There’s nothing quite like the warm, cozy ambiance of a roaring fire in your fireplace during the cooler months of the year. However, if you’ve ever experienced fireplace smoke coming into your house, you know that it can quickly ruin your aesthetic – not to mention creating a health hazard.
Why does this happen? And, more importantly, what can you do to prevent it? In order to properly prevent this unwanted nuisance from happening in your home, it is important to understand the most common reasons why fireplace smoke comes into your house in the first place.
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Why Does Fireplace Smoke Come Into My House?
There are a few different reasons that smoke could be coming into your home from your fireplace.
- Poor Chimney Draft: When the draft in your chimney is weak or non-existent, the smoke from the fire doesn’t get pulled up and out of your home. Instead, it lingers, eventually making its way back into your living space. Poor chimney draft can be caused by a variety of factors, including a dirty or blocked chimney, a poorly designed chimney or flue, or negative air pressure in your home.
- Cold Chimney: When your chimney is cold, it can create a condition known as “stack effect.” This is where the colder air in the chimney pushes down the warmer air in your home and causes smoke to come into your living space. A cold chimney can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of insulation or a chimney that is located on the outside wall of your home.
- Closed Damper: The damper in your chimney is designed to control the flow of air and smoke. If it’s closed or not opened enough, it can cause smoke to come into your home. Always make sure to check that your damper is fully open before starting a fire.
- Wind: Wind can have a significant impact on the draft in your chimney. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, it can cause smoke to blow back into your home.
Solutions to Prevent a Smoky Fireplace
While having smoke from your fireplace come into your home is not something you want to have to deal with, the good news is that there are several simple and cost effective solutions to prevent this from happening. The best way to prevent fireplace smoke from entering your home is to…
- Sweep Your Chimney: Regular chimney sweeping (cleaning) and maintenance are critical to ensure that your chimney is free of debris and blockages. Hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and sweep your chimney at least once every year.
- Use Proper Fuel: Using the right kind of fuel for your fireplace is vital in preventing excess smoke. Avoid using green or wet wood, which can create more smoke and residue. Instead, use seasoned hardwoods or manufactured fire logs.
- Warm Up Your Chimney: Before starting a fire, warm up your flue by lighting a small piece of newspaper or kindling and holding it up into the chimney. This will help create a draft and reduce the likelihood of smoke entering your home.
- Open the Damper: Make sure your damper is fully open before starting a fire. This will allow for proper airflow and prevent smoke from coming back into your home.
- Install a Chimney Cap: A chimney cap can help prevent debris, animals, and wind from entering your chimney and affecting the draft. It can also help keep rainwater from entering and damaging your chimney.
Fireplace Smoke FAQs
How often should I clean/sweep my chimney?
It’s recommended to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a certified professional at least once a year to prevent blockages and ensure proper airflow.
Can a dirty chimney cause a fire?
Yes, a dirty chimney can lead to a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can ignite and cause a chimney fire. This is why regular inspections and cleanings by a certified chimney sweep are necessary to keep your chimney clear and ready for use – and why your fireplace smoke levels should be kept in check!
Can I use any type of wood in my fireplace?
No, it’s best to use seasoned hardwoods or manufactured fire logs to prevent excess smoke and residue.
We’re Ready to Help You Out
Now that you know why smoke from your fireplace could be coming into your home – and how to prevent it – you can use the tips above to enjoy your cozy fireplace all winter long without worrying about smoke filling your living space. Remember to schedule regular chimney maintenance, book repairs when needed, use proper fuel, warm up your chimney, and keep your damper open.
With these simple steps, and by trusting the professionals at Mr. Smokestack to inspect and sweep your chimney, you can create a safe and smoke-free environment for you and your loved ones. Stay warm and cozy this winter!
Our professional crew is ready to help you out. Call or schedule online today.