What is better than sitting next to a fireplace on a cold winter's day? Feeling the warmth, listening to the sounds of the wood burning, can be a relaxing way to spend an evening. If you are new to fireplaces, or if you have recently moved into a new house that has a fireplace, you may be surprised when you light the fireplace and the entire house fills with smoke.
A smoky fireplace is generally a result of poor construction. However, there could also be a few underlying issues with the fireplace setup. In some cases, it can be an easy fix.
Insufficient Flue Area
One of the most common reasons a fireplace is smoky is due to insufficient flue area. If the ratio of the area of the flue is not in scale with the opening of the fireplace, the fireplace will expel smoke out of the front of the fireplace. Depending on how close the ratio of the flue area is to the fireplace opening, this can be an easy fix. Installing a Fireplace Smokeguard on the face opening of the fireplace will effectively reduce the area of the fireplace, making the flue area closer to scale. The Smokeguard will prevent the smoke from rolling out the front of the fireplace.
For more extreme cases where the ratio is much greater, a top exhaust fan would be necessary to pull the smoke out of the fireplace. The Enervex Chimney Fan is the best fan to install to fix a smoky fireplace. Equipped with a variable speed control, you can increase or decrease the draft depending on how the fire is burning. Rest assured, the Enervex Chimney Fan is a very quiet exhaust fan. You will need to hard wire the fan to the electrical system on the home.
When the chimney and fireplace were originally constructed poorly, the best way to rectify the fireplace would be to remove the existing chimney flue and install a new stainless steel chimney liner that is large enough to handle the opening of the fireplace. Please feel free to reach out to one of our Certified Technicians to help figure out what size liner will work best for your installation.
Another cause of a smoky fireplace would be the quality of the wood that you are using. Wet firewood is hard to light, even when you use a lot of kindling. Wet firewood prevents the wood from getting hot enough to actually combust. When you are burning wet firewood, there are telltale signs that you can notice immediately. It will typically smell and make a hissing sound when you attempt to light it. The ideal moisture content of the wood should be between 15 and 20 percent. With a simple handheld Moisture Meter, you can test your wood to ensure you are not burning wet firewood.
Changes Inside the Home
A sudden change to the home could be a reason your fireplace is smoky. The fireplace may have worked flawlessly for 10 years and suddenly after a remodel, it starts to smoke. This could be a result of installing more energy efficient windows and doors, or possibly adding insulation to the home. This would make the home more airtight. One of the biggest factors in wood burning is oxygen. Sealing up a drafty home can cause the fireplace to starve and make the fire die out and smoke. Installing a fresh air intake next to the fireplace is a good way of introducing fresh air to the fireplace without having to constantly open a door or window in the cold winter months.
While fireplaces can be a great feature of a home, it is important that the fireplace is constructed correctly, inspected, and working properly. Many times, homeowners decide to install an efficient wood burning stove inside the fireplace opening.
Questions your installation? We are here to help. Contact a Rockford Chimney Certified Technician today.