A typical complaint homeowners make about their fireplaces is that the smoke doesn’t travel up the chimney as it should. Instead, they find that the smoke goes into their home. Fortunately, chimney professionals know how to fix a smoking fireplace even with multiple causes of the problem. It takes troubleshooting to determine why a chimney isn’t working effectively. It can be cost-effective and easy to fix a chimney, or the problem/solution could be extensive and expensive. It all depends on the cause of the smoking fireplace. Here are the most common causes of a smoky fireplace and how to fix these problems.
The first step to lighting a fireplace or wood stove is to open the damper. This step might seem like common sense to some people. However, many homeowners forget this step. A homeowner might call chimney professionals to help with a smoking fireplace, and it turns out they never opened the damper, causing the smoke to have no place to travel besides into the home. The apparent remedy to this problem is opening the damper.
Reduced Air Pressure
A proper chimney draft happens when there is a certain amount of air in the room. However, many modern homes are so airtight that there isn’t enough air pressure for the chimney to vent sufficiently. The quickest and best remedy for this problem is to open a window to create an adequate draft that moves the smoke out of your home. Another cause is using the exhaust fan in the kitchen.
An Unprimed Flue
Sometimes smoke doesn’t travel up the chimney because a column of cold air in the flue causes smoke to enter the home. It’s vital to check the draft before lighting a fire to be sure that the flue doesn’t need priming. The standard way to prime a flue is to use rolled-up newspaper to create a torch, light it, and hold it up toward the damper. Sometimes you have to do this a few times to light up the flue effectively.
A Fireplace Open too Large for Its Flue.
If your fireplace’s opening is more than ten times the circumference of the flue, the dynamics will create an improper draft. You’ll have a smoky fireplace because more smoke will collect in the firebox than the chimney can draft. The best fix is to install a Smoke-Guard, a metal strip that makes your fireplace opening smaller. With a better flue-size-to-fireplace-opening ratio, the fireplace shouldn’t smoke.
A Short Chimney
A chimney should extend above the roofline for a proper draft. The chimney should make up for discrepancies between interior and exterior air pressure. However, if the chimney isn’t tall enough, the smoke will blow back into the home, creating negative air pressure. The only solution for this is extending the chimney’s length.
A Poorly-Built Chimney
The worst news a homeowner can hear about their chimney is its poor construction. Masons who don’t understand the proper operation of a chimney build inadequate fireplaces. Sometimes, it takes new construction to fix this issue. Other times, redesigning the smoke chamber or firebox solves the problem, which only requires partial reconstruction. An exact mathematical equation exists between the different fireplace and chimney elements for proper drafting.
Call the Experts at Champion Chimneys for Chimney Cleaning Today!
Champion Chimneys, Inc. is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured chimney service company that has served customers in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland since 2001. Our team is trained and certified by Certified Chimney Professionals, Inc. (CCP, Inc.). Courteous service is our trademark, and our crews arrive on time in uniform, driving fully equipped trucks. We specialize in all aspects of your chimney system. Whether you need chimney and flue cleaning service or a full chimney rebuild or inspection, contact us at 443-Chimney today and let us fix all your chimney problems. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.