Correcting Draft Issues


A draft in a literal sense means to “draw” or to “pull”, which is why the selective service is called a draft. When your chimney is having a drafting issue, it means the chimney system is not able to properly and effectively pull air through the chimney and out of the house. The chimney should be working constantly when a fire is burning in the fireplace. That means there is constant airflow pulling the heat, smoke, and other gases out of the chimney and home. A smoky chimney is the first indication of a draft issue. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for a draft issue–some may be simple, quick fixes, and others may be more serious.Correcting Draft Issues - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services

The Wrong Wood

The number one cause of simple draft problems is that you’re burning the wrong firewood. Good wood is properly seasoned, meaning it has been cut and stored to dry before it is burned. “Green” or wet wood has too much water inside and has to work harder to burn. It will be more difficult to light, will burn with less heat, require more wood to reach a desired temperature, burn incompletely, produce more ashes, and be smokier. A great way to check to see if this is the problem with your chimney is to build and light a fire with properly seasoned firewood.

A Competing Draft

Other large systems in the home, such as the central air and heating system, can interfere with your fireplace. Your home may also be so tight that it is impossible for the chimney to pull air from the house. In order for the chimney to pull air out of the house, more air must be pulled into the house to keep airflow going. Otherwise your home becomes a vacuum, and the air will not flow. This problem can be quickly checked and remedied by cracking a window in the house to allow air in.

A Dirty Chimney

When the chimney system is coated in soot and creosote, the efficiency drops because airflow slows down. If the air cannot travel up and out of the chimney, the result will be a smoky fireplace. You can solve this problem by scheduling a chimney sweep. Schedule now, and you can avoid the fall rush. You may also find that the smoky problems from last season aren’t present this year!

Chimney Sizing

Believe it or not, the size of the chimney matters–a lot. If the chimney is too tall or short, the smoke will not rise up and out. Instead, it will fall into the living room the next time you open your damper. If the flue isn’t sized correctly, if the smoke chamber isn’t the right size, or if the smoke shelf isn’t large enough, then you will have a smoke problem.

Chimney Damage

Damage to the liner can slow air flow and cause a draft issue. You should have annual chimney inspections to insure you that all the seen and unseen portions of the chimney system are in proper working order. This means that your smoky chimney does not have a complicated solution. If your chimney is in ship-shape, then the problem is simple and can likely be resolved through troubleshooting.

Still unsure what to do with your chimney? Call Chief Chimney Services at 631-863-2460.



No comments yet.

Leave a Reply