Relaxing in front of the fireplace is one of your favorite things to do with your family, but lately it seems like every time you try to start a fire, you end up with more smoke coming into your home instead of going out through the chimney. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you have tried to troubleshoot this problem, nothing has worked, and you are wondering if you will ever be able to enjoy a cozy and warm fire in your home again. Before you give up on your fireplace, you should contact the expert team at Ashbusters for assistance. For years, we have provided the Charleston area with high quality professional chimney and fireplace maintenance, repair, and installation services, and you can count on us to take care of your smoky fireplace issues. We would like to tell you more about what could be causing your fireplace to send smoke into your home and what we can do to fix the problem.
Even if you are sure that you always open up the damper every time before you start a fire, there could be a chance that you may have overlooked this important step, so it does not hurt to check to see whether or not the damper has been opened. It may seem unbelievable, but you might be surprised at how often a closed damper is the reason for a smoky fireplace. Another possibility is that the damper is suffering from corrosive damage and has become stuck in a partially closed position. If this has occurred, you may want to consider updating your damper to a new top-mounted model that defaults to an open position for safety purposes.
Just as a closed damper can force smoke back into your home through the fireplace, an obstruction inside the chimney can also cause a smoky fireplace. Several things could be blocking the flue, which typically results in a back draft in the chimney. Common examples of flue blockages include nesting materials that were left behind by birds, squirrels, raccoons, or other wild animals who may have used your chimney for shelter, excessive accumulations of creosote deposits, and crumbled and broken pieces of bricks and mortar joints falling into the chimney. This also creates a safety hazard because of the increased risk of toxic combustion gases like carbon monoxide entering your living spaces. No matter what may be blocking your flue, Ashbusters can safely remove the blockage to allow your chimney to properly and safely exhaust once again.
On the coldest days of winter, the inside of your chimney can be almost as cold as it is outside, especially if one of the chimney walls is on the exterior of your home. When your chimney is filled with cold air, it can put a chill on the exhaust gases, which can cause drafting problems. Since cold air is heavier than hot air, the chilled combustion gases are not as able to escape out of the chimney as quickly as usual, and this can lead to smoke coming back down into your home through the fireplace. If the temperature is colder than normal, you can avoid a smoky fireplace by priming the chimney before lighting a fire. All you have to do is to light a rolled up newspaper and hold it up into the damper opening for about three to five minutes. You might even be able to feel the draft reverse as the flue warms up to let you know you are ready to get the fire started.
INTERIOR MECHANICAL DEVICES
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the air flow inside your chimney operates under the same set of physical principles as water flowing in hoses and pipes. The air inside your home is constantly moving, and as air flows out, you need to have a source of replacement air to keep it in motion. When there is not enough replacement air coming back into your home, it can cause problems with the draft inside the chimney. Unfortunately, your clothes dryer, kitchen fan, bathroom fan, and other interior mechanical devices in your home can remove too much air and cause depressurization problems, which lead to smoke not being able to escape through the chimney. If you need to bring more of a balance to the air pressure needs of your home, Ashbusters can recommend the best type of mechanical device that is designed to provide that replacement air that is necessary for your chimney to draft properly. Once the air pressure is balanced, you should not have any smoky fireplace issues.
If you are experiencing smoky fireplace issues, Ashbusters can help you resolve this problem. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney technicians to inspect your chimney. We are here for any and all of your professional chimney and fireplace maintenance, repair, and installation needs.