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Thoughts on fireplace/ chimney sealing or demo

REBECCA B | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Looking for general musings from the hive mind as I consider what to do with our fireplace.

Minneapolis MN, zone 6A, 1920s streetcar suburb spec house, stucco finish. Fireplace is on the south outside wall, chimney is outside the basement footprint, based on the looks of our attic the inner brick wall of the chimney is coplanar with the stud wall. Chimney finish is stucco over brick.

We’re planning a variety of energy upgrades, attic air sealing and reinsulating, blowing cellulose in the walls, etc. I have no desire to keep the fireplace functional, a childhood of home heating with woodburning stoves sucked out all the romance of heating with logs for me.

Debating between capping/ sealing and abandoning it or going ahead and demoing it. Demo looks like a high potential of cascading issues including moving the gas meter which for some reason is of course attached to the chimney on the outside, rebuilding the bit of roof that it’s notched into, etc. Capping/ sealing raises the how-to/ best practices questions and the quite high probability there’s not a real water control layer anywhere in the entire chimney assembly and sealing from the inside, outside or both is going to reduce drying. 

Anyone done either and have an opinion about why that was the best/ worst decision you’ve ever made? 

For added fun I’m fairly certain the fireplace smell we’ve been getting in our bedroom is coming from the chimney somehow which runs right behind our headboard…

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