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

Resolving Chimney Smoke and Drafting Problems

Your chimney should work for you. Like other systems in your home, you may take it for granted until it doesn’t work. Your chimney will work fine for a long time, venting your fire as it should, smoke escaping out the top of the flue. As long as it’s working, many homeowners don’t worry about scheduling routine services. The biggest thing to remember about the chimney system, however, is that when it works, it’s good. When it doesn’t work, it’s very bad.Resolving Chimney Smoke & Drafting - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney

Dangers of a Smoky Fireplace

If you find that your fireplace smokes when you’re lighting the fire, especially in a cold chimney, it’s not a huge deal. If a little smoke escapes your stove when you open it to load in more wood, that isn’t a huge deal. When you have a persistent smoke issue and the damper is in the open position, it’s a problem. When the smoke pushes into your room consistently, and visibly, you have a problem. Your inefficient chimney isn’t just a fire hazard at this point. It’s also a hazard to your health.

Troubleshooting

Sometimes a smoky fireplace is a simple problem with a simple solution. If the chimney is cold, it can be difficult for the smoke to rise up the chimney. If the fire is hot and has been burning for an hour or more, this is likely not the issue. It may be that you have a draft problem, meaning your house is too tightly sealed and cannot draw air from it to create a draft. If this is the issue, it can be resolved simply by cracking a window or opening a door on an opposite side of the house. Other appliances may also interfere with the chimney’s draft. You may also try shutting these off to see if there is a difference in the chimney’s performance.

If you have tried troubleshooting with no luck, are burning dry, seasoned wood, and your damper is in the correct position, and you still have a smoky fireplace, it’s time to call a professional.

Chief Chimney Services Offers Diagnostic Inspections

At Chief Chimney Services, the safety and comfort of our customers in Suffolk County is our #1 priority. Fire is not the only safety concern when it comes to fireplaces. Smoke inhalation can cause respiratory issues over time, sudden respiratory distress in asthmatics, and carbon monoxide poisoning in people of all ages. If you think you or a family member has inhaled too much smoke, seek medical attention.

If you haven’t resolved your smoky chimney/fireplace yourself, you can count on Chief Chimney Services. One of our technicians will come in and assess the entire chimney system for failing parts. It may be a simple issue that was overlooked during construction or something that occurred over time. If it’s a chimney sizing issue, it can be resolved with a new, appropriately-sized liner. We can replace it if it’s a faulty damper. If there is a solution to your chimney problem, the Chief can resolve it.

Contact Us

Call Chief Chimney Services to handle your smoky fireplace in Suffolk County. Call 631-863-2460, or schedule online.

By John Pilger on February 26th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Holy Smoke! My Fireplace is Smoking!

It’s one of those nice cool evenings when you just want to sit back and enjoy the warmth of your fireplace. You gather up the wood and get the fire started, but just as you’re getting comfortable a waft of smoke floats by your nose, and then more and more smoke is building up in your home. That definitely is not a good sign. Something is preventing your draft from working properly and smoke is escaping your fireplace.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that's not normal! Have it inspected to know what's causing it.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that’s not normal! Have it inspected to know what’s causing it.

Of course smoke should go up the chimney, not into the living area. That’s the very purpose of the chimney, to allow the harmful gases from combustion to exit the house not dwell in it. As you might have already figured out, your smoky fireplace might be an indication of an underlying problem.

Possible Causes

Moist Wood

The first thing that you can do by yourself is to check the kind of wood you are burning. Certain types of wood just naturally produce more smoke – the more moisture the wood contains, the more smoke (and production of creosote). That is why a drying process is necessary before using any kind of wood to burn in your fireplace.

Chimney Problems

Other more critical issues that could cause a smoking fireplace are chimney related, particularly pointing to the airflow, or the lack of it. When proper airflow is impaired smoke easily flows back into the house causing a lot of problems for homeowners, ranging from discolored furniture to severe health risks. That’s why you always want to make sure your fireplace and chimney are well-kept by having them inspected annually.

The most common impediment to proper chimney function is the presence of obstructions within the flue. These can come in the form of creosote buildup, dead leaves, and unusually, small animals. Creosote buildup is an inevitable occurrence with chimneys that are frequently used. Creosote is a normal byproduct of burning wood and over time it mounts up on the walls of the flue, narrowing the passageway of smoke as it tries to get out. This is the very reason why a regular chimney sweeping should be done because creosote is also very flammable and might even cause an unnecessary chimney fire. As for leaves and animals, having a chimney cap or crown installed will help you solve your troubles as it provides a barrier against these unwanted visitors inside your chimney. These accessories also hit two birds with one stone by complimenting the waterproofing of your chimney as well.

If you have a chimney damper installed, also make sure that it is still functioning properly. Otherwise, replace it because if it is always closed or will not open anymore, it defeats its purpose of controlling the amount of air flowing down to the fireplace. Instead it will be a trap for the rising smoke, which will have nowhere else to go but back down into the fireplace.

Whatever the reason for your fireplace and chimney woes, Chief Chimney Services, Inc. is ready to serve you. Contact us today for an inspection so we can help you determine the root of the problem. After which our licensed experts will do what they do best until your fireplace and chimney seem almost brand new. Soon you’ll be back having relaxing nights by your fireplace.