Smoking & Draft Troubleshooting

A fireplace or stove can bring a great deal of enjoyment and charm to your home – but only if everything is working properly. When problems arise, the fireside experience can be anything but enjoyable. But if your chimney system is giving you trouble, you don’t have to go it alone.

The team of Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified professionals here at Chesapeake Chimney & Co. has decades of troubleshooting experience and an intimate knowledge of all things chimney and hearth related. We maintain memberships with both the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and the Mid-Atlantic Chimney Association and there’s no issue we aren’t familiar with or capable of helping you with. We’ve helped homeowners throughout Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, southern Anne Arundel, and southern Prince George’s counties resolve a variety of chimney woes, including smoke problems and draft issues. If you’re noticing issues with your chimney system, let the experts at Chesapeake Chimney & Co. help!

Whether it’s a simple fix or a system flaw, we’ll pinpoint the cause and offer solutions that work. We’ll start by checking for some of the most common causes of excess smoke or poor draft:

  • Closed dampers. The damper can be located either in the throat of the chimney system or at the top of the flue, and it can be easy to forget to open it before starting a fire. Additionally, rusted throat dampers can get stuck, so you may think it’s open when it’s actually closed or partially closed, causing smoke to flow back into the home.
  • A lack of indoor air. Newer, more energy-efficient homes can be so well-sealed that they don’t allow enough air transfer for your chimney to properly draft. In this case, sometimes opening a window or door can help eradicate smoke problems.
  • Cold flue. It can take a while for your flue to heat up when you start a fire, and a cold flue can lead to smoke backdraft. Sometimes priming your flue by holding a lit rolled-up newspaper above the firebox can resolve this issue.
  • Dirty flue. It may be that you’re experiencing smoke and draft problems because your chimney system is dirty and lined with creosote or filled with blockages.

If none of these seem to be the culprit, we’ll check for some other possible causes:

  • Improper flue size. The chimney flue needs to be the right size in relation to the appliance it’s venting. If it’s too big or too small for the fireplace opening, it can cause poor performance, excess smoke, and draft issues.
  • Improper chimney height. For proper draft, the chimney needs to be tall enough to encourage air to flow up and out. Many draft-related problems are caused by chimneys that are simply too short.
  • Downdrafts. Sometimes wind can force smoke down into your home. If it seems that wind downdrafts are causing your smoke problems, a quality chimney cap can resolve this issue.

Whatever the reason for your chimney’s smoke and draft problems, you can count on the team at Chesapeake Chimney & Co. to help get your system back in proper working order. Call us at 410-535-0052 or click here to request an appointment to have our expert team troubleshoot your chimney system today!


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