Why Is My Fireplace Smoking

A smoking chimney is a common problem with fireplaces. If the fire is inside your woodstove or fireplace, the smoke should vent outside. If the fireplace in your home is smoking, there are two common reasons this is happening – you have a draft problem in your fireplace or you forgot to open the damper. Aside from these two, there are also other possible causes of smoking fireplaces.

One way of solving this problem is to know first how the smoking occurred, and what can you do to get rid of the smoke:

Damper:  The damper is one of the first things to check when the fireplace is smoking, although it is sometimes overlooked. The damper is the part of the chimney that opens and closes to allow the smoke to get out. It is found near the opening on top of the chimney. Check your damper if your fireplace is smoking to see if it is open or closed.

Animals:  Birds and other animals are known to build nests inside chimneys. Most fireplaces are used during the winter only, which makes them idle for several months. This allows birds to nest inside the chimneys. Within those months that chimneys are idle, many birds could have nests inside and the accumulated nests may go in the chimney stack and build up there. Insects such as wasps and bees may also build hives, and dead animals, like squirrels and raccoons, may be caught inside.

Creosote Buildup:  Creosote builds up because of burning fires in the woodstove or fireplace. Creosote contains water and carbon by-products that are dangerous when inhaled. Creosote forms when carbon is pushed by hot air inside the cool flue. Water will condense and will mix with carbon-based products which may cause fireplace smoke.

Prevention and Repair:  The most easy and effective solution to prevent and fix the chimney smoke is to employ a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean your entire chimney.

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