advice before doing so. With the cost of home heating oil we are looking to use our fireplace this winter quite frequently. Please help. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Fireplace and smoky odor

    Since a fireplace itself is not an efficient means of heat, I would recommend looking at a fireplace insert. It would have the glass in the door so you could enjoy the look of the fire, but it would be much more efficient at providing supplemental heat. I believe the smoke smell would be gone and it would cost a lot less than rebuilding the fireplace.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    2

    Question Re: Fireplace and smoky odor

    Thanks bp21901. I have looked at inserts, but how can I be certain that the chimney itself won't still create the smell from drafts through the brick?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Fireplace and smoky odor

    The insert would probably need a liner to provide a smaller flue than the fireplace currently has in order to provide the proper draft. So you would have a sealed pipe running from the exhaust port of the insert to the top of the chimney. There would be no place for the smoke to come out. Your comment about the drafts through the brick has me scratching my head. Can you describe or post a pic of the fireplace and chimney? Are there cracks in the brickwork?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: Fireplace and smoky odor

    Quote Originally Posted by kryjakg View Post
    We purchased a 1969 colonial 7 years ago and fell in love with the fireplace. The problem is that after we burn a fire we can smell the smoke weeks later. The next day after a fire we completely clean out the fireplace. In addition, we have had the chimney cleaned mulitiple times, have had the chimney waterproofed, repointed and even put a new damper on the very top of the chimney. We are contemplating knocking down the entire fireplace and chimney and rebuilding, but figure that would be very expensive and are looking for some expert advice before doing so. With the cost of home heating oil we are looking to use our fireplace this winter quite frequently. Please help. Thank you.
    the "waterproofing" might be the key to the problem - along with this new damper installed at the top of the chimney. condensation and water vapor from warm air within the house entering and rising in the chimney and cooling keeping the interior wet and sealing masonry on the exterior not allowing the moisture to wick off and dry to the outdoors. exterior walls of the chimney and fireplace exposed? masonry fireplace and structural masonry chimney? masonry lined, clay tile or parged? fresh air intakes on the outside got filled in or blocked? ash dump full?

    a professional chimney inspection recommended. you have them inspect it with cameras and lights both before and after they clean it - don't clean yourself the chimney because where they see collections before they start are important clues for them to make sure to check certain areas out even more carefully after they clean off the inside of chimney.

    you didn't mention if you had glass doors, assume it is open and you just use a screen. Do you have a metal fire back wall - traditional for colonial sytle not just decorative but also radiates or reflects the heat back into the room, or just firebrick on the back wall? think about how an ash tray will really stink up a room when one drop of water falls into it, the coating even on a freshly swept chimney after a too cool fire or a fire with wet wood or pine can be very stinky when the slightest moisture hits it - if fireplace on exterior wall very common to have moisture issues when temperatures outside are cooler then the inside of the house.
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 10-24-2008 at 08:24 AM.

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