Q&A Corner fireplace with short chimney

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New Member
Staff member
Nov 27, 2012

Hi- A couple of years ago- I bought a house build in the 1940s that has a corner fireplace in the living room. When we bought the house- I had the fireplace inspected- and the guy said the chimney was too short. Sure enough- when we've tried to use the fireplace- it smokes up the whole house. I've had the chimney cleaned- so that's not the problem. I read the article about how to properly build a fire; I'll have to try the thing about checking if the chimney has reversed itself. (I don't think that's the problem- though; my method of building a fire is basically what was described- and I've never had this problem with other fireplaces.) Also- the fireplace is basically an open box in the corner of the living room- supported by a metal post on the corner that extends into the room. Basically: There is no insert or anything like that. There were some cheapo Home Depot glass doors installed- but they're so smoke stained and worn out that I'll probably just replace them. Anyway- here are some of the things I was thinking about doing to be able to use the fireplace:
1. Hire a mason to extend the chimney- or rebuild the chimney from the roof up. Would this be overkill?
2. Get an insert to try and make it more energy-efficient. Maybe add gas logs or something.
3. The more drastic approach: remove the fireplace and chimney altogether- and put in a wood or pellet stove. What do you think? Any ideas on how much these sort of things cost? I have a feeling they're probably expensive- but it would be nice to be able to use the fireplace


Basic problem is too much opening size for the chimney. Almost all fireplaces like this are prone to smoking. Extending the chimney a few feet will not solve the problem.Best Solution: Put a wood burning fireplace insert- with a stainless steel chimney liner extending 2 foot or so out the top of the chimney. Close off (with masonry- glass door- or metal) the smaller open side. You could also use a gas or pellet insert- but be sure to line the chimney so it drafts well.
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