Common Causes of a Smoke Filled Home
Your chimney’s flue is designed to help smoke and carbon monoxide move from your fireplace, up and outside of the home. A fireplace pushing smoke into the house maybe be a sign that one of these problems is present in your chimney system.
As you burn wood, it can start to create a layer of organic material on the inside of your flue or liner. We call this creosote, and it can eventually cause significant problems with your fireplace. When we sweep a chimney, we’ll remove any creosote buildup. If it’s been a while since your last sweep, there’s a reasonable chance the creosote buildup is to blame for your smoke backup.
Another type of blockage the Above and Beyond Chimney Service team frequently encounters is from a “third party.” By that, we mean animals who build nests on the top of your chimney or twigs and leaves that fall into your flue. Both of these can cause issues with letting smoke escape, which is why a chimney cap is so important to the proper operation of your fireplace.
Your chimney can be 100% clean and unobstructed, yet you still see smoke backing up. So what’s going on here exactly? As it turns out, the right rain and wind combination can prevent smoke from escaping. A weather shield or cap is a great way to circumvent this from ever happening.
Depending on the age of your house, it’s possible the construction crew didn’t build your fireplace according to code. There are specified regulations as to how big a flue should be, but if your home is older, it may not adhere to these guidelines. As an alternative to a complete reconstruction, you can install a top exhaust ventilator to create more updraft.
Have you ever heard of negative pressure? In basic terms, this is when the air pressure inside of the home is stronger than the fireplace venting system. There are a wide variety of possible causes of negative pressure, ranging from bathroom vents to kitchen exhaust hoods. As with incorrect construction, a long-term solution can
be a top exhaust ventilator. Otherwise, you may not be
able to use these home features while you’re also
burning a fire.
Likewise, if the indoor to outdoor temperature differential is less than 20 degrees, your fireplace can push smoke into the house.
Lastly, water-related issues can lower the temperature within the firebox and weaken its draft. A telltale sign here is if you only have problems after it rains or snows. This can indicate you have a leak that, not only can cause other problems down the road but can also impede your fireplace from working properly.
A fireplace pushing smoke into the house is an immediate problem.
If you ever see smoke backing up into your home, you’ll want to stop using your fireplace immediately. See if you can identify which of these problems may be causing the backup. And if not, don’t worry: that’s why we’re here to help.