Why Does My Fireplace Smoke?

top-sealing chimney dampers

The Problem: Is my damper opening all the way?

The Solution: If your damper is not opened all the way and will not open all the way call a chimney professional and have it replaced/repaired. You may also consider removing your inefficient throat damper and replacing it with a much more efficient top sealing damper cap. It will pay for itself in no time.

Our Recommendation: Top Sealing Damper Cap

creosote remover

The Problem: When was the last time I had the chimney cleaned and inspected?

The Solution: You should clean your chimney in between every season. This will keep hazardous creosote from building up in your flue and also help your fireplace draft better. It will reduce smells in the summer time and eliminate the potential for dangerous chimney fires. See How to Clean a Chimney for help. We also offer chimney cleaning supplies.

Our Recommendation: Chimney Cleaning

flue stretcher

The Problem: Have I added any structures that may be obstructing the draft of my chimney (home additions, garages/outbuildings with high roofs, etc.)?

The Solution: If you have added additions to your home or built a new garage, pole barn, or other outbuilding with a high roof it may be causing the problem. Usually this can be fixed by adding length to your flue. A flue stretcher may be all you need. If this does not work an Exhausto Fan may be a better choice.

Our Recommendation: Flue Stretcher

exhausto fan

The Problem: I've tried EVERYTHING and my fireplace/wood stove still smokes.

The Solution: The Enervex Fan (Exhausto Fan) is an expensive option but when all else fails this will solve your problem. It mounts on the top of the chimney and will pull the smoke up the chimney.

Our Recommendation: Exhausto Fan

fresh air supply

The Problem: Have I installed new windows, siding, insulation, knocked down walls or made any other structural changes to the interior/exterior of my home?

The Solution: If you have done any major renovations to your home especially those making it better insulated (which in turn means better sealed and less "breathing") then you may have effected the pressure in your home. Consider checking into an outside air kit if you think your home is sealed better than before. If your home is more opened up then you may have too much free air, try turning on exhaust fans, closing doors to other rooms in the home, or once again consider an Exhausto Fan.

Our Recommendation: Fresh Air Supply Ventilator

downdraft chimney caps

The Problem: Does my fireplace smoke only during high winds?

The Solution: This could be due to a downdraft created by high winds. There are chimney caps designed to deflect wind turning it into more of a venturi action causing the smoke to be sucked out of the chimney but these are never a sure fix. Be careful that you don't undersize your masonry flue by adding one of these caps. See our VacuStack chimney caps for more information. If this does not work or if you cannot find one that will not reduce your flue size then the Exhausto Fan will work.

Our Recommendation: VacuStack Chimney Cap

fire starting tips

The Problem: Does my fireplace smoke only when I first start a fire?

The Solution: The most usual cause of this is cold weather but many other things like opened windows, running clothes dryers, bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans etc. can have the same effect. If this is not the problem start checking that all windows in the home are closed, fans are off, and the clothes dryer and furnace is off. If this does not work try closing doors in the home to reduce the air volume especially a basement door.

Our Recommendation: Fire Starting Tips

smoke guard

The Problem: Do small amounts of smoke leak out the top of my fireplace?

The Solution: TThis can be caused by an undersized flue/oversized fireplace. A sometimes simple solution is the addition of a smoke guard. The smoke guard reduces the size of your fireplace opening and may reduce it enough to create a proper draft.

Our Recommendation: Smoke Guard

fresh air supply

The Problem: Does my fireplace smoke sporadically with no pattern?

The Solution: Obviously these can be the most difficult ones to solve but usually have the simplest solutions. This can be caused by doors opening and closing, exhaust fans turning on and off, windows being opened (a opened window in an upstairs bedroom can cause a fireplace to smoke), clothes dryers, or anything that would effect the air pressure in your home. All of these things suck air out of your home creating a vacuum in your home making your flue act like a straw. Makeup air kits are available to force air into your home.

Our Recommendation: Make Up Air Kit

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