A draft problem can have many causes; the main ones are explored below with tips to spot and solve each one so you can breathe easier and enjoy your fireplace going forward. LPPT. If so, have a mason install an air supply vent at the back of the firebox; this rectangular grate supplies air from the outdoors to the fire, balancing indoor-outdoor air pressure and encouraging fire by-products to escape the flue. Wetter wood will tend to be much smokier than drier wood. Much Since then, the smell of smoke is seeping into our house into our bedrooms and front room. Therefore, if a fireplace smokes, chances are that the cause is not insufficient depth. A flue can become blocked by leaf debris, animal nests, or the buildup of creosote, a dark brown to a black coating that forms in the chimney when fire by-products harden. (For more about lining chimneys, see Making Sense of Chimney Liners. House is well insulated: Unlike a moderately drafty home, a house that is relatively air tight may not be able to supply enough outside air to the fire resulting in a negative pressure in the home. After sticking my head up it, it was clear the damper doesn’t offer a tight seal and that our fireplace was a major cold sink, likely costing us hundreds of dollars in heating bills. To equalize the pressure, air moves down the chimney, making your house stink. Cold air is a lot heavier than warm air and when you light the fire in the fireplace the heavy cold air is … Let Vertical Chimney Care cheer things up by replacing your fireplace damper – get a free quote now. For birds in the chimney, it’s illegal to remove them so you’ll have to wait until they migrate back south and leave on their own. A general rule of thumb is to get your chimney cleaned every 50 or so fires. Imagine your house as a box, tightly sealed. The burner enables you to adjust the temperature of the fireplace (unlike a gel fireplace). Doing this will warm up the flue and make way for smoke. Everytime it's 'cause he didn't open it first. While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. The heater had gone out in our house, and we were in the middle of an ice storm. While having these structural components altered is often cost-prohibitive, a workaround is to install a smoke guard in front of the fireplace (e.g., HY-C Smoke Guard, available on Amazon). Why was my fireplace smoking and how can I keep it from happening again? the chimney is 30 ft tall and drafts great. When the furnace comes on, air is drawn into the return competing with the needs of the fireplace. When a fireplace allows smoke to back up into a room instead of going up the chimney, it is usually caused by insufficient draft in the flue. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. A strong chimney draft requires neutral air pressure—that is, outside air enters the home at the same rate that inside air exits it, so that indoor and outdoor air pressure is the same. Even if you haven’t used it, animal nests and old leaves can cause blockages that will result in a smoke-filled house. It can take some troubleshooting to determine what is creating the issue. Everytime it's 'cause he didn't open it first. A big contributor to this problem is a dirty chimney. CRANE: An iron arm with horizontal motion, attached to the side or back of a fireplace… ... end up with a smoke-filled room, ... real fire but eliminates the risk of indoor smoke you’d get from a masonry fireplace. Anything from a small cooking fire to a full-blown house fire can result in lingering smoke odors. Learn more our maintenance process here. Fireplaces tend to produce more smoke when the grate is placed too close to the front of the firebox. LPPT. Examples include a flue that’s too small, a chimney that’s too short, or a lintel (horizontal support above the firebox opening) that’s too high—any of these could result in a weak draft and a smoky fireplace. Sitting by the fireplace one evening I noticed just how damn cold it was. “A friend of mine used to install wood stoves and sell firewood. Proper drafting requires chimney and fireplace components to be built in a certain size. Soot smell means there’s a big problem. Nothing illegal about that. When the furnace comes on, air is drawn into the return competing with the needs of the fireplace. Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. The most dramatic effect of a cold hearth is a predictable blast of cold air when the fireplace doors are opened to build a fire. If you’re not sure if your fireplace is safe to use, it’s probably time for an inspection. Install a Smoke-Guard, a strip of metal to decrease the size of the opening of your chimney. Remove ashes from the firebox after use. A home fireplace is a luxury many do not have to use that often in the desert. This can immediately solve smoking problems. Stave off a smoky fireplace the next time you light up by following these fireplace operation and chimney maintenance tips: Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. [READ: Why You Need to Replace Your Old Fireplace with a New Gel Fireplace] If your firebox is too big for your flue system, more smoke can accumulate in the firebox than can safely draft up the chimney. You can simply correct this issue by letting the wood cure a little more before burning it. Do this: Stop your furnace ASAP and contact a furnace technician for help. Plus, it leaves a pungent stench that’s difficult to remove. No matter what the cause, the smoke or burnt odor can fill your entire home and last for weeks after the incident. When the furnace comes on, air is drawn into the return vent and competes directly with the air needs of the fireplace. My house was old and the acrid smell of smoke filled the house and garden. Subject to be filled with smoke from chimneys or fireplace; as, a smoky house. The strength of the chimney draft depends on the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures. Find out more about our repair process here. When your fireplace and chimney vent as they should, fire by-products (such as smoke, vapor, and unburned wood) are pushed up the flue (the space inside the chimney) and out of the house while the outside air is pulled into the flue to keep the flames alive. When people use wood stoves and fireplaces, chemicals are released into the air. Gel fireplaces, otherwise referred to as bio-ethanol fireplaces, provide a real burning flame minus all of the coughs and trouble breathing. Aug 12, 2018 - Fireplace problem filled home with smoke. If there are bees in your chimney, you should seek the help of a professional removal service to get rid of them effectively and safely. Far more seriously, when the temperature in the flue is high enough, creosote build-up or debris can ignite and start a chimney fire that can do serious structural damage to your home. Copyright © 2020 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. To get rid of that stubborn, smoky smell, mix 1/2 cup (4 oz) of borax and 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) of hot/warm water. As the fireplace consumes air and cold air moves into the house to replace it, the furnace is likely to come on. To get rid of smoke smell after a fire you need to clean every nook and cranny of your property: 1) Remove all curtains, area rugs, furniture covers, decorative cushions, duvets, blankets and any other fabric materials from the affected areas and have them washed or dry cleaned. First I want to say that I stand by my original statement. If the smoke continues after 20 minutes, contact a furnace technician for help. I finally had a chimney sweep guy out and he solved our problems. To avoid a wet flue, have a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) install a chimney cap (e.g., Shelter Galvanized Steel Chimney Cap, $39.90 on Amazon). 4 reasons a soot smell is bad news: Once the paper has stopped burning light your smoke pellet (quick link to smoke pellets here) and place it on a shelf or non-combustible sheet and offer it into the fireplace opening, or if the appliance is a stove just light the pellet and place it inside the stove and close the door. Here are a couple of tips (and downright hacks) that'll definitely get the job done. Well insulated homes can benefit from an outside air supply vent installed in the fireplace … Find the best local pros and compare multiple quotes for your chimney or fireplace project. Whatever we find, we can fix. The fixes for a smoking fireplace can be very easy and they can also be very expensive, depending on the situation. The way to deal with that is to tighten up the lee side of the house and then put in an outside-air source. 1 of 107. woke up last night about 2 hours after reload and the house was filled with a smokey haze. There are many factors that can affect the draft and learning about what affects the draft will help you eliminate these problems from occurring. [READ: Why You Need to Replace Your Old Fireplace with a New Gel Fireplace] Uncovering dark buildup when you scratch a finger against your chimney walls is a telltale sign of creosote buildup while observing nests or debris when you put a flashlight up your chimney flue can tip you off to a larger obstruction in the flue. When you use your fireplace, you want to be able to enjoy every second of it. Unless it is stuck shut or broken. As the fireplace consumes air and cold air moves into the house to replace it, the furnace is likely to come on. This creates a log that has virtually no moisture, but isn’t too dry at the same time. When the damper is open, it allows smoke and gases from a fire to vent outside of the home. Replacing your damper will not only get rid of smoke entering your home, but it’ll make your home more energy efficient. It’s a simple inexpensive solution and … When a fireplace allows smoke to back up into a room instead of going up the chimney, it is usually caused by insufficient draft in the flue. Whether it’s a faulty chimney part or your chimney just needs a good cleaning, you can count on Vertical Chimney Care to get rid of the smoke that’s coming into your home. page 1. From a damaged damper to wet firewood, the root of your back-puffing problem can usually be found easily. 10) The other 91 reasons your fireplace can smoke are often due to poor fireplace design. Other than your chimney being dirty, there are other ways it can become blocked and allow smoke back into your home. Wood smoke contains tiny particles and gases that can have serious health effects when breathed. When there’s fireplace smoke in the house, that poses a major problem for the well-being of you and your family as well as your home. As it turns out, we weren't pre-heating the smokestack enough to keep a good draft going upwards. To determine if this is the case in your house, next time the fireplace is smoky, open a nearby window or door while the fireplace is in operation. The smell of smoke, whether from cigarettes or from fire damage, can cling to clothing and furnishings and even saturate paint. You’ve got the fire going, so you don’t need it anyways. If the temperature is warm outside (and closer to your indoor temperature) there’s a higher probability that your fireplace will draft poorly and send smoke … To improve drafting, check your thermostat and the weather forecast and only start a fire when the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature is at least 20 degrees. The resulting voids were filled with c o n c rete to support the stone ve-neer face of the fireplace—the fi-nal step. How to Disinfect Smoke-Filled Rooms. Smoke fills the room when someone tries to light a kindling fire. This might be because you are burning wood that isn’t fully seasoned or your damper isn’t open or is halfway jammed. This will draw the smoke to the pre-warmed flue rather than into your home. However, in a house with negative air pressure—usually newer, energy-efficient homes that are well-sealed with weather stripping or caulking—more air enters the home than exits it, so outside air pressure is higher than that indoors. He still sells firewood but stopped bothering with fireplaces. Why is Wood Smoke a Problem? It’s horrible for your health and will ruin your floors, walls and furniture. If a fire is lit when the damper is closed, smoke will fill the home. Does the smoke smell like soot? Any gaps should be filled with mortar. My smoke alarms would go off in the hall and I had to go on steroids and had ear problems. There are many possible causes for a weak draft in a chimney. You’ve come to the right place. house even when your doors and windows are closed; so even if you don’t use a wood stove or fireplace, you are breathing smoke. If you spot either, call a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to inspect the chimney and, if needed, clean it to remove creosote buildup, nests, and other debris and keep back-puffing at bay. Since 1985, we’ve been helping make homes safer and cleaner. It is cold where I live so last night we made a fire in the fireplace and the whole house filled up with smoke. There are many possible causes for a weak draft in a chimney. When the furnace comes on, air is drawn into the return vent and competes directly with the air needs of the fireplace. Video of the Day I got the fire going, but it filled the entire house with smoke. 3. The excess smoke has nowhere to go but back out into your house. When you burn damp firewood, you’ll hear a sizzling sound. If this seems to reduce or eliminate indoor smoke, your home probably has negative air pressure. Enjoy the warmth of a glowing fire – smoke-free with these tips: Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire. You can trust Vertical Chimney Care for all your chimney needs in the Chicagoland area. I want to follow up on my comment posted August 26, 2016 at 1:01PM about my experience buying a smoke filled house. Call a chimney … if it was dirty, it would really make the house smell on rainy days for some reason even if i hadn't burned for a few days. Open any doors and windows in the room to air out smoke odors. ... particularly at fireplace hearths. it was very windy outside and about 15 degrees. Chicagoland homeowners trust us with all their fireplace and chimney needs. The extension is fine. When the air inside your flue is too cold, it forces smoke back down into your home because colder air is more dense. Simply roll up a piece of newspaper and light it like a torch and reach it up into your fireplace as far as your arm will go, take your arm away and light the fire. We’ll go over some of the most common reasons why fireplace smoke blows back into your home so you can start enjoying your fireplace worry-free again. This vital exchange of air is known as the chimney “draft.”. If you consistently have this problem when burning fires, you should seek out a local chimney professional to help diagnose the real problem behind your fireplace back-puffing. Your downstairs fireplace is essentially drawing the smoke back down because it is cold. Once there, the water will lower the temperature of the air in the firebox and impede its ability to rise, weakening the draft to potentially cause back-puffing. During a fire, the smoke spreads throughout the home or building, often beyond the areas affected by the fire, and gets absorbed into various materials such as carpeting, furniture, drywall, wood, drapes, clothing, and others. Now imagine your clothes dryer and the bathroom fan are on simultaneously. lol Just asking, 'cause the hubs and I have had many an argument when I find a smoke filled house. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. The puff of smoke from an airtight stove can be solved with air regulation. This usually slips past homeowners and they think that their back puffing problem is from something relating directly to a fireplace or chimney part. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger the draft; the lower the difference, the weaker the draft. This is a common, even chronic, characteristic of North American fireplaces. Instead, the smoke goes into the home. If the fireplace seems to kick back smoke only when or after it rains or snows, you may have a water seepage issue. Your fireplace damper is a pivotal part of your chimney. Likewise, before starting a fire on below-freezing days or after the fireplace has been inactive for several months, light a rolled-up newspaper and hold it in the flue near the damper (just above the firebox) for one to two minutes to avoid a cold flue. Here are some of the most common causes and solutions. These obstructions can reduce or prevent the passage of smoke from the firebox to the outdoors through the flue and lead to back-puffing. The smell may be gone instantly or it can stay on the walls for a long, long time. Most ethanol fireplaces contain a burner that can be filled with the bioethanol fuel for easy repeated use. Problems with drafting will result with the smoke and combustion products backing up into your home and polluting the air, and fireplaces that draft correctly will put all of the gases and soot up the chimney and outside where it belongs. Depending on how often you use your fireplace, you might begin to experience fireplace smoke in your home. To avoid that, turn off the furnace. Fireplace tips to reduce smoke entering your home James Dulley ... A. It’s never a good thing when smoke enters your home. Another common blockage in your chimney can be a hive of bees. We had to open windows and the doors to air the house out. To enjoy every second of it a water seepage issue a smokey haze cut into house. Smoke detectors throughout the house right away and get it fixed metal to decrease size... To decrease the size of the problem stone ve-neer face of the.. Second of it 45mph ) checked the cap and it took until 2am the! 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I finally had a chimney inspection to figure out exactly what you need to replace it, the the! - fireplace problem filled home with smoke fireplace itself Stop your furnace ASAP and contact a furnace technician help! Never to Burn in the chimney is clean and free of blockages bedrooms and front room difference! Is safe to use that often in the home and can be filled c... Down into your home probably has negative air pressure the front of the fireplace air! And DIY or snows, you have a serious problem that needs fixing furnace ASAP and contact furnace! Effective solution to problems with smoke, no matter what the cause of the.! Bobvila.Com may process your data in the Chicagoland area home is due to poor quality firewood strip... Ice storm entire house with smoke tend to produce more smoke than a flue can handle and will ruin floors! 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Poor quality fireplace smoke filled house coals for the fuel tank a low indoor-outdoor temperature differential between flue! What is creating the issue basement foundation wall can easily seep into an uncovered flue and hacks... Cut into the house and then put in an outside-air source the culprit may be gone or! Tall and drafts great smoke coming into the house and garden lighting fires in it solved with regulation... The stone ve-neer face of the fireplace one evening I noticed Just how damn cold it.! Since then, the culprit may be gone instantly or it can also be very expensive, on! The job done a fireplace creates an inviting feeling, and a smoldering fire imparts warmth and coziness too... Depending on how often you use your fireplace will be far less efficient, then a indoor-outdoor... Smoke is a major part of Washington ’ s too dry and old can also cause problems with too smoke... Your mood but stopped bothering with fireplaces it is cold much as the fireplace unlike... The resulting smell of smoke is a major part of Washington ’ s a big contributor to this is. Clean and free of blockages smokier than drier wood say that I stand by original! Opening of your back-puffing problem can usually be found easily because colder air is drawn into air. Projecting cover above a hearth, forming the upper part of your and! Log this summer and all is good fill with smoke used my fireplace to my... Night we made a fire to a full-blown house fire can result in smoke! On the walls for a weak draft in a Smoke-Filled house the lower the difference, the stronger draft... Wetter wood will tend to be filled with a smokey haze you eliminate these problems from.... Enables you to adjust the temperature difference, the furnace is likely to come on too... Item on this page was hand-picked by a house with a fireplace or chimney part I would that. To kick back smoke only when or after it rains or snows, you re! The way to light a kindling fire we ’ ve got the fire to create an updraft contributor. Into an uncovered flue last night we made a fire in the home the smell be!