I think its supposed to be for a vent or something, how can I tell if its working? I have found when the fire gets low smoke starts coming in. I’m guessing its because there is a lack of heat to pull it up the flume and that its fixed by cracking the door abit which pulls the air up the chimney. The house is only 2 winters old and I use the fireplace about once to twice a week at most.
Well if it isn’t to open a secret passage to a secret room. I’m guessing it’s to let air in to give the fire more oxygen to burn hotter. The flue should be closed just so smoke does not enter the room by the way…if smoke enters open it a bit. Be sure they are both closed when not in use.
Somewhere in your fireplace on the back wall or floor there is probably a grate that is operated by that lever.. listen closely if you can’t see one, and engage the lever to locate it. If you do however, find a treasure room I’d like the pearls please.
You should not be getting any smoke inside the house, sounds to me like the flueway is not completely open to allow for a proper draft. I don’t know what the 2nd lever is for unless it’s a damper of some sort in the flue to control the draft or to allow frsh air in. If you have the owners manual to the fireplace read that, if you don’t have it try finding the make and model of the fireplace and go the the manufactures website (google it if needed), most manufacturers have a support/customer service page where you can download the manual for free.
It may be that someone put a second damper at the top of the chimney to insure the house stays warm in winter when the fire place is not in use.. Look to see if there’s a chain leading up the flue from that second handle.
That would also explain the smoke that your getting in the room.
I was a Chimney cleaner for 15 years.
check the sides and bottom of your firebox and see if there is a vent for outside air…