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Probably a stupid question...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jhilgeman, May 20, 2013.

  1. jhilgeman

    jhilgeman New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    TX
    My wife and I just moved into a 15-or-20-year-old house that has two fireplaces. Her allergies have been in overdrive ever since we moved in, even with an air purifier running next to the bed at night. I finally got some thin plastic wrap and taped it over the fireplace openings, and now I'm seeing the plastic billowing a bit on one of the fireplaces and the other fireplace is sucking the plastic against the metal screen/grate, so it seems like the fireplaces aren't closed/sealed.

    That said, I'm trying to figure out how to do this. There's a square key hole next to each fireplace and some kind of large key that fits into it, but I don't know if this is supposed to turn on gas, or light something, or if it controls the opening in the chimney or what. If anyone can give me a little insight into how I would go about sealing/closing the chimney (at least until after allergy season), I would GREATLY appreciate it! Thank you!

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    10,055
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    The keys/keyholes more than likely are part of a gas system installed for a gas log setup. I bet you'll find gas pipes inside the fireboxes if you look around...maybe the gas log sets are still there? In any case, typically chimneys are not airtight. There are ways to make them airtight. You can install flue-top dampers that close off the top of the chimneys where they exhaust to daylight. You can insert and inflate balloon-like bags in the flues. Rick
  3. jaunty.Joe

    jaunty.Joe New Member

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    Feb 26, 2013
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    5
    Loc:
    Bellingham, Wa
    Like fossil said, the square hole on the side of the wall sounds like a Dante valve. You may have a gas log lighter. Usually it will look like a piece of pipe with holes in it inside the fireplace, and was used to help start fires (load up kindling on top of it, and turn the gas on to light the kindling, then once your fire is going you shut the gas off). Before turning the gas on, have a certified gas tech inspect the fireplaces for two reasons. One, they can tell you exactly what you have and how to operate it, and they can tell you if it is safe to operate or not.
  4. jhilgeman

    jhilgeman New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    TX
    Thank you for the advice!
  5. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    I question whether the chimneys have anything to do with the allergies here. Do you know what your wife is reactive to? Being in a new home means a new environment - I wonder if you could have mold issues or just different foliage outside... yes, the chimneys may allow pollen etc to make it into the house, but now that you have plastic over them this should be eliminated.

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