We have a neighbor who loves their fireplace. Every day the temperature drops below 60 or so, there's a fire. I love fires, but we smell every one, and don't benefit from the heat :-). The chimney is four feet from our property line, and the smoke always seems to waft horizontally or down, entering our bedroom and sometimes the back yard.

The fireplace is an EPA registered insert with fan, and they burn fairly fragrant wood. The flue is metal and appears to be 4" in diameter with a metal cap.

They are willing to let me extend the chimney up, perhaps 8 feet. Would this help? Is there a way to raise flue temperature so the smoke rises higher and misses our property?

1 Answer 1


Raising the flue may help a bit by increasing the draft. The direction of the smoke once it exits the chimney is totally dependent on the weather, winds and atmospheric pressure. You will notice that the smoke will go up when the atmospheric pressure is low, and will linger or drop in high pressure.

Raising the flue temp would require they open the damper and burn the wood more rigorously. This is often counter productive and sucks more heat out of the house than it puts in. Also in the case you site, a single wall metal flue could become extremely hot, especially close to the firebox. The smoke will exit the flue more vigorously, but not necessarily raise far enough before it cools to cure the problem.

Here in Maine where many folks heat with wood, the exhaust smoke is becoming an issue in more densely populated areas. There have been many stories on the news, and experts talking about new wood burning technology, but no one has found a way to reduce smoke pollution from older units, airtite stoves or folks that burn damp, or not fully dried wood.

  • Extending the stack without structure and insulation may lead to condensation for slower fires, especially in colder weather.
    – HerrBag
    Feb 27, 2013 at 13:23

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