Q: I need some
advice. My downstairs fireplace is practically unusable due to
smoking back into the room. I need help.
A: For starters. A few
questions to you so I may be better prepared to assist.
q: 1. Do you live on a lake
a: No, I'm near the bottom of
a hill, 2nd house up from the bottom. There are 4 houses up the
hill above me, so this hill is about 150 yards long.
conclusion: Answer does not contribute
q: 2. How "air
tight" is your house, I.E.: storm windows and doors, extra
a: House has storm windows
and doors, and we had attic insulation added about 5 years ago.
conclusion: Answer suggests house need
outside air source for fireplace.
q: 3. Do you have automatic
attic ventilation, I.E.: manual wind turbines, thermostat electric
a: Yes, we have two manual
turbines mounted on the roof for attic vents.
conclusion: Answer contributes to
negative pressure problem.
q: 4. Was the difference in
inside and outside temperatures at least 25 degrees F.?
a: On this particular day,
no. The temp difference was maybe 15 degrees F., but it was damp,
I.E., humid outside.
need a 25 degree F. difference for good draft.
q: 5. Do you have an outside
air source for the fireplace?
conclusion: An outside air kit will be
required for your fireplace to solve your problem.
q: 6. Does opening a window in
the same room help the smoking?
a: Yes, it seems to, we have
done that in the past. I've been surprised at the draw through
the crack in the window.
conclusion: Verifies outside air kit
q: 7. Is the chimney two feet
above any point within ten feet of it?
a: Yes, approximately three
feet above the pitch of the roof.
does not contribute to problem.
q: 8. Is the square inches of
the fireplace opening less than ten times the flue outlet?
a: I haven't measured the flue
outlet on the roof yet, but I doubt it. The fireplace opening is
28" H X 30"W X 19" Deep. I believe the tile at the
top of the flue is approx. 12"X8".
conclusion: Flue may not be large enough for
fireplace. 28 x 30 = 840. The inside size of a 8 x 12 is 7 x 11. 7 x 11 = 77. 77
x 10 = 770 (the largest fireplace should be). If opening lowered to 25.5 it
should work. 25.5 x 30 = 765.
q: 9. Is your damper opening
all the way?
a: Yes, I always verify that
with a flashlight before I start a fire.
does not contribute to problem.
q: 10. Does it smoke when the
wind blows in one direction only?
a: I'm sorry, this I don't
know. I need to become more sophisticated in my observations when
it happens. I need to devise a wind sock & watch it.
conclusion: Based on other answers,
line. Add outside air to the fireplace and lower opening
Q: I have a smoking
fireplace. Can I install glass doors to solve the problem?
A: No, you
must correct your fireplace problem, then install glass doors if
you so desire.
Q: We have a
fireplace on the ground level and one below ground level. My
problem is that most of the time some smoke comes in though
fireplace below ground when I use the one on the ground floor.
A: You have a house that is
well insulated (i.e.: extra insulation, storm windows &
doors, etc.). Your fireplace uses room air to carry the smoke
out. It uses approximately 300 CFM (cubic feet per minute). This
air has to come from somewhere. The point of least resistance at
this time is the other fireplace. Open a window in the room,
where the fire is, about 1-2 inches. This should solve your
problem. If opening a window is not practical, then you must add
an outside air kit on the fireplace. The only other explanation
is a hole between the two fireplaces, this is not normally the
case and it a lot harder to fix.
Q: My fireplace
smokes. There is no blockage. The chimney is higher than the
ridge line on my roof. I called my builder; he said open a window
a smidgen. I did, it worked, but if I build a fire for warmth and
have to open a window for suction, what's the point?
house is starved for air. Your solution is to get outside air to
Q: I have the same
question but, I have an older house which is not air tight, and
opening a window does not help the smoke situation. Any ideas?
A: I don't feel you have the
same problem even though you have the same symptoms. A smoking
fireplace. The flue should be 1/10 the fireplace opening (firebox
width times firebox height divided by 10 should be a less than
the size of the flue liner width times height). If you are out of
spec. Lower the opening of the firebox. This is how to test. Cut
tin foil 5" wider than the firebox opening. Fold aluminum
foil lengthwise in 1" increments. Tape it over the firebox
opening. Build a fire. Continue to unroll the aluminum foil an
inch at a time until the smoking problem its cured. If less than 8", I have a spring loaded product called a smoke guard that
will solve your problem. It is available is 4", 6", and 8"
heights and fits fireplaces from 28" to 48" wide. The fireplace exhaust should not be near any trees. Trim as
necessary. The height of the chimney should be 2 feet above any
point within 10 feet. This means if you are within 10 feet of the
ridge, you must be 2 feet above it. The firebox could be built
wrong. Consult a local chimney sweep.
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January 10, 2016
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