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When you build a fire in an upstairs fireplace and get smoke from the basement fireplace.

2nd Apr 2019

This has become quite a common problem in modern air tight houses where weather proofing has sealed up the usual air infiltration routes. 

The fireplace in use exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for makeup air to enter the structure is often the unused fireplace chimney. As air is drawn down this unused flue, it picks up smoke that is exiting nearby from the fireplace in use and delivers the smoke to the living area. The best solution is to provide makeup air to the house so the negative pressure problem no longer exists, thus eliminating not only the smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide to be drawn back down the furnace chimney. 

A secondary solution is to install a top mount damper on the fireplace that is used the least.