Are you getting smoke inside your home instead of it going up your chimney? Will you need a professional to correct the issue? Read on for more information.
Troubleshooting Chimney Smoke Issues
Things you can check yourself:
- Ensure your damper is open and not closed when starting a fire. Until your fire is going nicely and is hot, a closed damper may push smoke into your home
- Open a window or door when your chimney is pushing smoke into your home. If the problem goes away, you may have inadequate air supply to your appliance. Watch Jeremy from Chimney Works demonstrate this problem in this video
- Is your firewood seasoned? If your firewood has not had time to dry, or is a dense wood such as oak, it could create an initially low temperature fire which can lead to excessive smoke. Use a moisture meter if you are not sure if your firewood is properly seasoned.
- Are you missing a chimney cap? A chimney cap can stop downdrafts from allowing smoke into your home
- Does it only happen when you open the door of your stove or insert? Try this: Open your damper or flue for a moment before opening the door, then open the door slowly.
- Does it only happen if someone opens a door to your home? This can cause rapid changes in your home, which is an indication that outside air may need to be vented to your appliance.
- Do you get the feeling that weather is affecting the problem? High pressure cells can cause this issue to occur infrequently
- Lastly, after a fire is fully extinguished and allowed to cool for 48 hours, remove all ash and coals and see if you look up your chimney – check for any obstructions such as birds nets, or a broken damper
OK, so now that you have checked all of these things, you might want to call out a professional. Here are some other causes of smoke entering your home:
- Your chimney could be improperly constructed or poorly designed
- Your fireplace opening is too large for the chimney flue
- Your chimney height is not correct. Very short chimneys have this issue
- If you have two fireplaces in your home and the problem only happens when both are being used, you may need to raise the flue height slightly of one of the chimneys to prevent inadequate air flow.
Final Thoughts on Chimney Smoke Problems
Many of the problems identified above can be solved by simple changes in behavior. If you are pretty sure you have an air supply issue or a draft issue, make the call and get a quote from a reputable chimney sweep. Sometimes the problems are not as expensive to fix as you suspect. If you are interested in learning more about the science behind chimney drafts, please read this article on our blog: How To Stop A Cold Downdraft In Your Fireplace
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