For builders The Evil Outside Chimney
If you design or build houses I need to have a serious talk with you about chimneys. Iknow that chimneys are hardly the most glamorous aspect of the building business andmaybe your eyes glaze over when subject comes up, but I'm here to offer a different takeon chimneys, one you probably haven't heard before.So respecting your busy schedule and your lack of interest in chimneys, here is the bottom line: chimneys belong inside houses. The facts demonstrate without questionthat masonry chimneys built onto the sides of houses so their profile shows, or metalchimneys enclosed in framed chases, even though they might look alright, don't work well at all. In fact, I suggest that a chimney hanging off the side of a house like anafterthought is an abomination, functionally and aesthetically.Chimneys belong inside houses. I'm serious.But as I look around, it's apparent that the majority of houses less than 50 years old weredesigned and built by people who don't share my views. Outside chimneys are rampant.They are everywhere, hordes of them in tract developments, and ones and twos stuck on big custom houses. It's not a class thing — the urban rich and the rural poor all seem toget outside chimneys these days.Another thing I've noticed, a lot of people complain about their fireplaces being fussy andhard to light without getting a room full of smoke. And they complain because when thefireplace is not being used, the doors and the hearth are cold. If your houses havefireplaces, you've probably heard the complaints. Hey, you might be one of thecomplainers.I know what you're thinking. You think I'm going to make a connection between outsidechimneys and annoying fireplaces. Well, there is a connection and I can prove it, if you'lllet me explain.And it's not just fireplaces – wood stoves suffer the same problems when connected tooutside chimneys. Although oil furnaces have fans that pump exhaust gases into thechimney, their outside chimneys spill a lot of cold air into basements between firingcycles. Conventional gas furnaces and hot water heaters are famous for spilling their exhaust gas as well as cold air from the chimney into basements. The common feature of all these failures to flow properly is the outside chimney.I usually talk about fireplaces because they are the object of most complaints. Peopledon't give a damn what their gas furnace is doing, unless chronic backdrafting leads tocarbon monoxide poisoning. But when the male of the species has romance on his mind,or more serious still, is about to demonstrate his superior fire-building skills for theneighbors, and the room promptly fills with smoke, the air may be blue with more thansmoke. Anyway, the science is the same for all chimney vented combustion equipmentand the science says put the chimney inside.