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Preventing a Smoky House From Your Fireplace

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, chances are you’ve dealt with moderate to severe smoke in your home from poor drafting. ChimneyTEK of Delaware has some helpful tips for Delaware homeowners to reduce the likelihood of a smoky house when using the fireplace. Not only is the smoke bad to inhale, but it will set off fire alarms, and opening windows to air it out means letting all that cold air into your home. Follow these helpful tips and enjoy less smoke and warmer fires.

smoky house

Most Smoke Problems Are Caused by Improper Drafting

Within your chimney, there’s a battle between cold air from outside forcing its way down and hot air from the fire trying to make its way out. If your flue has been closed, or you’re just lighting a fire, chances are the cold air is dominating the chimney, and this is even more likely if you have an exterior chimney. When you light a fire, the warm air and smoke are overpowered by the cold air and forced out of the chimney and into your home. A proper draft allows hot air and smoke to rise from the chimney so it doesn’t infiltrate your living room.

a smokey chimney

Smoky Homes Caused by Poor Flow

Like establishing a proper draft, having good flow is another critical factor for fireplaces. Flow is measured by the size of the fireplace opening compared to the size of the flue. When you have a fire, smoke accumulates in the firebox before finding its way out through the drafted chimney. If the firebox is too big or too small, smoke will look for another way out through your home. A few ways to remedy this include:

  • Make the firebox smaller by adding non-flammable material at the top of the fireplace opening
  • Install a closed unit, such as a wood stove or gas insert
  • Install a larger chimney flue

How to Establish a Proper Draft

Cold air in the chimney is common, and there’s an easy way to establish a proper draft of warm air out of the chimney to combat the cold. Before you light the fire, take a couple of pieces of newspaper and roll them into the shape of a torch. Light the end of the newspaper torch and hold it in the fireplace at the chimney opening. Doing this starts the flow of heat gradually into the chimney, and you’ll know a sufficient draft has been established when smoke from the torch flows upwards without issue. At this point, it’s safe to light the fire.

Chimney Downdrafts and Smoky Homes

Another cause of smoke inside the home from a fireplace is downdrafts from the wind outside. This is likely on especially windy or stormy days, and while there are not many things we can do to stop Mother Nature, a chimney cap can minimize this issue. Chimney caps provide a bit of shelter from the wind while still allowing smoke to escape. If wind is a consistent cause of smoke in your home, contact us for a chimney inspection to learn about your options.

Enjoy a Smoke-Free Home With Your Fire

The smell of a wood-burning fire is pleasant, but no one wants to sit in a smoke-filled room. If you’re having trouble controlling smoke and establishing proper drafting, contact the professionals at ChimneyTEK of Delaware for solutions to this common problem. Sometimes, the answer can be as easy as making sure your flue is open. However, if it is and you’re still having regular problems with smoke, give us a call for help.

Request an Appointment With ChimneyTEK of Delaware Today