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We Diagnose Chimney Drafting Problems

A chimney’s job is to create draft for combustion, safely moving flue gases up and out of your home. However, a number of things can interfere with proper drafting, not only causing efficiency problems with your heating appliance, but also presenting a safety hazard. If you notice smoke in your home – or detect a strong odor of smoke or soot even after a cleaning – it’s likely that you have a chimney draft problem.

Let the pros at Jack Pixley Sweeps troubleshoot and diagnose your chimney and fireplace drafting problems. These can oftentimes be fixed by:

  • having the chimney system cleaned
  • installing a top-sealing damper
  • reworking the chimney so that its proportions are conducive to a stronger draft

Whatever is causing your draft problems, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified technicians are trained to help you determine the cause and offer you a quality solution.

What’s Wrong With My Chimney Draft?

Your chimney’s draft may be inadequate as a result of one or more of the following factors:

  • Your chimney is dirty. A buildup of soot or creosote will greatly impact proper draft.
  • There’s moisture inside your chimney. Moisture is a chimney’s worst enemy, even affecting its draft.
  • The flue size is not compatible with the appliance size, or the chimney is too short. A too-short chimney won’t allow enough draft to draw smoke and odors up and out, while tall chimneys give more draft. If the flue is too small or too big for the appliance it is venting, draft problems will quickly present themselves.
  • Blockages may be restricting air flow within your chimney. These blockages may include nests, leaves or debris, fallen bricks, Frisbees, etc.
  • Your home may be surrounded by tall trees, cliffs, or tall buildings, which may be affecting the wind and draft. This can be remedied by making your chimney taller.
  • There’s negative air pressure in the home. Maybe you’ve installed new airtight doors or windows. Or perhaps bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, attic ventilation fans, clothes dryers, etc. are causing negative pressurization in the house. In order for a chimney to function properly, it needs air to support the combustion of the fire and draft. Make-up air is needed to replace the air being drawn out of the home by the chimney. If you have recently had doors or windows replaced, your home has been “tightened up.” The new windows may have cut off some of the air needed to help the fireplace function properly and efficiently. Our technicians can run a manometer test to see if negative air pressure is a problem for your chimney.
  • There’s smoke crossover. If you have two fireplaces, you may have a smoke crossover problem, either internally or externally. With negative air, this is usually an external cross over. The second flue in a chimney will act as an air intake into the home. As the fireplace either upstairs or downstairs is being used to exhaust the air, the other fireplace begins to bring in make-up air. It will suck the smoke from the other flue back down into the home. Other times it is happening internally, which will lead to a breakdown of the mortar joints between flue tiles. When this happens, the smoke begins to leak into the internal part of the chimney and back into the home.

We’re Chimney Troubleshooting Experts

Whatever your draft-related problems, call Jack Pixley Sweeps at 763-422-0481 or schedule your appointment online today.


A simple smoke test done by trained technicians will help find certain problems with your chimney, problems that could be affecting the health and safety of everyone in your home. Call and request this important service today.