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Smoke from the Chimney: 5 Possible Reasons for Drafting Issues

A properly sized chimney is designed to pull air, smoke, and other byproducts up and away from the home. Unfortunately, homeowners often call us to complain about a chimney that sends smoke back into the home, either initially at startup or constantly as you attempt to use the fireplace. The source of the trouble can be a surprising number of issues, and we’ve listed a few of them here. If you’re having trouble with your chimney, be sure to contact your local chimney and fireplace experts.

  • Closed damper: This is a common mistake, especially for new homeowners or first-time fireplace owners. Make sure the damper in the chimney is open so that the smoke can move up the chimney!
  • Buildup of creosote and debris: Too much buildup inside of the chimney flue can restrict the space inside and make it more difficult for air to lift up out of the chimney. You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned EACH YEAR before the season begins in order to prevent this possibility and the risk of fire.
  • A cold chimney flue: Due to the way the heat moves up the chimney, a cold chimney flue can prevent heat from moving up the flue. Causing smoke to temporarily move into your home. You can try blowing hot air up through the chimney to move the cold air out with a hair dryer. You might also light the end of a rolled up newspaper and place it underneath the chimney.
  • Poor fireplace/chimney construction: Sometimes there is little you can do if the problem has to do with the construction of the chimney. A chimney that is too short may have more trouble with drafting. And any problem with the flue means you should not use your fireplace, and that you should have an inspection with a chimney tech.
  • Improper wood burning: Wood that is too moist will not burn properly, so be sure you have well-seasoned wood that’s dried for 6 months or more. You should also be sure that the wood is placed on a grate positioned far back in the fireplace, not up near the front.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. offers chimney cleaning and repair services in St. Paul, MN. Call us today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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