Did you settle down for a cozy evening by the fireplace only to be faced with smoke in your living room? This is bad for your health, and it causes a really unpleasant aesthetic in your home, as well. It’s important to find effective solutions, and that’s what the team here at Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County is here to do for you. Learn more below.
The Problem: Poor Draft
A major reason for smoke pouring into one’s home is due to poor draft in the chimney. There a number of reasons why downdrafts may be occurring. For instance, maybe you’re dealing with the stack effect. What is this? Well, when the warm air in your home rises, it eventually needs to escape. It will search for any possible opening through which it can exit your home, then cold air will come in to fill the space where the warm air once was. Sooner or later, that air will warm up, rise, and escape, and new air will once again enter the home. This is the stack effect.
This process creates a Neutral Pressure Plane, with positive air on top and negative air on the bottom and, as long as this is balanced out, you shouldn’t have any problems. Unfortunately, many of these get off-kilter, which then causes draft issues with the fireplace.
No matter the reason you are experiencing a bad draft, finding solutions that work for you is important! The first thing we suggest doing is to check your damper. More often than you’d think, homeowners simply forgot to open theirs (or are using it improperly) and this will cause smoke to enter your living space.
Another suggestion is to partially open a window, as this could cause airflow to balance out in homes that are tighter. While a well-insulated home may seem like the best-case scenario, it can actually trigger drafting issues for those trying to operate a fireplace.
Other times, it could be that you have excess soot or outside debris clogging things up, in which case a thorough sweeping will be in order. All in all, having a professional check things over is always your best bet, and our team here and ready to help you out! Our CSIA Certified Technicians can look things over and make suggestions accordingly. Give us a call today to set up something up.
The Problem: Improperly Sized Flue
If your damper is working well, your home is well-balanced, and your chimney is free and clear of obstructions, then the problem may lie with the size of your flue. If it is too small, too big, or too short, then you will face issues, and you will need an expert’s take on things to ensure you find the most effective solutions for your specific appliance.
Sometimes size issues can be solved by relining the chimney or simply changing appliances.
If you have a draft and/or airflow issues, and your chimney is already deteriorated quite a bit, then this is another case where a rebuild may be your best option. No matter what, getting some professional insight into the manner is always the safest route. Do-it-yourself fixes could still leave you facing issues and without the proper training, you could be missing something that will leave your home facing risks. Not to mention, it could mean investing in even more (and more expensive) expert care.
Problem: Fire Isn’t Built Correctly
If you’ve tried it all, and fireplace still pours into your home every time you light a fire, then the issue may lie with the way you’re building your fire. The flue may be too cold, your wood may be unseasoned, or maybe your fire-building technique just isn’t working the best. Fortunately, these can be solved with a few tweaks and some dedication.
One important part of building a successful, smoke-free fire is to use only seasoned wood. The logs you throw in your fireplace should have been dried out for at least six months to ensure they have a lower moisture content and thus burn easier. If you’re buying wood, be sure it is lightweight, dark and split at the end, shorter in length, and that it makes a hollow, clunking noise when smacked against another piece [https://www.csia.org/selecting_firewood.html].
It’s also important to not burn paper plates, gift wrap, plastic silverware, or any other type of trash in your fireplace, and we encourage all of our customers to attempt the top-down burn, as this has proven to be very successful over the years. This consists of stacking your wood with the biggest pieces on the bottom and the smaller ones on top, then placing smaller sticks, kindling, and tinder on top of all that. Then, simply light your tinder and let the fire work its way down.
Finally, consider warming up the flue by lighting a rolled up piece of newspaper and holding it inside your chimney for a bit. This ensures the cold air in your chimney doesn’t push the hot smoke from your fires back into your home.
If problems are persisting, and you simply do not know what to do, don’t hesitate to call on our team. We’re eager to set you up right!