Why is Smoke Blowing Down my Chimney
Nothing can ruin a perfectly good evening like dark smoke billowing from your chimney. Dark smoke coming from your wood burning fireplace or insert can make it impossible to use without knowing the cause and fixing it immediately. There are a variety of reasons why this could be happening.
Greenwood or wood that has been freshly cut has a high-water content. When burned the heat and the water inside the wood produce smoke. Seasoned Firewood is left to dry about 12 months before being used. All of that moisture is dried out and can produce the warmth you want rather than smoke. Strangely enough firewood that is too old can also produce too much smoke. If you suspect your chimney is fine, examine your firewood and perhaps get a new batch to see if that’s the problem.
As you know, heat rises and cold air sinks. If it is very cold in your flu and then a fire is lit. The cold air will be pushed back into the house as the hot air rises. A good way to avoid this is to “prime” your chimney with a smaller burn of kindling or even newspaper before you light the logs.
It is never a good idea to light a fire without first checking your chimney for blockages. Animals love to hide and build nests in unused chimneys, summer storms can deposit leaves, tree branches and even trash in a flu. Many times when backpuffing occurs it is because there is something blocking the smoke’s exit and causing it to rush back into the house.
A damper is the part of the flue that closes to keep air in or opens to allow smoke to flow out. They are usually located at the “throat” of the flue or on top of the flue. When the damper is broken or damaged to the point where it cannot open, then smoke has no where to go except back into the home. This is a big problem and needs to be fixed immediately if the fireplace is to be used
A chimney that has not been cleaned or swept in a while can have creosote buildup. Creosote is a byproduct of burning firewood, it contains oils, chemicals and other unburnt particles that mix with condensation and stick to the inside of flu walls. Over time this can become quite thick and will block smoke from being able to exit the chimney. Besides this, it is toxic and highly flammable. Chimneys should be cleaned regularly to avoid this hazard.
These are the most common reasons smoke would back puff into a home. The only way to know for sure is to call a professional for a detailed inspection. They will be able to tell you what is causing the smoke and provide you with a solution. Please don’t hesitate to call us at Mercer. Whether you have a blockage, need cleaning or need to get that damper fixed, we can help you get it taken care of. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.