Is Your Chimney Smoking In Your House?

An evening in front of the fireplace should be a soothing and relaxing experience.
However, there is nothing particularly soothing about a room filling up with smoke.
There are many reasons that smoke leaks into a home and this month we offer you some of the most common causes and solutions.
Well Insulated House
Unlike a moderately drafty home, a house that is relatively air tight may not be able to supply enough outside air to the fire resulting in a negative pressure in the home. Well insulated homes can benefit from an outside air supply vent installed in the fireplace to satisfy the fire’s needs. Try opening a window in the fireplace room while burning. If the fireplace starts to draw better, this is likely the problem.
Too Warm Outside:
Even fireplaces that draft great when its cold outside can be known to puff out fireplace smoke when it’s slightly warmer out. The greater the temperature differential from the inside room temperature and the outdoor temp, the better the fire will draft. Take notice of the outside temperature when burning the fireplace. Having a fire when it’s colder out may help.
Damper/Chimney Cap Problems:
Make sure that the damper is open all the way. Sometimes there is a rain cap or even another damper on top of the chimney which may be obstructed and need attention. Have a professional look to see if that’s the case.
Chimney Needs To Be Cleaned:
Creosote buildup in the chimney can reduce the the flow of exhaust gasses which can cause fireplace smoke and may also lead to a chimney fire. A compromised chimney flue can also cause drafting problems. Hire a chimney sweep to inspect your fireplace for damage and have the flue cleaned. This is something that should be done at least once a year even if your fireplace operates perfectly.
Wet Firewood:
It is not uncommon for the problem to be soaking wet firewood. A fire that appears to smolder or make hissing sounds wile burning may have a high-water content. Such a fire simply can’t generate sufficient heat to allow the chimney to draw well. If you hit two smaller pieces of dry firewood together, you should hear a crisp, sharp sound. If you hear a dull “thud” the wood is most likely wet. Try building a fire with wood that you are positive is dry like scrap lumber that has been under cover.
Incorrectly built fireplace:
If you have been able to rule out the possible causes listed above, faulty fireplace design is likely the reason for your fireplace smoke problem. There are critical parts of a fireplace that must be built to specific sizes in relation to other components. Flue volume and fireplace opening size ratios are extremely important. Other factors include smoke shelf construction, size and shape of the damper, chimney height in relation to peak of roof height and so on.
If you find yourself sitting in a room full of smoke or your house smells like a campfire after your fire, dont hesitate call us to take look.