As colder weather approaches, your fireplace will be used more often than ever. To prevent excess smoke in your home from your fireplace, there are many factors to consider. Excess smoke can cause respiratory problems and home damage if not dealt with properly. Smoke can also increase the fire hazard risk. Here are the reasons why your fireplace is smoking up your home.
Incorrect Chimney Height
A common reason why your home fills with smoke is because of your chimney height. If your chimney is shorter than the height of your roof, it will not be as effective at drawing smoke out of the house. Shorter chimneys cause a downdraft effect, meaning the air in the chimney is too dense to draw the smoke up.
A short chimney can easily become a fire hazard to your home. If your house is taller than the chimney, smoke can actually draw up through cracks in the roof or attic, which can increase your risk of a roof fire, especially in high wind situations. Avoid setting fires on windy days if possible to prevent possible fire hazards.
Most modern building codes require chimneys to be at least two feet taller than any structure within ten feet. It must also be at least three feet above where it connects to the roof. For older homes, this issue may be due to a lack of building codes during the installation.
Local building codes may be different in your area, so always consult with a professional if building or repairing a chimney.
Your Firebox Opening is too Big
The firebox is where the fire burns, and it is crucial to ensure it is working properly. If your firebox opening is too big, excess smoke can leak into your home. Depending on the size of your home, there is a corresponding size for your firebox and chimney size.
If your home is smoky, you can have a professional come to measure the height and depth of your firebox to see if it was built correctly. If it is too big, there are ways to correct it. Your firebox opening size can be reduced.
A chimney extension can also help your firebox work properly so more air can be drawn out of your home. The taller the chimney, the easier it is for the smoke to be drawn out and away from your home. If you are building your own fireplace, firebox and chimney height will vary based on your home’s dimensions. Consult a masonry expert to ensure proper design for your fireplace.
If you have a bigger firebox, consider moving the fire back to prevent smoke from leaking out. If your firebox is too shallow, you may need to consult a professional.
Vent Cuts and Lack of Airflow
Lack of airflow could also be the culprit for your smoky house. Without airflow, smoke will sit in your firebox and leak into your home. Vent cuts can easily be added to your firebox to increase airflow. Vent cuts help pull the smoke up through the chimney and away from your home.
Airflow issues can also be caused by negative pressure in your home. Negative pressure means that the pressure inside your home is lower than outside the home. This issue is more common in newer houses because of tighter insulation. Keeping a window cracked or having a glass storm door can help increase airflow so your fireplace can run smoothly.
If you are still having trouble with airflow, check your flue and chimney for obstructions. Over time, debris and soot buildup can get into your chimney and obstruct airflow. To check, shine a flashlight up into the chimney to look for blockages. You may also have to check the chimney from the roof.
Unblocking your chimney can be hazardous, especially if it has not been cleaned for a while. Consult a professional before unblocking your chimney or hire a chimney sweep to perform regular maintenance.
Contact a Professional
If you have a smoky house or need fireplace repairs, it is always best to consult a professional. Chimney and fireplace maintenance is crucial for the health of your home and for reducing fire hazards. We can help keep you and your home safe by repairing your fireplace system.
At Ray Arnold Masonry and General Contracting, we are committed to helping you with any chimney or fireplace repairs. Our family-owned business has been serving the greater Cleveland area for almost 70 years. Contact us today to learn more about our chimney services.