We bought this ~55 y.o. house a couple of years ago. It came with brick
Last night I peered up flue to open it to start a fire. I noticed what
appeared to be a thermocouple going to the right side of the chimney.
On the left and right side of the fireplace there is a vent near the floor
and one a couple of feet higher. I removed the covers to see if there was
any motor in there - which there wasn't. Firebox is metal and there is a gap
of at least an inch between firebox and more bricks.
Anyone have any ideas what that thermocouple could control? Or what it might
have gone too? I see no power going into the fireplace from the basement.
Previous owner blew out a town to unknown place. So I cannot ask him. And
the owners before them are deceased.
Sounds like at one time the fireplace may have had a ventilator. The
left-right vents blew air out, and the middle vent sucked air in. I have
one of these myself. It could be that the unit was simply removed at some
point in time, and that is why you don't see a fan blower motor.
Of course, it could be something else too, but that is what it sounds like
The left and right vents sound like a passive heating system, where
room air goes in the bottom vent, is heated by the exterior of the
firebox (i.e. goes up between the metal firebox and the surrounding
brick) and exits the top vent.
As for the thermocouple, it may serve (or have once served) a powered
vent system such as a power flue vent, or a powered heat-recovery
system. I suppose possibly it could serve to shut something else (like
the furnace) OFF while the fireplace is being used, although I have
never seen that. -- H
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