Damp proof trace

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My son has moved into a bungalow which has what looks like a damp proof trace installed through the outside wall in the lounge. Inside is a plug which should be on at all times.
We know no history for the house only that the former owners daughter said some damp work was carried out 5 years ago, although we think that she was on about at the rear of the building where the ground slopes towards the building.
The plasterboard which is dotted and dabbed on is the original (40 years old) and look fine.
All the surrounding ground outside is 6" below the damp course so we are tempted to rip it out.
Can these traces cause more trouble than they solve by drawing the damp to the heat?
Has any one any experience of these traces?
 
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That's useful. It won't be dpc related at that area. A cowl can't do any harm and there should be an air entry if the fireplace is blocked up.
 
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Thanks Guys, the fire place is on an inside wall and is vented. There is no evidence of damp and there is a damp coarse, but it does look like 'electro osmosis dpc' as theres a cable to a metal pole that been driven in the ground.
 
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