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old home with a chimney but no fireplace?


My husband & I bought an old home (approx. 100 years old) in a suburb of Boston last year. There is a chimney coming out of the roof but we have no fireplace. We think the chimney runs through the home in the center due to some odd wall placement and because we had a difficult time getting nails in the walls of this area to hang pictures. Could it be that they covered up the fireplace with walls? Is it worth it to have the walls opened up and an active fireplace created? I know every project is different but do you have a range of how much this project could cost us? I would love to have a fireplace to cozy up to on those cold New England nights.

Re: old home with a chimney but no fireplace?


Yes, it is quite common to cover up an old fireplace or chimney, if it is not expected to be used in the foreseeable future.

Quite often the old chimney was built without a masonry flue liner, the brick has subsequently deteriorated & is now a fire hazard.

Many brick fireplaces accumulate an internal thick layer of creosote (which is a fire hazard) due to burning uncured wood, etc.

Rather than bother with the expense of rebuilding the chimney, many previous homewoners simply cover it up & install a double-walled stainless steel chimney for the central heat---some newer heating systems need only a plastic vent (condensing boilers/furnaces), or electric heat is used.

It may be best to consult the Yellow Pages under "Chimney" to have an expert look at it (from the roof) & give you an idea of its condition.

These days, a stainless steel or aluminum "flue liner" can be run up the inside of the brick chimney to accomodate a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace or boiler---this may be enough to allow a fireplace in your case, depending on local fire codes.

The Yellow Pages also have a notation under "Fireplaces" where they can offer you a traditional fireplace, a modern gas-fired fireplace, and other choices.

These can come in handy if you lose your power in the winter & need temporary heat until power is restored.

What type of heat do you have now??

Re: old home with a chimney but no fireplace?

Thanks so much for the information! We currently have gas heat - forced hot air. I find our house to be pretty cold in the winter (probably because my husband is always turning the thermostat down on me to save money). I thought we may not have insulation but a contractor took a peak and said we were insulated. I will take you advice and have someone come look at it from the roof. But I am guessing that you are right and that it was covered up due to deterioration :(

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