Dealing With a Smoky Fireplace
Fireplaces not only bring heat into our our houses, but they can also bring smoke! There are some fireplaces that are extremely smoky while others are not at all. But why? The causes of a smoking fireplace can be wide and varied. Here are a few ideas for addressing the problem of a smoking fireplace.
- Fireplace design
- Chimney height is not sufficient
- Wind or drafts
- House pressure problems
Fireplace design: If the cause of your smoking fireplace is its design, there are ways to solve your problem. If your fireplace opening to flue opening ratio is too large or too small you may have a smoke problem. This fix may be relatively easy – make the fireplace opening smaller! One product homeowners can install is called a smoke guard. A smoke guard is a flat metal bar that fits on your fireplace opening at the top. Just this one product can effectively reduce the fireplace opening size and usually corrects the original design flaw of your fireplace.
Chimney height is not sufficient: If your fireplace design is not the reason for the smoke, your chimney may not be tall enough. Extending the chimney is one way to fix your problem. This is a fix that would require a professional such as Antrim’s Complete to inspect the chimney and, if needed, build an extension. Another way the height issue can be resolved is to install a fan on the top of the chimney to help the draft and guide the smoke out. A fan would need to be one that could withstand high heat temperatures.
Wind or drafts: Wind can be the culprit as well. Depending on the direction of winds in your location and the surrounding geography of hills and other obstructions such as roofs or trees, wind can be directed down your chimney. This problem can be alleviated by either raising the height of your chimney to escape the turbulence and pressure of the wind zone that is causing the problem or installing a special cap that protects your chimney from the downward winds.
House pressure problems: A common side-effect of new construction in our sealed homes can be problems of pressure. Kitchen exhaust fans, bathroom fans and clothes dryers can create a negative pressure in your home. This can result in air pressure in your home being lower than the air pressure outside. When this happens, air will try to enter the house any way it can, and one of the easiest is your fireplace! One of the easiest fixes to home pressure problems is to open a window/s. There are more complex solutions that can involve extensive re-working of your home’s air handling systems. A fireplace that has draft problems due to pressure or wind may indicate a problem with your furnace or water heating venting properly. This situation could affect your health and safety and requires a professional to assess the problem and suggest a solution that works with your situation.