A new fireplace, insert, or stove is a great way to transform any living space in your home by bringing warmth and ambiance to the room. When having a new heating appliance added in your home, however, it is recommended to have them professionally installed and tested to ensure they are safely operating.
One recommended test for newly installed stoves, fireplaces, and inserts is the smoke test. According to National Fire Protection Association Standard 211, all new masonry chimneys must have a smoke test before they can be used.
What is a smoke test?
A smoke test is used when a new fireplace is installed to ensure that the fireplace is drawing and venting correctly. During the smoke test, a blowtorch is used to warm the flue and establish flue draw. Next a smoke pellet with a discernible odor is inserted. The smoke – and the odor – created by the pellet are one way we can tell how the fireplace is drafting.
Once the pellet has been lit, the first step is to wait and see if smoke is rising from the chimney. Once this smoke is seen, both the top and bottom of the flue will be sealed off, including closing all ash covers, doors, pits, and vents. This traps the remaining smoke inside the flue. Our chimney sweeps will then evaluate the interior and exterior of your chimney and home to ensure there are no leaks. If any leaks are found, repairs can be quickly made and evaluated.
During the smoke test process, we take the time to answer any questions you may have and explain each step of the process before we do it. We believe that this commitment to customer education allows homeowners to more fully understand and confidently and safely operate their heating appliances.
Why is a smoke test important?
While a smoke test may seem unnecessary, it is actually an important part of chimney safety. When a new fireplace is built or a stove or insert is installed, it is important to ensure that the byproducts of combustion are able to fully, easily, and correctly vent from the home. By using a smoke pellet, our chimney sweeps can identify any areas with defects or flaws; left unrepaired, these flaws could allow dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide to silently seep into your home.
Smoke tests are also a tool for protecting your family against a chimney fire. Chimneys that vent incompletely are at greater risk for developing large pockets of creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of combustion that is the leading cause of chimney fire. By having the smoke test done on your new fireplace, you can rest assured that it is venting properly and minimal creosote will find its way into your flue.
If you’ve recently built a new fireplace or had a new stove or insert installed, call Jack Pixley Sweeps to schedule a smoke test. Not only will it make sure that your new heating appliance is venting correctly, but it can help protect your family’s health and safety. Contact us today to schedule your smoke test appointment!