A drafty fireplace that blows smoke and soot into your home is more than just a nuisance; it can also affect the air quality in your home. With a number of potential causes of draft problems, a chimney inspection is often needed to identify the underlying cause. Resolving chimney drafting issues can help get rid of smoky odors in your home, prevent soot and ash from blowing onto your carpets and furnishings, and minimize your family’s chance of exposures to dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide.
How drafting issues affect air quality
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that indoor air pollution is most often caused by interior sources of pollution – including drafty fireplaces. These drafting issues can affect air quality in two ways: first, by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute pollutants, and second, by not venting and carrying air pollutants out of the home. These conditions are often made worse by high temperatures and humid weather, weather conditions which the Houston area is used to experiencing.
When a fireplace “drafts,” the hot air, smoke, and gasses produced by the fire are pushed up and out of the chimney, safely venting to the outside. However, blockages, air pressure changes, improperly sized chimneys, and a whole host of other reasons can prevent proper drafting from occurring. When this happens, dangerous smoke, soot, and gasses can back draft into your home.
Causes of draft problems
While draft problems are fairly common, there are a number of things that can cause them to occur. The following are a few of the many potential causes of a chimney draft problem.
- Air tight house: Keeping all the doors and windows shut keeps cold air out, but can also prevent your fireplace from drafting correctly. Often, cracking a window near the fireplace can allow fresh air in and help the fireplace vent properly.
- Keeping the damper closed: Partially or completely closing the damper while the fireplace is in use – even when a dying fire is smoldering – can cause smoke and gasses to back up into your home.
- Improperly sized flue: If you’ve installed a new insert into an existing firebox, your flue may need to be resized. A Flue that is too small can cause smoking issues as the byproducts of combustion have nowhere to go; likewise, a flue that is too large can let too much cold air into the chimney and cause unwarranted creosote buildup.
- Chimney blockages: The presence of debris, animal nests, creosote buildup, and other blockages can prevent smoke and gas from properly venting.
Drafting issues can do more than just prevent you from enjoying your fireplace – they can also affect the indoor air quality in your home. If you are experiencing an ongoing drafting issue, don’t just stop using your fireplace and hope it resolves itself; contact Lords Chimney today to learn how we can help improve ventilation problems and air quality in your home!