Owning a fireplace is great in so many ways. You can cozy up in front of it after a long day of work, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after spending a day playing in the snow, or just enjoy the supplemental heat source on cold winter days. Even during the summer, you can add charm to a room by changing up the arrangements on the mantel and arranging some potted plants or a candle arrangement around the hearth. There are so many things that make a fireplace a beautiful addition to your home. Unfortunately, sometimes fireplaces can cause some problems as well. If you have a creosote buildup, you may notice a bad smell in the room, especially in the warm, humid days of summer. There is some maintenance work involved as well. Another common occurrence in homes with fireplaces is drafting issues.
What Is Drafting?
One of the main functions of your chimney is to cause a draft. Drafting causes the byproduct of fire burning, smoke, to be carried up and out of your chimney. This is a great thing because no one wants to sit in a room filled with smoke, coughing and rubbing their itching eyes. Drafting helps you get your fire started as it supplies oxygen to the flames, helps smoke be drawn more effectively out of your home, and gives you an overall more efficient burn. Very basically, drafting is caused by the fact that hot air is less dense than cold air. The hot smoke produced by your fire is less dense than the cold air entering your chimney, so it tends to rise as the cold air sinks, providing your fire with oxygen to burn. It’s pretty clear, then, how important it is to have a proper draft in your chimney.
Common Drafting Issues
First, if the temperature outside isn’t very cold, you might have to work a bit harder to get your fire going because you aren’t getting as much of an exchange of cold air for warm. That’s why it may be hard to get a good fire going in the middle of the summer. This probably won’t be a big deal, because summer isn’t really the time you want to use your fireplace anyway. Another problem caused by improper drafting could be a smoke-filled room. You’ll want to make sure to have your dampers open wide enough to allow for the exchange of cold and warm air. If not, you may find yourself in a smoke-filled room.
If you find that you need to increase the draft in your fireplace, a simple fix may be to burn a hotter fire. Make sure that you’re using very dry wood. Hardwoods burn longer and hotter than softwoods. The hotter the air, the lighter the air, which means more pull. Another common cause of too little draft is too short of a fireplace. Did you know that there are ways to extend your chimney if this is a problem? Give the professionals at SirVent Chimney and Venting Service a call at 844-338-9223 and let us explain some options we can offer to help increase draft in your chimney.
Another thing to look at is the condition of your chimney liner. If your chimney liner has cracks or if there are chunks missing from the liner, it will have a restricting effect on the draft flow of your chimney. A properly fitted liner can also increase the draft to your fire, causing a more efficient burn which will not only give you a better fire but will also save money on your heating bills in the long run.
There are other things that could be blocking the draft in your chimney system. We’ve mentioned using dampers to control the flow of air, so if your dampers are rusted or damaged so that they don’t open or close properly, it could definitely have a negative effect on the airflow through the chimney. Another common cause of draft problems is that the fireplace is clogged, either by some type of obstruction, like a bird’s nest or dried twigs and leaves that have blown into your chimney and gotten hung up to block the chimney or by an excessive buildup of creosote. Creosote is a natural byproduct of smoke blowing through your chimney, so it’s not at all uncommon to have a buildup. However, a yearly inspection and sweeping should take care of this before it becomes too thick. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis, it may be that the creosote buildup is thicker, putting you at risk for chimney fires. This is the worst-case scenario, but an excessive amount of buildup can also cause a restricted airflow, blocking draft.
The Solution to Drafting Issues
The best solution for drafting issues is to find the cause and get rid of the problem. The best company for that job is SirVent Chimney and Venting Service. Our team of chimney technicians are trained to handle all the drafting issues your fireplace may be experiencing. If you’re having chimney problems, we are the solution to those problems. If you live in Washington D.C. or any of the surrounding communities in Maryland or Virginia, give us a call. We’ll have your chimney drafting properly in no time at all so you can enjoy a hot, crackling, smoke-free fire!