I had a friend of mine ask me how to stop smoking.
I thought she was talking about her use of cigarettes.
I told her she should quit slowly unless she wanted to end up going through withdrawal. She looked at me like I had three heads, and I stared right back. I felt defensive, and I rudely told her that if she didn’t want the answer, she shouldn’t have asked the question. Then my friend laughed and told me she had quit smoking cigarettes over a year ago, and I hadn’t even noticed. She was asking how to stop the fireplace from smoking. Every time she lit a fire in the hearth, she had nearly as much smoke coming into the house as was going up the chimney. I told her that she probably had a clogged chimney or a broken flue. She wanted to know if I should call a chimney sweep or the HVAC company. I wasn’t sure if they had a department in the HVAC company that dealt with fireplaces. I thought her best bet would be to call someone who dealt strictly with fireplaces. I knew that gas fireplaces were often sold through the HVAC company, but not actual brick and hearth fireplaces. She called the local fireplace company and asked them to come out and look at the fireplace. It took a couple of days for the inspection to be done. She ended up needing a new flue and a new chimney, which made it too expensive to repair. She had the chimney cemented shut and put an electric fireplace insert into the hearth.