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

Troubleshooting Fireplace Draft Problems

When you need your heating appliances, you expect them to work and it can be frustrating when things aren’t operating properly. If you notice your fireplace is drafty, it could be a simple fix, or it could mean you need to make some repairs. Troubleshooting fireplace draft problems involves understanding how your fireplace and chimney work, and how to prevent your warm air from escaping. No matter what the issue may be, it is best to start with a professional chimney sweeping and inspection.

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Has Your Fireplace Been Swept?

Make sure your chimney has been properly swept and inspected. A certified and reputable chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services, Inc in Suffolk can help make sure your chimney is cleaned and inspected before troubleshooting additional problems. Once your chimney has been properly inspected and swept you can move on to troubleshooting additional causes for a draft.

A thorough chimney cleaning can also remove excess build-up of creosote, which can coat the flue. When the flue can’t open and close effectively, it can lead to a draft in your fireplace. Again, a regular sweeping of your chimney and fireplace can remove creosote and other debris to make sure all the moving parts of your chimney are working.

Using Your Fireplace Correctly

Many fireplace issues are corrected with some simple knowledge on how to operate your wood-burning appliance. Make sure your damper is closed when not in use to prevent cold air from pushing down your chimney. During the colder winter months, it may be necessary to prime the flue by lighting some newspaper and holding it up to the damper to warm it up before you start your fire. In other cases, you may need to clean and replace any connectors that go from the fireplace or woodstove to the chimney. Once you seal all the leaks, you can move on to other possible causes of your chimney draft.

Preventing Downdrafting

During colder weather, the most common cause of a drafty fireplace is a downdraft. A downdraft occurs when cold air blows across your chimney and eventually down your chimney and through your fireplace. Counteract the downdraft by replacing your chimney cap and making sure it is installed properly. Similarly, a chimney cap and proper damper use can prevent The Stack Effect, when the warm air from inside your home battles with the cold external air, which can cause a draft.

A professional chimney inspection company will help determine other causes of drafts including whether or not your chimney is leaky, which may mean you need some masonry repair. Your certified chimney inspection company can also inspect your damper and any stovepipe connectors that may need to be replaced. Many newer homes are built airtight, which makes fixing a drafty fireplace as easy as installing a chimney cap or closing the damper. However, in older homes masonry repair may be required. In either case, hiring a professional chimney inspector can alleviate your worries and fix your draft problem in on easy step. Contact Chief Chimney Services to fix your drafty fireplace today.