You expect your fireplace to provide your home with warmth and comfort during the cold weather months. A chimney with draft problems, however, can leave your home feeling anything but cozy. A draft can bring smoke and hazardous gases flowing out of your fireplace. If your chimney has a drafting problem, have it corrected before cold weather comes to South Carolina.
A proper chimney draft depends on the basic principal that hot air rises.
As your fire burns, the hot air rises quickly from the fireplace to the chimney, through the flue and out into the air. The hot air that rises out of the fireplace is replaced by the cooler air from your home. Draft problems occur when the cycle of hot air exiting the chimney and cold air entering the fireplace is disrupted. This results in hot air rushing back into your home, along with the byproduct of your fire, such as smoke.
How can I tell if my chimney has drafting problems?
There are obvious signs of chimney drafting problems, such as smoke billowing from your fireplace into your home when a fire is lit. There are some more subtle signs of draft problems, as well. If you notice a constant strong smell of smoke in your home whether or not a fire is lit, improper draft is likely to blame. Improper drafts also can make it difficult to light a fire in your fireplace, or you may notice that your fireplace isn’t letting off much heat.
How can my chimney draft be corrected?
To correct an improperly drafting chimney, the chimney must first be inspected to determine the cause of the drafting issues. There are many possible causes to improper chimney drafting on both the fireplace and chimney end. Smoke and hot air must be able to fully escape the chimney for proper drafting. A chimney that has cracks, needs to be swept, has a damaged or improperly sized cap or that is blocked will not allow hot air and smoke to fully escape. Wind blowing downward into your chimney also can prevent smoke and hot air from escaping. Your chimney’s size also could be to blame. If your chimney is too narrow or too wide, or too short or too tall for your fireplace, it will not draft properly.Inside your home, your chimney’s draft could be affected by other appliances that draw air from the room. A nearby bathroom fan, kitchen fan, central vacuum or furnace could be drawing in the cooler air that your fireplace needs to feed your draft.
The best way to address an improperly drafting chimney is to have your chimney cleaned an inspected by a certified chimney sweep. Your chimney sweep will be able to identify the cause of your chimney draft problems and recommend solutions. Get your chimney inspected and your draft corrected now so your home is ready for winter temperatures. Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is Spartanburg and Greenville, SC’s local source for chimney and fireplace questions.