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Smoke & Chimney query

Discussion in 'Building' started by Sam777, 27 Dec 2012.

  1. Sam777

    Sam777

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    Hi I hope someone can help me and this is the correct place to post this.

    We have an intermittent problem regarding the fireplaces in our house. We live in an old Victorian property that had fireplaces in most of the rooms. 7 fireplaces in total feeding into 2 main chimneys. We have sealed and ventilated at high level 3 of the fireplaces on the first floor. We are currently using 2 of the fireplaces downstairs on a regular basis, however, we have come across a couple of problems recently:

    In the main living room, which has an external flue on the side of the building on occasions there is a very strong sooty smell when the fire is not lit which disappears when it is lit. Am I right in assuming this is a cold air situation due to a cold external flue that is creating a down draught back into the room? If so is there anyway to remedy - someone had suggested a spinning cowl type thing on the chimney pot (not the technical term I am sure).

    On Boxing Day we lit the fire in one of the other living rooms that has an internal flue (large semi and this chimney is in the middle of the two houses) to find that the room beside was very smoky as clearly smoke was coming from the chimney flue that was being used and coming down into the room next door. The room that smoke was coming into was pretty cold as it is undecorated at the moment and has not been used for years (nor has the fire probably been lit in this room for 3-4 years at least). Is this "cross draught" likely to have been caused by the cold flue in this room or is there likely to be something a bit more concerning that may result in us having to line the chimneys? NB there was no smoke in the attic nor in our daughters or the guest bedroom above which would have shared the same chimney stack. Obviously I am hesitant to use this fireplace again due to the fact my daughter has an open fire in her room that is joined to the same stack at first floor level and I obviously don't want fumes pouring in there. What is he likely cause of this incident and is there a fix? PS I am not sure if this is the first time this has happened, as I mentioned we do not currently use the room beside. Again like the situation above it was a pretty cold wet day so the external air temp was low and as there is no heat on in this room it is cold too.

    The other odd event was a week ago during a very very windy night. Our bedroom which has recently had the fireplace bricked in and plastered was filled with a strong smokey smell. Our bedroom is connected to the chimney stack that is on the external wall and the gale was hitting this wall directly. I have never smelt this before in this room and can only assume a v strong draught was forcing a sooty smell in through the chimney vent that is a high level in our room.

    Lots of questions and thank you for your patience if you have managed to get this far! I feel it is too easy for companies to just tell me to line the chimneys. If that is what is required then fine, however, I would appreciate your opinions given the detail I have provided before getting someone in to look into this matter.
     
  2. catlad

    catlad

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    It is almost impossible to give any advice just from paper, but I would say you are going to need someone on the roof and someone down stairs with smoke bombs.
     
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  4. Nige F

    Nige F

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    Given the age of the house - the bricks between the flues - sometimes called feathers - and quite often laid on their sides , because 7 flues with bricks laid normally would be a bit wide :idea: They`ve broken or dislodged - the flues are leaking from one to another . Ones you use need lining - BUT watch out for HETAS boys , they know how to charge :rolleyes: . Better to do some research , get a competent builder to give a price ( then compare to HETAS ) and get the work signed off by the Local Authority Build Control .
     
  5. Sam777

    Sam777

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    Thanks for the response Nige. Whilst you may be right, the thing that is odd and making me question if the feathers have failed, is the fact that it doesn't happen all the time. The chimney that had the "cross draught" has 4 different flues and yet the smoke only entered into one of the other flues - this flue is in the room beside which is at the same floor level, the rooms above were not affected.

    In reality I will just need to get someone out who knows what they are doing and get it looked at asap.
     
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