Q&A See through fireplace

QandA Posted By QandA, May 23, 2002 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    I have a fireplace in one living room, and addition to the house on the other side of the fireplace. Is it possible to make it so that the fireplace can become a "see through fireplace" by opening up the mason on the addition side? Any help would be great!


    If you try this then the fireplace will leak smoke. (It's a popular idea and we get asked to do this very frequently.) A chimney is constructed with a formula to make it work. A standard masonry fireplace with clay tile liners should have a 10:1 ratio of fireplace opening to the area of the flue; height x width of the fireplace opening = area of the fireplace opening; length x width of the chimney liner = cross sectional area of the flue. The area of the flue should be 1/10th the size of the fireplace opening(s). When you double the size of the fireplace opening by making it a see-thru, you're doubling the drafting needs of the chimney, and the suddenly too-small chimney will not be able to move the larger volume of air and smoke, resulting in the room being smoky. Even under the best conditions chimneys often don't draft properly, so don't try this unless you also alter the chimney. (When a homeowner complains of a smoky fireplace, we too often find that the proper ratios weren't used when the fireplace was built). Don't even do it if you find a brick mason who says he'll do it for you. Almost never does a see-thru fireplace work from the day it's built because too few masons employ proper draft principles in their design. What does work nicely is to install another fireplace, or a freestanding stove, in the adjacent room and run a second chimney up adjacent to the existing one. -Karen Duke www.DukeFire.com
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