Ventilation query fora sealed / Bricked up Fireplace

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Hi guys. New user....hope you can point me in the right direction.

One of my rooms on the ground floor (of terraced house) has a bricked up fireplace but the chimney was not capped. I had that done a few years after moving in as paint work started flaking on one of the chimney's adjacent walls.

However no vent or air brick was ever fitted into the sealed fireplace.

I know there should be a vent to let the chimney breathe a bit but I simple dont have the finances to get someone in to do this job.

There is no leak from outside. I just think it's 15 years of not being able to breathe. But what do I know!

As a small DIY project (for a 'non-DIY guy'), is it beneficial to perhaps drill 4-5 holes about 30cm above the skirting board and cover up with a plastic vent?

Any guidance is appreciated
 
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Usually when the fireplace is being bricked up an air-brick is installed at the time. Something like this.

123.png


When I bought my current house I had the same problem. The dining room chimney had been left uncapped for years and the fireplace bricked up without an air-vent. In my case the wall was damp and mouldy just above the skirting, and the skirting and a floorboard in front of the chimney had started to go rotten.

I carefully chipped away a small area of plaster until I hit brick, then I worked outwards until I reached the mortar edges. Next I drilled a series of holes adjacent to each other in the mortar all the way around the brick, removed the mortar between the holes with a small chisel and extracted the brick.

Rather than fit an air-brick in the opening I simply covered it with a standard size plastic air vent 10" x 7" the type that cannot be closed. This was big enough to cover the opening and the chipped edges of plaster around it.

1234.jpg

You can get one for less than £2 here.

It took a while for everything to dry out, but once it did, there haven't been any signs of damp for over 15 years.

You could drill a series of holes in the wall, but they would either need to be of a large diameter, or be an awful lot of them to provide an opening equivalent to the size of a brick.
 
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You can add a vent but if the chimney is left open you will continue to have damp problems.
 
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Usually when the fireplace is being bricked up an air-brick is installed at the time. Something like this.

View attachment 128076

When I bought my current house I had the same problem. The dining room chimney had been left uncapped for years and the fireplace bricked up without an air-vent. In my case the wall was damp and mouldy just above the skirting, and the skirting and a floorboard in front of the chimney had started to go rotten.

I carefully chipped away a small area of plaster until I hit brick, then I worked outwards until I reached the mortar edges. Next I drilled a series of holes adjacent to each other in the mortar all the way around the brick, removed the mortar between the holes with a small chisel and extracted the brick.

Rather than fit an air-brick in the opening I simply covered it with a standard size plastic air vent 10" x 7" the type that cannot be closed. This was big enough to cover the opening and the chipped edges of plaster around it.

View attachment 128077

You can get one for less than £2 here.

It took a while for everything to dry out, but once it did, there haven't been any signs of damp for over 15 years.

You could drill a series of holes in the wall, but they would either need to be of a large diameter, or be an awful lot of them to provide an opening equivalent to the size of a brick.


Thanks - thats very useful. I am not confident in my ability to do that. What should an approximate labour cost be for this type of job?
 
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As Stem says chop out a brick at the bottom of the Fireplace( How high is the skirting ) fit in an air brick with a bit of sand and cement about a fiver and fix a PVC vent cover to size of air brick, job done for less than a tenner.

By taking out a brick you will be able to see if the person who bricked the Fireplace in. left rubble or rubbish in the fireplace before they bricked it in.
 
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By taking out a brick you will be able to see if the person who bricked the Fireplace in left rubble or rubbish in the fireplace before they bricked it in.

Hmmm. I didn't mention this when I originally posted so as not to frighten the OP but here's what happened when I did it.

1. Told Mrs Stem I was going to fit an airbrick whilst she went shopping.

2. Mrs Stem expressed concern about possible mess. I assured her that there wouldn't be any, it was a simple job and that I would put a dust sheet down.

3. Removed brick, but there was something immediately behind it which would prevent airflow.

4. Removed a few more bricks to discover an old solid fuel back boiler had been left in the chimney when the fireplace was bricked up.

5. Made a big opening to remove aforesaid back boiler.

6. As I tilted the back boiler forward to remove it, black sludge from inside flowed out of where the return pipe had been cut. It soaked straight through the dustsheet and into the carpet.

7. When I removed the back boiler from the now rather large hole. Bricks that had been dropped down the chimney when the stack was demolished that were sat on top of the back boiler came crashing into the room.

8. About 20Kg of soot followed the bricks.

9. Mrs Stem came home....(I refer you to 2 above)
 
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Hmmm. I didn't mention this when I originally posted so as not to frighten the OP but here's what happened when I did it.

VG.

Surely this is all the more reason to follow Bosswhite's advice and carefully take out one brick. The OP has said he is not confident in his abilities, so after taking out one brick if it looks clear he can fit a plastic air vent (maybe with an air brick behind it). If it does not look clear then he can get someone in to do the job for him.
 

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