We've had our dual chimneys inspected by 2 companies, and it appears that both have holes in the smoke chambers. One company wants to reline both flues with stainless steel linings and install top sealing damper systems. The estimate for this and a new crown is $4,000. The 2nd company wants to do the same thing more or less, but the estimate is $10,000. We're not sure what it takes to make the chimneys safe, and whether we just perhaps aim to go gas/ventless.
John V, Fairfax, VA
There is a real good chance you need neither repair! So-called chimney "inspectors" are FAMOUS for finding flaws that either do not exist or ones that do exist but might not be nearly as serious or expensive to repair. My advice is to STOP and get an opinion from an expert that has no desire to sell you an expensive repair. Hire a professional home inspector for an inspection of the chimney. You can find one by going to the web site for the American Society of Home Inspectors at www.ashi.org. ASHI inspectors never work on homes that they inspect so their professional opinions are truly impartial and generally far more reliable than those of chimney contractors looking for work.
As far as the vent-less option, I personally don't recommend it and much prefer to have fireplaces that deposit combustion gases completely out of the house.