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I have a fireplace in the living room and one in the basement. At first all was fine when using the one in the living room. I now notice that if I use the living room fireplace the lower level of my house gets smokey. I'm pretty sure the bottom flue is closed as I've been advised to do. Also, is it necessary not to have the central heat "on" when using fireplace?
I read your question to my husband, a retired UK historic buildings conservation officer. He said you need to get a qualified (state certified) chimney professional in ASAP-the bridging is gone between the two flues. He's seen this in both historic AND modern housing, "...a fireplace and chimney are a fireplace and chimney."
He says this could potentially be a fire hazard, and could cause you problems with your homeowner insurance plan should you need to make a claim relating to a fire in the chimney, so you really need to get on this NOW. He strongly urges you not to use the fireplaces until you have them inspected and repaired.
(He said if you need to make a claim to repair the bridging your insurance should cover it depending on how your policy was written, but if you wait until there is a fire your claim may well be rejected. While you await the arrival of the professional you should review your policy for coverage, your obligations as to maintaining and carrying out regular inspections, etc.)
Regarding having the central heating on whilst burning in the fireplace, he says that shouldn't be a problem-the circulating fan isn't what is concentrating the smoke in your basement-the problem is the bridging between the two flues.
Good luck, please update when your problem is resolved.
I have an wood burning fireplace insert (metal tube for smoke to exit). The fireplace is in our den with a 10 foot ceiling. Smoke accumulates in the house, especially in our adjacent bedroom with an 8' ceiling. I am burning seasoned wood that was cut this past summer (does it need to be seasoned longer?). I have had the chimney (pipe type) cleaned by a professional chimney sweep recently. The flue is open! What could be the problem? Thanks in advance!