Why Does My Fireplace Have Drafting Problems?
If your chimney draft isn’t working right, it’s important to find out what’s causing the problem. Combustion smoke is dangerously toxic and yet one of the most common reasons homeowners contact chimney sweeps is because of a smoky fireplace. The following information could help you figure out why your fireplace has drafting problems. Ultimately, if repair is needed for the chimney to operate properly, call a trusted local chimney company like Burlington Fireplace & Heating in Burlington, WI.
The way a chimney operates is that the hot air from fires is lighter than cold air, and it rises up the chimney naturally. The temperature differential can have other effects on your chimney, though. For instance, if your chimney is on an exterior wall, it probably tends to fill with cold air when the weather is freezing outside. If you try to start a fire, the cold column of air in the chimney may push out the smoke that’s created by the burning tinder. The remedy is to create a newspaper torch, light it, and carefully hold it up toward the damper. It may take two or more tries, but the warm air will eventually displace the cold air, allowing you to use your fireplace as usual.
A fireplace will smoke if a chimney has the wrong dimensions for the fireplace, the chimney stack is too short, or if there are other errors in construction. To ensure proper operation, there are specific formulas that should be followed when building chimneys and fireplaces. Bad construction can be an expensive problem to fix but wait to see what a chimney professional says. It may not be that expensive an issue.
Negative Air Pressure
Air is always flowing in and around a house, and the airflow is affected by a number of factors that can result in a smoky fireplace. “The Stack Effect” has to do with a tall house leaking large amounts of air in upper stories as heated air rises. If the fireplace is on a lower floor, the stack effect causes the house to become like a chimney while the chimney updraft is too weak for the fireplace to operate properly. It can sometimes help to open a window near the fireplace. A more permanent solution, if practical, is to provide combustion air directly from outside into the firebox.
Negative air pressure can also occur and disrupt the chimney draft if the house is tightly sealed and an exhaust fan in the kitchen or a bathroom is being used.
Another common reason for a fireplace draft problem is an obstruction in the chimney. Most often, the blockage is caused by an excessive amount of creosote, which is a highly flammable substance. With each wood fire, some creosote is deposited in the flue. If the chimney isn’t cleaned every year, more or less, creosote can build up to the point it narrows the flue passage and shuts down the draft. Chimney cleaning may be all you need, but it could be more complicated, such as birds’ nests. Always contact chimney professionals if there is or if you suspect there is an animal in your chimney. It can be dangerous to deal with a wild animal yourself. Experienced chimney sweeps use practiced techniques for animal removal.
Contact Chimney Experts Today
At Burlington Fireplace & Heating, we have certified technicians and teams of chimney sweep experts who have the training to provide professional chimney repair. We offer masonry repair, chimney inspections, chimney liner replacement and repair, chimney cap installation, chimney crown repair, and the full scope of chimney services. If you have a chimney draft problem or need chimney services of any kind, give Burlington Fireplace & Heating a call today at 262-763-3522.