Our Company Blog

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.

By John Pilger on September 14th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Help, My Chimney Stinks!

A stinky chimney is an indicator of an even greater chimney problem that exists or can possibly exist in the future. To get to the bottom of it, let our experts at Chief Chimney help you out.

A stinky chimney is an indicator of an even greater chimney problem that exists or can possibly exist in the future. To get to the bottom of it, let our experts at Chief Chimney help you out.

We all want the same things from our chimney systems. We want a chimney that vents properly and thoroughly. We want a firebox and flue that provides the protection from high heat that they were designed to provide. We want a system that keeps moisture from making its way into the interior of our chimney — and the interior of our home. And we want a chimney that doesn’t stink.

As CSIA-certified chimney professionals, Chief Chimney technicians are focused on helping our clients get all of that from their chimney systems — optimum performance, optimum levels of safety, minimum levels of moisture intrusion, and a pleasant absence of stink. If you’ve been frustrated by a stinky chimney, we can help.

Chimney Odors Are A Warning Sign

The thing about chimney odor that we often don’t think about as we’re turning up our noses: It’s helpful, in a sense. That’s because ultimately, chimney odor is an indication that there’s a bigger problem going on in your chimney or with the use of your heating appliance.

A Musty, Dank Odor

If the smell you’re noticing is dirty, musty and dank, that’s most likely related to moisture, and very possibly is coming from mold growth. If you have mold or moisture, odds are you have a chimney leak.

Chief Chimney technicians can inspect your system thoroughly to figure out what’s allowing moisture to get into your chimney — which can be anything from a cracked chimney crown to damaged flashing, or something as simple as a missing chimney cap. When we find the culprit or culprits, we can make repairs to get rid of your leak — and get rid of that smell!

A Singed, Smoky Odor

Even though you’re routinely lighting a fire in your fireplace or stove, you shouldn’t smell a smoky odor in your home —your chimney is meant to carry away the byproducts that contribute to a smoky odor. So if you smell (or see) a lot of smoke when you’re using your appliance or in between uses, that’s an indication of a problem either with your venting system, or your burning practices.

If there’s a problem with your chimney’s draft — the upward movement of air that carries out combustion byproducts and smoke — you’ll most likely get an indication of that through a smoky stink. If you haven’t had the chimney swept in more than a year, there’s a good chance your problem is excess creosote buildup. But the problem could also have to do with chimney blockages, wind-induced downdrafts or a variety of other issues. We can inspect your chimney system to find your issue and correct it.

Smoky odors can sometimes just be the result of less-than-optimum burning practices, though — even something as simple as neglecting to open your flue completely during your fires.

Burning anything other than seasoned or kiln-dried cordwood — like wood that isn’t properly dried, trash or Christmas trees — can also cause your fire to produce excess smoke and excess creosote. In the case of burning green or moist wood, it can contribute to the development of troubling Glazed Creosote, which is extremely combustible, has a particularly strong odor and is really difficult to remove. If your flue has glazed creosote, we can remove it, and bring your system back to proper (and less stinky) condition.

If you have questions about the best burning practices and chimney odor problems, we’re always happy to help our valued clients. Just give Chief Chimney Services a call!