When you have a drafty fireplace, it can seem as if the problem will never get fixed. Whether the problem is cold air rushing in, smoke blowing back into the house, or the wind causing whistling or rattling noises, draft issues can make homeowners not want to use their fireplaces. Although it can sometimes be difficult to identify the cause of a drafty fireplace, fixing the root cause of the problem will allow families to enjoy their fireplaces for years to come.
Below are five of the most common causes for chimney draft problems.
1. Air tight house
If your house seems to get colder or the furnace continues to run even while you have a roaring fire, you may have an issue air pressure and venting. A fire will draw in air in order to have the necessary oxygen to keep burning. If there is not proper venting in the house, warm air from inside the home will wind up being drawn up and out through the chimney.
To combat this issue, crack open the window closest to the fireplace. Doing this allows the fire to draw in cold outside air inside of using warm air from inside the home. It will also prevent any backdrafts from the chimney into the house which may occur if there are no open windows or doors.
2. Flue sizing
Having a flue that is either too small or too large may cause smoke to backdraft into the house. Traditionally, fireplaces follow the 10 to 1 rule, which means that for every 10 square inches of the fireplace opening there needs to be 1 square inch of flue. The ratio for this rule effects how quickly air moves into the fireplace opening. In order for the air to travel up the chimney fast enough, the 10 to 1 rule should be followed. If not, smoke may escape from the fireplace and into the room.
3. Chimney height
Taller chimneys are known to draw in air better than shorter chimneys. As the warm air within the chimney rises, taller chimneys filled with more hot air will produce a stronger draft. Because of this fact, homeowners may be able to solve their drafting issues by adding several feet of height to their chimneys.
4. Chimney or flue blockages
Birds nests, lost Frisbees, stray leaves, or fallen shingles can all block the entrance to a flue. Likewise, branches, leaves, or animal nesting materials inside the chimney can create blockages. If this happens, smoke may become trapped in the chimney or flue, backing up into the room. Having your chimney professionally swept can ensure that there are no blockages creating drafting problems.
5. Seasoned firewood
If your fire is creating excessive amounts of smoke, your fuel source may be to blame. Firewood that has not been seasoned will have a much higher moisture content. As it burns, the water in the firewood creates large amounts of smoke. Buying firewood that has been seasoned for at least six months will greatly reduce the amount of smoke produced.
If your fireplace is having drafting issues, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today. Our fireplace experts can perform a smoke test to help diagnose and identify the source of the drafting issue and protect the health and safety of you and your family.