My Fireplace is Smoky!

A fireplace is a good place to get cozy and warm yourself up during cold winter seasons. But, what happens if you light your fire and your living room fills with smoke? What could be the cause?

Reasons for Having a Smoky Fireplace

Most of the time this problem goes back to the chimney – its basic theory, its maintenance, its structure. To put it simply, a chimney functions on the principle that hot air rises and also by the principle of diffusion; where the hot air diffuses from an area of higher concentration (in the chimney) to an area of lower concentration (to the outside). This is a continuous cycle whenever a fire is lit in the fireplace because the smoke produced will replace the air within the flue and will keep escaping to the outside until all the warm air is out.

When this flow is disrupting say, by a blockage in the chimney, then there is a good chance that the hot smoke produced within the fireplace will find another route to go up and the next best place it can do this is into the room if the house where it is placed. Common blockages of chimneys consist of fallen leaves, creosote and soot build up, and sometimes a small unfortunate critter that has found its way into the chimney. You can easily solve this problem by calling one of our licensed sweeps at White Glove to clean your chimney.

Smoke pouring inside your home upon lighting your fire points to a chimney blockage. Don't use your fireplace until you have a certified sweep take a look.

Smoke pouring inside your home upon lighting your fire points to a chimney blockage. Don’t use your fireplace until you have a certified sweep take a look.

 

As for the structure of the chimney, there could be a number of reasons why your fireplace could be smoking. It can be related to faulty construction of the chimney. For one, there is an optimum chimney height. This means that there is a certain height which creates the right amount of updraft required to bring all the smoke up into the chimney and out of the house. Another thing to consider would be the openings of both the fireplace and the flue. Generally, the opening of the fireplace must be ten times or less than the area of the flue.

Among other reasons for having a smoky fireplace is not having enough airflow in the house. There should be some form of air replacement for the air that the chimney draws out of the house such as a vent or a cracked window near the fireplace. If you call for an appointment with White Glove, we’ll be sure to help you troubleshoot whatever problem you might be having with your home heating system.

We also recommend annual chimney inspection if you think you have a blockage. Different blockages require different responses. You should not use your fireplace if it is very smoky – not only will your indoor air quality be poor…you could put yourself (and your home) at risk for a far more serious issue.