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Why Does Your Fireplace Smoke?

cat-fireplace-hearthNothing is quite as relaxing on a cold winter night at home as lighting a fire in your fireplace and cozying up. Unless, of course, your fireplace sends smoke pouring back into your home. Not only is this unexpected; it’s a health and safety hazard as well. If you’re tired of this happening so often when you use your fireplace, we may have some solutions.

Below, find out what may be causing your fireplace to smoke when you light a fire, and some possible remedies to the situation. Otherwise, call our team for comprehensive chimney and fireplace services in Minneapolis, MN.

Does It Only Smoke At Start Up?

This may be that the fireplace is too cold. It’s an easy solution, actually. You can light a piece of newspaper and hold it up to the flue, waiting to feel the downdraft reverse. This is called “priming the flue” and it’s a common practice, especially for homes with chimneys located mostly outdoors.

Is the Damper Open?

Even a seasoned professional can forget to open the chimney damper from time to time. You must always open the damper before you start your chimney (and close it up after you are done). Leaving the damper shut causes all that smoke from the chimney to back up straight into the home!

Are You Using Seasoned Firewood?

This means firewood that has been seasoned—left out to dry—for 6-12 months. This is the only way to ensure the wood is dry enough to prevent dangerous creosote buildup. An unseasoned wood burns with more smoke, and that smoke is more likely to back up into your home and make for an unpleasant experience. Start buying and drying your wood now, and dry it in stacks so that you have some available for next year’s winter!

Is It Windy?

Unfortunately, a very windy day can ruin your fire. It’s more likely for smoke to get pushed back into your home than on a calm day. You can try some quick fixes, like opening a window to bring more air to the fire, but you might have to give up the fire—for now.

Something that may help is a chimney cap installed atop the chimney. This serves several purposes aside from keeping wind at minimum. It also prevents little critters from climbing through to your fireplace, and it can prevent moisture buildup from destroying the inside of your chimney over time or leading to an excess of creosote buildup.

Have You Had the Chimney Inspected?

Has it been a while since the chimney has been inspected? This is a sign that it’s time to schedule your appointment with a professional chimney sweep. Doing so will help you get to the bottom of the issue, so be sure to tell your chimney sweep about the smoking issues within your fireplace. In addition, your chimney is cleaned and ready to go, so you can rest easy knowing your home is safer.

Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for your next chimney sweeping appointment in Minneapolis, MN or for more information on smoking fireplaces.

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