Smoky fireplace?  There might be a problem with your chimney’s draft.

Spring is in the air!  Yes, it is, but according to our friend, the groundhog, it looks like we will still have a few winter nights in front of us.  It’s as important as ever not to neglect your chimney maintenance.  While this is usually done before the burning season starts, if it hasn’t already been taken care of, there is still a need to have that annual sweep and inspection scheduled to make sure the unit is safe to use.

What is chimney draft?

It is important that your chimney’s draft is in good working order so that the exhaust fumes that accumulate during the burning process can be removed from the home. As the air in your chimney gets warmer and warmer as your fire gets hotter and hotter, it begins to pull air through the firebox.  This creates “draft”.

What can happen to affect or change the draft?

  • Creosote is released during the burning of fire and clumps together inside of your chimney. It can collect on the interior walls of the chimney, clog dampers, and/or chimney caps.  If an excessive amount of creosote collects in your chimney system, it can disrupt draft.
  • The insides of older chimneys (wythes) can collapse, creating blockages that inhibit draft.
  • Chimneys may have construction defects that cause smoke spillage into the living space. When the fuel is wood, this spillage can be seen easily (smoke).  When the fuel is gas, this spillage is invisible.

What happens when the draft is changed?

When there are draft problems, toxic gases such as carbon monoxide (created as a by-product of burning anything) are not able to escape the home properly.  Since CO is colorless and odorless (invisible), you cannot tell when it begins to fill a room unless you notice symptoms of exposure.

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

If you feel this may be a possibility in your home, please schedule an inspection immediately.  It is always recommended to have an annual chimney inspection by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) professional.   CSIA has created a set of guidelines to make sure that the job is done to leave you safe and getting the most out of your appointment!

When you need to schedule your appointment (or if you have any other chimney related questions) call Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth.