Fireplace question/smoke smell in basement


We have a home that has a gas firplace in the basement and a wood burning fireplace on the upper floor. When we start a fire in the upper fp we smell smoke downstairs. There's no damper on the gas one downstairs. The gas one has a pipe that goes up the brick work to the outside. We noticed this smell got worse after we installed a chimney cap for the wood fp. So does some of the smoke go down the pipe of our basement gas fp? If that's the case what can we do to prevent this?
Thanks JaKe Seattle
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We have a home that has a gas fireplace in the basement and a wood burning fireplace on the upper floor. When we start a fire in the upper fp we smell smoke downstairs. There's no damper on the gas one downstairs. The gas one has a pipe that goes up the brick work to the outside. We noticed this smell got worse after we installed a chimney cap for the wood fp. So does some of the smoke go down the pipe of our basement gas fp? If that's the case what can we do to prevent this?
Thanks JaKe Seattle
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Following up on Pawlowski's comment: The flue in the gas fireplace may be furnishing make up air for the wood burning fireplace.
TB
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I would suggest a damper for the gas fireplace. It should have one.
I would also suggest that a good chimney sweep take a look at the situation. This could be a safety issue. There are many possible problems and only an on site inspection by an experienced professional can really tell what is going on.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

I guess my gas fp is odd because it doesn't have a flue I can shut off. I just may put a bag over the exhaust stack on the roof.
JaKe
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I would want one. With out one, it is like leaving one of your windows partly open all the time. If you live where I do, that is not a good idea. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If you live in Centralia WA, no big deal.
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Joseph Meehan

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Jake. Since you are thinking of puting a bag over the chimney top, I am gathering you are looking for an inexpensive solution for a gas fireplace you do not use much. Since you do not have a damper at all i would suggest an inexpensive chimney balloon for $40. You can buy them online for whatever size flue you have. They blow up to seal off a flue just like a damper only tighter. This will seal up your open fireplace flue and you wont have to go on your roof to do it since the Balloon is installed from the hearth area. This will eliminate the smoke problem and also keep you from loosing heat out that open flue downstairs. If you do buy one get a sized clear chimney balloon. The black one-size fits all ones with the stick dont work well when there is no damper at all.
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You have a couple of possibilities. When the gas fp is not burning, cooler air may be rushing down the open flue. With the wood flue nearby, it will carry down some of the smoke and odor. While a chimney cap is a good idea, it will diffuse the smoke more than no cap where it would go straight up and give less carry over.
Both should have caps to prevent birds and squirrels from getting in the house (happens a lot, DAMHIK) and the gas should have a damper of some sort.
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When you have a wood fireplace or stove, there is a draft of hot air which goes up the chimney. This creates a "vacuum" inside the house.
There needs to be air coming into the house to supply the draft air for the fireplace. If all of your windows are closed, the only way for air to enter your house would be via the chimney in the basement!
So I think the basement chimney is sucking in air and it is also sucking in smoke from your rooftop area.
The solution would be to crack a window near your fireplace.

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On 12 Jan 2007 23:58:14 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

IMHO:
Fireplaces are like big air pumps. They move alot of air outside and your house needs to make up for this movement. So it sounds like 'fresh air' is coming down your gas fireplaces flue. Since the cap slighlty directs the smoke downward, it might be helping smoke reenter your home.
I would look into getting the fire place a source of air, other than your homes, install a door on the gas fireplace, and consult a fireplace/chimney sweep expert for real help.
Just guesses....
tom @ www.FreeWorkAtHomeIdeas.com
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