Existing two sided wood burning fireplace fix needed

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New Member
Jan 23, 2017
Rhode Island
We have a 1959 ranch that has a large 2002 addition both on the first floor and now a second floor. The prior owner expanded the existing fireplace to make it a two sided fireplace -- one side in the original family room (now dining room) on what was an outside wall, and the other side in the new family room. They did not change the then existing chimney. The original side has glass doors; the new side is open with a screen placed in front.

The prior owner immediately had "draw issues" -- smoke came into the rooms and the fire would not draw well. They installed a smoke barrier (metal plate at the top of the fireplace to lower the height of the fireplace opening) on new side and also a chimney fan. These fixes did not work. They stopped using the fireplace.

We bought the house knowing this.

We recently started working with a chimney/fireplace contractor who noted that the damper was far too small for the fireplace -- even the original single fireplace -- which made drafting all but impossible. The damper was less than 1/2 the size of the chimney opening. So he removed the damper and opened up the chimney and we planned to have a larger damper made. First, we built a good fire in the fireplace to see if the wider opening helped with the draw issue. It helped, but not enough. There is still a significant amount of smoke getting into both rooms (and after a while it can be smelled through the house).

We are now resigned to making a bigger investment into the fireplace. We would prefer to maintain the two sided fireplace with an insert or wood stove and are looking for suggestions. I have read on this forum about the Supreme Duet and that looks like an interesting possibility. Are there other options we should look into?

Any advice appreciated. Thank you.