A drafty chimney can seem like a never ending problem and can seriously impact your ability to enjoy your fireplace. As the cooler temperatures of fall and winter draw closer, now is the perfect time to fix your chimney’s draft. Fixing your drafty chimney now will allow you to enjoy your fireplace when cool weather arrives without worrying about problems such as smoke blowing back into the house or cold air rushing in.
The following are four of the most common draft problems, as well as ways that they can be repaired.
- Flue sizing. Bigger is not always better – if your flue is too big for your fireplace, cold outside air and smoke may backdraft into your home. Issues with flue sizing are often seen in homes where a fireplace insert has been installed or the fuel source has been changed. Fireplaces should follow the 10 to 1 rule, which states there needs to be 1 square inch of flue for every 10 square inches of fireplace opening. Following this ratio allows smoke and other byproducts of combustion to quickly move up and out of the chimney without drawing additional outside air in.
- Chimney blockages. The presence of debris in the chimney can impact fireplace drafting. Whether it is a bird nest, a large clump of leaves, or pieces of fallen shingles chimney blockages can cause smoke to become trapped in the chimney. When this happens, smoke will often back up into the room and will not stop until the fire is extinguished. Having the chimney regularly swept as well as having a chimney cap can both prevent chimney blockages.
- Air tight house. Believe it or not, having a house that is too well insulated can impact fireplace performance. If your furnace continues to run even when a roaring fire is blazing, you most likely have an air tight house. When this happens, the fire cannot draw in enough oxygen to keep burning, causing the fire to pull air from down the chimney.One of the best ways to combat an air tight house is to open a window close to the fireplace. This gives the fire enough fresh oxygen to burn well without drawing in large amounts of cold air from down the chimney. Opening a window close to the fireplace can also help prevent potential backdrafts that often occur in air tight homes.
- Burning the wrong firewood. If your fireplace produces excessive amounts of smoke, it may not be a drafting issue at all – you may be using the wrong firewood. Homeowners should only burn seasoned wood to avoid a smoky fire. Because seasoned wood is allowed to dry out for at least six months it has much lower moisture content than freshly-cut wood. This, in turn, reduces the amount of smoke the fire produces.
Drafting issues can impact your ability to enjoy your fireplace system. This year, get your chimney’s draft fixed before cool weather arrives. Contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today to schedule your appointment to fix your drafty chimney!