When you use your fireplace, the smoke should travel up the chimney so it is sent out of the home. If smoke builds up inside, it will not be long before the room is full of smoke. This is not only a health hazard, it also increases the risk of a fire. The problem may be as simple as forgetting to open the damper before starting the fire. Since the damper should always remain closed when the fireplace is not being used, this is an easy mistake to make. An open damper can lead to air loss, or it can let cold air into the home if there is no heat from a fire to push it out.
There may be a reason why a damper does not open fully to allow heated air to escape through the chimney. Rust can prevent it from operating efficiently, so give it a quick look if it seems like it is not opening properly. Use a flashlight, and look up into the fireplace and towards the back. With an annual chimney inspection you should know early on if there are any damper issues that need to be addressed.
Poor air flow inside the room that has the fireplace could also be a reason for excessive smoke. Adequate air helps combustion, so the fire will burn hot quicker, and therefore produce less smoke. Good air flow also helps to push the smoke from the fire out through the chimney. Opening a window for a while is usually a simple way to build up a good draft and push the smoke out of the rom.
Knowing how to build a fire the right way can lessen the risk of smoke getting inside the home. If the logs are not far enough towards the back of the firebox, it is easy for smoke to get into the room. Always remember to place logs at the back of the firebox for an efficient fire.
An incorrectly sized fireplace could be another reason for excess smoke. If the firebox is too deep, use a grate that has legs so you can raise the logs. For a fireplace opening that is too large, a hood can be attached to keep the smoke inside so that it will travel up the chimney. Glass doors can also be used to seal the opening and keep the smoke in.
If downdrafts sending smoke into the home become a frequent issue, talk to a chimney technician. This may mean that you need a taller chimney. If overhanging trees are causing wind to blow down into the chimney, the technician can cut them to get rid of the problem.
Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill
We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.