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Old 02-08-2010, 07:30 PM   #46
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


John. Yep. Sometimes it is easier to try something simple like smoke and not try to overthink/overengineer a problem. The air has to be going in and out in LARGE quantities.

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Old 02-08-2010, 08:57 PM   #47
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


I think this is all way too complex to figure out by remote control.

This is my conclusion: I think either you need to have someone come out and do pressure measurements on every room, to figure out where the vacuum is coming from, that is, where the air is going. I can now understand why no one can figure out what's happening, because everything seems to be connected to everything and there's no way to isolate things from each other.

OR

You can just decide that you need more air coming into the basement, wherever it happens to be going, and heat it so the basement and the rest of the basement doesn't freeze. That would be creating a bigger intake duct (this is called "makeup air" in commercial places) and wrapping it in something like one of your air handlers, essentially a heat exchanger.

If I were you, if you have the money, I would go with the 2nd option. It solves the problem and everything then appears to work.

Also, try getting a VacuStack for the lower chimney. Costs less than $200 and makes it invulnerable to wind shifts. Stainless steel, too, lasts forever.

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Old 02-10-2010, 04:36 PM   #48
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Thank you all again for all your thoughts. It is very nice for you to offer them. Today, in CT we are having a huge snow storm and low and behold the chimney is drafting the way it should. Virtually the entire time it is drafting to the outside with the occasional small period where it drafts in the house, but then quickly reverses to the proper way. It's basically acting opposite as it usually does and nothing in the house is different. Everything is as it was when I was describing it acting the other way.

Does anyone else think this seems to be most indicative that it is the chimney height problem or could it be that it's a house pressure problem affected by the weather?
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:43 PM   #49
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Height problem.

Get a real chimney guy out there. Not just a salesman.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:26 PM   #50
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Actually, before you do anything, I suggest you put a VacuStack on the lower chimney. They are relatively inexpensive, stainless steel, and prevent downdrafts if there is any wind outside at all, even a tiny breeze. Just a good investment for a chimney top. (It would not prevent downdraft problem if it happens on a windless day, however.) Total investment would be less than $200 and a few hours on the roof.

When you purchase it, you will need to know the exact measurements (width, depth) for the adapter (the VacuStacks are made for round chimneys, for wood stoves), and buy the VacuStack with a diameter that provides a LARGER chimney area than the rectangle of your chimney. So, for instance, if your chimney is 7 x 11, area is 77 sq inches, you need to get a 10" diameter VacuStack, which has area = pi x radius x radius, 3.14 x 5 x 5 = 78.5.

They are available from Millstream.

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Old 02-10-2010, 06:55 PM   #51
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Your problem is the chimney height. There is a change in barometric pressure due to the snowstorm and barometric pressure affects chimneys. You are at equilibrium and probably need another 2-3 feet of chimney to give it extra power/lift for the other atmospheric conditions (when not snowing).
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/ind...metricpressure
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Last edited by yuri; 02-10-2010 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:20 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Your problem is the chimney height. There is a change in barometric pressure due to the snowstorm and barometric pressure affects chimneys. You are at equilibrium and probably need another 2-3 feet of chimney to give it extra power/lift for the other atmospheric conditions (when not snowing).
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/ind...metricpressure
Yep, its the air flow pattern of the roof line.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:25 PM   #53
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Its what I bein sayin all along.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:29 PM   #54
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Its what I bein sayin all along.
I think I agreed with you several post ago.

But had him do some test to double check it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:21 PM   #55
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


I can see the chimney hight being a issue. But why are the rooms on the 2nd floor under a neg psi. This is still a issue and could also affect the draft and run up the heating as well as the a/c bill. No rooms in a home should be under the negitave psi he is describing. I would figure this out before rebuliding or extending a chimney.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:40 PM   #56
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


The second floor rooms can appear to be under a negative pressure when in reality. Its just that the first floor is under a greater positive pressure.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:07 PM   #57
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


Alvis said... "First, I assume you've insured the chimney has no blockage. Depending on the location of obstacules (hills, buildings, etc) around your house, the draft of the chimney can be affected. You might try lengthing your chimney by several feet to improve draft. Do you have any elbows in your chimney?"


LOL, don't tell me after all these lengthy discussions and tests and talk of physics and talk of the possible need of expensive and sophisticated equipment, that it was the very first suggestion on this thread all along that had the answer to the dilemma.

Sorry, it just struck me as ironic. But even if that proves to be right, exterior air will still need to be introduced into the boiler room. I think
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:12 PM   #58
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The second floor rooms can appear to be under a negative pressure when in reality. Its just that the first floor is under a greater positive pressure.
Ok I get that. But even under a positive psi on the 1st floor why is the air going to the 2nd floor only, there has to be a exit path for the air to go that way. And if the 1st floor was under a positive then the stove would have always vented.
The stove venting I am assuming is on the 1st floor did not get better untill the aditional fresh air was added to the boiler room.

He also said when the window on the 1st floor was opened the chimney vented. If it were down drafting that would just give a easer path down and out. Air was sucked in the window showing the 1st floor is under a neg not a positive. I could be goofie on this thinking but it shure looks as the house is under a neg.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:55 PM   #59
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


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Ok I get that. But even under a positive psi on the 1st floor why is the air going to the 2nd floor only,

Its not just going to his second floor, its also going to other rooms on the first floor.

He doesn't havv test meters to measure the amount of pressure in his house compared to outside. So he can't tell us the pressure differences between each floor and outside.

there has to be a exit path for the air to go that way. And if the 1st floor was under a positive then the stove would have always vented.

Its not his stove that has a problem. Its his fireplace chimney. If the fireplace chimney is the cause of the positive pressure, then it wouldn't have ever vented except when its heated up.

No such thing as an air tight room in a house. Always a way for the air to leave a room. And it doesn't have to be a gaping hole in the room.

The stove venting I am assuming is on the 1st floor did not get better until the additional fresh air was added to the boiler room.

He added a vent to his range top/hood and that stopped his range exhaust from drafting into the house.

He also said when the window on the 1st floor was opened the chimney vented. If it were down drafting that would just give a easier path down and out. Air was sucked in the window showing the 1st floor is under a neg not a positive.

Was that window on the windward siade of the house?

I could be goofie on this thinking but it sure looks as the house is under a neg.
I'd still like to know if the ducts in the attic are sealed, and if the penetrations through the ceilings for the registers are sealed.

But. This has happened to other homes that the chimney wasn't built high enough above the roof line. And became a source of a constant down draft.

He needs someone on site that knows chimney's, not just sales to investigate his chimney.

It sounds like he had a poor GC overseeing his homes construction. And a lot of corners may have been cut.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:36 PM   #60
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Chimney Drafting Seems Un-Solveable


I've had this problem in the past and came up with a solution that works.

I bought a solar powered RV exhaust fan and mounted it to the top of my chimney. I cut a hole in a cookie sheet and mounted the fan to it. Then I put a bead of caulking on the terra-cotta chimney and stuck the cookie sheet to it. It has been working for seven months now like a charm! See pic below.

However, I recently installed a wood stove in my basement and I removed the cookie sheet/ fan so I can light a fire down there. Now I'm trying to figure out how to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. On warmer days the air pours into my basement through the wood stove like NUTS just like before. It has to be a barometric pressure thing.

For now, I'll put the fan back on the chimney and wait until we get consistently colder days before I take it off to run the wood stove.


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