No Amount of Smoke is Acceptable in Your Living Space – Fix the Problem Now
First, understand that fireplace smoke is extremely hazardous to your health. If you have been living with a smoky fireplace, you’re putting yourself in danger. Stop using your chimney immediately. Then, try these troubleshooting steps. If you can’t find the cause, call an experienced contractor to help you fix the cause or find other options for heating.
Troubleshoot Smoking Chimneys Safely
Wait a few days after the fire burns out to let the chimney cool fully. We’re assuming here that you perform regular maintenance on your chimney, having it inspected every year and swept when necessary. So, we can safely assume the smoking is not from poor maintenance.
Inspect Chimney and Flue
The Chimney Safety Institute of America offers a helpful guide that will help you identify the parts you need to check. Measure the area of the fireplace opening and compare that to the area of the flue opening. Small flues are often culprits in smoking fireplaces. You may need to install a fireplace insert that reduces the area of the fireplace opening so it is no more than 10 times greater than the flue opening. While you’re there, double-check that the damper is fully open and holds its position properly.
Poor ventilation in your home can also cause or contribute to smoke leaking into the living space. If the chimney checks out OK, it could be negative pressure in the house caused by overly tight insulation or appliance fans fighting to direct airflow against the chimney’s draw. To pinpoint the cause, light an incense in the firebox and watch how the smoke travels while you try different potential problems.
Make sure all fans and appliances that may draw air with a fan are shut off when you do these tests. Open a window near the fireplace and wait a few minutes. Has the flow of smoke changed? If not, try opening a window on a lower level of your home. You should continue troubleshooting this way, trying a window on the next floor up too. If you find no changes, it’s time to start running each appliance that could be interfering with the fireplace draw.
If after testing everything and not finding an answer, you need to consider solutions from a contractor. When simple solutions fail, some need to install a costly fan at the top of the chimney to draw smoke up. It might be just as cost-effective to install a fireplace insert. Talk with several contractors for a quote and compare it with the cost of a quality fireplace insert such as the Heat & Glo Fireplace Insert.
Don’t risk your family’s health on a smoking fireplace. Call MM Comfort Systems for help.
If you’re struggling with a smoking fireplace, call MM Comfort Systems to find out about fireplace inserts and alternative heating solutions for your home. You can reach us at 425.533.9058 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.