Hello. I have a fireplace in my small home that was built in 1922. The damper in this fireplace is at the top of the firebox. The damper is strange in that it has two metal plates on top of each other. To open the damper you slide the top plate to the left which opens up a series of slits. This damper does not open like the "door" types that I have been reading about.
When I shine a flashlight thru the slits I can see the flue. the flue is not straight up from the damper, but angles back a bit. There is some brick at the front of the damper which would appear to make the air flow back to the flue. Another strange thing is that looking thru the slits that are on the extreme right and left of the damper, I can see the inside of the walls of my house. This surprised me!
By looking at this fire place, it appears to be able to burn wood (which is what I want). The opening is 31"W, 28"Tall, 17" Deep. It has what I call cinder block on walls and back. The walls angle inward from the opening, and the back arches up to the damper. The floor is made of heavy clay tiles and extends out 14" from the front of the fire place. An 18" fireplace grate fits nicely inside the firebox with room to spare at the sides and front. The chimney rises several feet above the roof-line of the house and is open at the top. (I can see daylight thru the damper).
My concern is with the damper. Has anyone heard or seen anything like this? I would assume with the extreme side slits open to the walls of my house that smoke could get into the walls. Is it possible that the up-draft in the chimney would pull the smoke up anyway? How could a chimney like this be cleaned if the damper doesn't open like a door?
OK, if not a wood burner, would this be a complete chimney rebuild to make it one?