The joy that comes from the soft glow of the fire and the gentle crackling of burning wood is a welcome gift to any homeowner with a fireplace. That is, if the smoke from it goes one direction, as expected – up and out. If it doesn’t, the joy of a fireplace quickly turns to frustration.
If your chimney doesn’t have proper airflow and ventilation, harmful fumes and smoke are more likely to enter your home – bringing with it an unwelcome ambiance and unwanted damage.
Fortunately, the experts at Madewell Masonry & Chimney are here to help you. Here are some questions you can ask next time you’re dealing with a smoky living space.
Is Your Damper Open?
This seems obvious and a bit like a no brainer, but it’s a mistake that’s made all the time. We get our fire lit and forget that our damper is closed. Smoke is pouring into our home and it’s because we simply forgot to clear the pathway for it to safely move out.
Before doing anything else, simply make sure that your damper is open – an easy fix and one you don’t need a professional sweep for.
Is Your Home Too Tight?
If there is no way for air to freely flow within the home then the air pressure will build up within it. This is typically caused by newer homes being more “tight” than homes used to be. While all this insulation is great for keeping in heat, it also ensures less makeup air can get in – which can be a problem when it comes to lighting your fireplace.
What results is the fire actually pulling oxygen down the chimney and into the home. This means that smoke will go where the air is going – right into your living room.
Now, cracking a window open is a quick solution if this is your issue. It will allow small amounts of air to enter, making a more balanced air pressure system within the home and allowing smoke to go out and up where it should. But if it keeps happening again and again, it may be time to find some other solutions – our crew can help.
Is Your Firebox Too Big for Your Chimney?
It is possible that your firebox is allowing more smoke than your chimney can handle. If your flue is too small, it simply won’t be able to keep up and smoke will end up back in your home. The experts here at Madewell Masonry & Chimney can make sure that the size of your firebox is properly matched to your chimney, ensuring everything that needs to go out can do so.
Are Trees & Building Structures Too Close?
When trees and buildings impose on the space outside of your chimney, air can be forced back down the flue, which then pushes smoke into your home. Be aware of how effectively air can flow to the outside of your home – and what surrounding entities could be causing air to be forced back down the chimney.
Does Your Flue Need Warming?
If your chimney is cold and hasn’t been used recently, the sudden addition of warmth from the fire in the fireplace can fight against the layer of cold in the chimney. This will cause the smoke to be pushed down and into the home.
Solve this problem by lighting up a piece of rolled up newspaper, then holding it up inside your flue for a bit. This will give the air a chance to warm up and reverse direction, so that your smoke can flow freely.
A good top-sealing damper will also help with this problem. These sit at the top of your flue, instead of the bottom, helping to keep out downdrafts, animals, and debris. In addition to that, it will also keep your chimney warmer, so your fires don’t have to fight any sitting cold air. Just make sure your damper is open when your fireplace is in use.
Is Something Clogging Your Flue?
There are many ways a chimney can get clogged up. Critters, such as birds, squirrels, and raccoons, will often set up their homes in chimneys. When they do that they bring in debris from the outside and make nests, meaning air will have a lot of trouble escaping – and smoke will return inside rather than flow outside.
Creosote buildup can also cause clogging in the flue. If not maintained, creosote on the walls of the chimney can build up so much that it completely stops the venting process. This is why sweepings and annual inspections are so essential – book yours today.
Do You Need a New Liner?
The proportions between your firebox and your flue is important. Not only will a new liner help reduce the collection of creosote on the inside of your chimney, it will also make sure that your flue is properly fitted to your firebox increasing efficiency. Liners are a vital piece of your chimney’s anatomy. Ask us about your relining options – we’d love to help.
We’ve Got Solutions
The techs at Madewell Masonry & Chimney are well-equipped to service your chimney and make sure that whatever is causing airflow problems and restrictions is taken care of. Call today to schedule your inspection and get your smoke flowing where it should be.
Reach out 901-443-1036 or schedule a visit today.