Shared chimney flue problem. How can it be fixed?


Old 04-06-13, 01:22 PM
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Shared chimney flue problem. How can it be fixed?

I live in a townhouse complex where two units share a chimney-flue structure, although due to separate (but side-by-side) exits at the top there may be a wall in the middle on the way up.

Anyway, my neighbor started using his fireplace last winter, and each time my side got a strong stench of smoke that was so bad we had to open our windows, upstairs and down, to avoid watery eyes and choking. We left them open all night long (in the winter, ack!) for the sake of getting sleep and avoiding breathing in the crappy smoky-air.

I stood outside and noticed something: the flue exits are side-by-side and at the same height. Could it be that our side drew in my neighbor's smoke because of that? In the townhouse complex beside mine, and in the other chimney exits in my own complex, the two exits are at different heights by about two feet. The only shared flue/exits at the same height belong to my neighbor and I.

So, gentle board-members, could my smoke-intake problem be related to the same-height flue exits?
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Old 04-06-13, 01:40 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Usually heat rises ...... so your neighbors smoke rising out of the chimney wouldn't normally just go back down your chimney. It could be drawn back thru your side if your house is very tight and your heating system is drawing air in that way.

Do you keep your draft damper closed in the fireplace ?
Do you feel air coming IN from your fireplace ?

If the smoke isn't coming back down the chimney then there is an issue between the fireboxes.
Old 04-06-13, 01:52 PM
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Actually you hope it is Ly and welcome to the forum,
The other alternative is the smoke may be leaking out and in somewhere along the middle of the dual stack.

If it is the top, you can talk to the complex committee and see what they are willing to do on the outside. Options would be to extend theirs or yours, but that doesn't seem to be a perfect solution as the taller could still be subject to a source of smoke from the shorter. Even under certain temperature inversion conditions, the shorter could be exposed to smoke from the taller.

The other approach would be to ensure your inside damper is fully closed and if that is not sealing properly, then a cap on top might be necessary.

Do you use your chimney at all?

Would the association allow you to have a cap installed, either fixed closed or one that is motorized to open and close?


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