what to do with chimmneys you don't use

(35 Posts)
MousyMouse Mon 10-Sep-12 14:27:12

we have a few fire places and chimneys we don't use (victorian terrace).
dh thinks we should just block them up, but I read that can cause condensation problems. I think we should keep them but do something they are part of my zombie plan

we want to minimise the draft and the mess (grey dust falling down from them) but also want to be able to make them usable quickly in case the zombies are on the loose

Pendeen Mon 10-Sep-12 16:32:38

Fit cowls to the pots (to keep the rain out) and ventilation grilles low down (if you want to block up the fireplaces.

MrsApplepants Mon 10-Sep-12 16:39:00

You can also use a chimney balloon (google it) to stop debris falling down.

tawse57 Mon 10-Sep-12 17:11:17

They are often used to hide bodies in in Midsomers Murders.

MrsPnut Mon 10-Sep-12 17:25:43

We had an elephant foot fitted to the chimney that leads to our bedroom so it is ventilated but nothing can fall down it.

MrsPnut Mon 10-Sep-12 17:26:28

I should add that the sweep that fitted it also swept the chimney first so there was nothing to fall down once it was fitted.

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 10-Sep-12 17:27:22

No good zombie plan should involve chimneys. Take a boat to Antarctica with a shotgun and crowbar, instead. Live like an Inuit, and all that. But with a shotgun.

nickelcognito Mon 10-Sep-12 17:27:25

i think you should reinstate them.

you can burn wood even in a smokeless zone in a fireplace, or you can get smokeless fuel.

if you use them, then the dirt that drops down is minimised.

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 10-Sep-12 17:27:52

I need a chimney balloon. The one in DDs bedroom has an old sweatshirt stuffed up it. I wish we had the whole chimney breast taken out - our neighbours have done that and the bedroom seems much bigger. But of course then you can't use the ones downstairs - they are just there to look the part.

You need one real one to send the notes up to Father Christmas....

nickelcognito Mon 10-Sep-12 17:28:18

and - if there is an ice age (a la the Day After Tomorrow), then at least you'll be able to keep warm, because you won't be relying on the National Grid - you can also cook food this way.

nickelcognito Mon 10-Sep-12 17:29:10

you could block them in summer using grilles that you put across the bottom of the flue - it's like a big metal plate, but has air holes in it.

Bunbaker Mon 10-Sep-12 17:34:22

Whatever you do don't block them up. You are correct that is causes condensation problems. MIL had her chimney blocked and she has had mould in her living room ever since.

MousyMouse Mon 10-Sep-12 17:57:19

thanks all.
dh had a hissy fit when I said I will burn his comic books first when there is an ice age.
the dc are rather too excited about father christmas coming down them...

one chimney pot is broken, so needs to be replaced anyway, maybe there is something that sort of closes them without blocking completely?

MrsPnut Mon 10-Sep-12 21:57:52

www.1stsuppliesscot.co.uk/14_wt-knowles yes, it's called an Elephant's foot.

Pendeen Tue 11-Sep-12 14:11:43

Your prayers answered: cowls and pots

MousyMouse Tue 18-Sep-12 19:55:10

had some roofers round for quotes, one was clearly a mumsnetter <I wouldn't recommend capping them, in case there is an arctic freeze and you want to burn books> grin

now: how do I find out which of the chimmneys are mine? neighbours don't know (don't use them) and it's not in the deeds...

SwedishEdith Tue 18-Sep-12 19:59:27

Drop something down them and see whose house it lands in?

suburbandweller Wed 19-Sep-12 09:35:31

You can get someone to do a smoke test (might be able to do it yourself) - I had a chimney specialist do that when I had a wood-burning stove put in. Someone will need to stand outside and note which chimney the smoke comes out of <helpful>

MousyMouse Wed 19-Sep-12 09:50:34

smoke, that sounds so easy. will get dh to do it on the weekend. sounds like fun.

GobblersKnob Wed 19-Sep-12 09:54:17

Both our downstairs fireplaces are blocked off (were like this when we moved in). Our house is teeny tiny and space is at a premium, so one house the tv, dvd, etc, etc and the other one a huge toy box with all kids dressing up stuff in.

Poledra Wed 19-Sep-12 09:58:58

Whatever you do, make sure that it will stop the bastarding jackdaws coming down them, setting off your burglar alarm while you are away, shitting all over your kitchen in fright then killing themselves battering off the kitchen window. <bitter>

MousyMouse Wed 19-Sep-12 10:06:38

poledra that's why we are having short ones with mesh and lid...

PigletJohn Wed 19-Sep-12 10:56:00

if you do block them, they must be ventilated top and bottom, or they will cause damp from internal condensation.

Damp from old chimneys leaves persistent yellow or brown staining as it carries dissolved tar out of the flue.

The elephant's foot has small ventilation holes and looks quite neat.

The ventilation at the bottom need only be the size of a single air-brick, and can have a grille over it.

If you have a chimney that you are sure will never be needed again, you can have it removed below roof level and inside the loft, and the roof rebuilt over the top. This is more expensive in the short run, but, done properly, saves the unending work of repairing the old chimney and its flashing. In very old houses the upper part of the chimney can be in poor condition and unstable, and removal is the best option. Unless you live in Hampton Court.

MousyMouse Wed 19-Sep-12 10:59:05

so for the inside, instead of using a balloon in winter, can we put in a cut-to-size board with a couple of holes in?

PigletJohn Wed 19-Sep-12 11:08:35

yes

Pendeen Wed 19-Sep-12 15:56:23

Details as at: Mon 10-Sep-12 16:32:38 and Tue 11-Sep-12 14:11:43

MousyMouse Sat 29-Sep-12 09:59:50

what do I best use for a smoke test? newspapers?

PigletJohn Sat 29-Sep-12 13:07:47

chimneysweeps, gas-fitters and plumbers use a thing called a smoke-bomb. It is like a firework that makes lots of visible smoke but little flame or heat so it is not very likely to cause a fire.

I would hope it has been formulated so the smoke is not harmful. You might be able to get them at a plumbers merchant. There are little smoke pellets that you might find at a DIY shed, they might be too small for a chimney test.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 13:11:56

This is very interesting, our kitchen has a chimney breast which is covered at the top, but ventilated, while at the bottom it's completely boarded, not flat against the wall but horizontally, the whole fireplace is out and we have an alcove. How interesting that this may cause condensation.

(If you still have the fireplaces looking attractive then putting bulk loads of thick candles looks really nice. )

PigletJohn Sat 29-Sep-12 13:12:35

here we are you can mail-order or order for collection from your nearest trade counter. Or phone a local plumbers merchant. Read the instructions several times, carefully.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 13:45:24

You have just reminded me to call the sweep. Thanks. We've already had several fires this autumn and I must get it done SOON.

MousyMouse Sat 29-Sep-12 14:27:16

oh brill, have one really close.
thanks.
dh will be a bit dissapointed that he doesn't get to burn newspapers though

MousyMouse Mon 01-Oct-12 09:53:49

did the smoke test yesterday. pyromaniac dh was very happy with the fire and smoke effects. I was fearing the fire engine noises where headed our way...
all chimneys are drawing just fine.

Brycie Mon 01-Oct-12 20:55:46

smile and I have just got the sweep to come round! and I'm going to ask him about ventilation and the boarded up chimney, thanks to you!

TheFiresideShop Fri 05-Oct-12 16:38:16

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