Chimneys cause smoke to enter another room. The fireplace is operated by you, and smoke enters the basement below or another room of the house. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? It is quite common.

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There are also possible causes that may not be related to the chimney:

Smoke can enter through the windows if they are open. This may sound absurd, but it happens more often than you think.

Smoke is drawn back by fans or air exchanges.

The fireplace is located in a room that smokes because of the air currents.

If none of these are the case, then focus on the chimney-related options:

The downdraft in Second Flee

Sometimes, chimneys have more than one vertical passageway (flue). A second flue is often used to vent heat from a stove, furnace, or another fireplace. If either the second flue is not being used or the appliance it serves isn’t being used, the unused flue can draw cold air into the room where the chimney connection is.

The second flue may be filled with cold air that has sunk down. This can cause smoke to rise from the fireplace. The smoke literally travels up and down one flue. You should check to make sure that the smoke-filled room has an opening to a second chimney (or an appliance such as a stove or furnace)

Note: Old chimney flue openings can sometimes be covered with a “pie plate” metal covering. These are areas where smoke can enter because the “pie plate” covers do not seal tightly.

Flue Sealing

A chimney professional can seal the flue if you do not intend to use the appliance or flue. This can be done at the top of your chimney or at the location where the appliance is connected. The best way to do this is determined by your chimney professional.

Install a top-sealing damper for your second fireplace if it serves a fireplace you use often. This damper is located at the top and can be operated by a cable that connects to the handle of the fireplace. It seals the second chimney from the top more tightly than a standard throat damper, which is the cast-iron type, located just above the fireplace opening.

You must open it when the second fireplace is being used. However, if you’re only using the primary fireplace, keep the lid closed and the smoke will not be drawn into that area. A cold flue is ideal for when you need to use both fireplaces.

Professional Consultation

Consult your chimney professional if the second flue is used for a furnace, wood stove, or other appliance. This can be very sticky. Most chimneys can be modified to increase their height, re-line with an insulated liner system or a chimney cap. An expert must take a detailed look at the chimney structure to provide a recommendation.

Breaks between Adjacent Liners. 

You can cross your fingers that this isn’t a problem. You should always have a liner for each flue if you have more than one chimney flue. Smoke could be crossing to the next flue if there are cracks in the linings. This can lead to smoke entering the home via a chimney-connected appliance.

A masonry chimney can be constructed by separating each flue with a solid brick partition, called a Wythe. A wythe may not be required in all regions. Even in those areas, chimneys may not be built with a Wythe between the flues.

Smoke can cross into a neighboring flue if the flue liners become loose or shift. The smoke could be drawn back into your house if the flue is too cold.

Relining The Chimney Is The Best Solution

Not only to fix the cross-flue problem but also because damaged flue liners can pose a fire hazard. Two new liners are required if you have two flues. To determine if the flue liners are worn or damaged, consult a chimney professional.

Chimney cap too short Chimney liners are often a few inches higher than the crown or top of the chimney. This is intentional as it prevents water from leaking down into the flues through the chimney crown. If you do have a chimney cap, which you should, it is essential to allow enough space between the tops and sides of the liner tiles. Smoke could get into your house if there is not enough space between the chimney cap and the liner tiles.


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