Take Care of Smoky Fireplace Problems by Hiring Lords Chimney

You’ve been thinking about the upcoming burning season for months. There’s nothing like settling in by a cozy fire and unwinding with your favorite book. The anticipation builds as the weather breaks and you can finally get a nice fire going. But then the excitement vanishes as smoke starts to slowly spread throughout the room. Unfortunately, it looks like you have a smoky fireplace problem. Luckily, we’re the problem solvers.

If you need chimney repairs from a professional, friendly, and reliable crew, look no further than Lords Chimney. We’re a local company that has served Houston and Beaumont residents for 20 years. Call us at 281-497-4000 or schedule an appointment online, and one of our chimney technicians will get your fireplace in working shape in no time. We’re the team that you can trust.

What Causes a Smoky Fireplace?

Besides creating quite a mess and stink inside your home, a fireplace that smokes affects air quality and tells you that you have a bigger problem on your hands. Wondering why your fireplace smokes and what can be done about it? There are several possible causes for a smoking fireplace:

  • Problems with chimney draft. The draft is the flow of air that carries the smoke up and out of the chimney. If there isn’t enough draft, the smoke may not be carried out properly and it will back up into your living space.
  • Using wet or unseasoned wood. Burning wet or unseasoned wood (firewood that hasn’t dried out) can cause smoke to build in your fireplace. Wet wood has too much moisture to burn cleanly and can lead to smoldering fires that produce more smoke.
  • The chimney flue is too cold. When a fire comes into contact with a colder surface, it produces condensation that can drip back into your fireplace and this will cause smoke. Sometimes, your chimney needs to be preheated to function at its best. Try warming up the chimney using a rolled up newspaper or a small starter fire so that you can establish a proper draft.
  • There’s limited airflow. A fire needs steady oxygen to burn. If there isn’t enough air entering the fireplace, it’s only a matter of time before you have a smoky situation on your hands. Check your damper – it may be partially or completely closed which would prevent air from reaching the fire.
  • Your chimney needs to be cleaned.  It’s not uncommon for us to find that a smoky fireplace is the result of blockages caused by abandoned animal nesting, leaves, twigs, and all sorts of other debris. Your chimney needs to be cleaned regularly, even if you don’t use it very often. An annual sweeping can clear your chimney of obstructions as well as creosote and soot buildup.
  • There’s negative pressure. Modern homes with strong exhaust fans or HVAC systems can create negative pressure indoors, which can then affect chimney draft. Negative pressure will draw air down the chimney instead of allowing smoke to rise.
  • There’s a design flaw. If your fireplace opening is too large for the size of your chimney flue, it can be the cause of your smoky fireplace. A chimney that is too short or poorly designed may not allow smoke to rise effectively.
  • You have more than one fireplace. When one fireplace is positioned above another in a home, it can cause a breach or smoke-over problem in the chimney. Lots of our customers are surprised to hear that one fireplace in your house will have a direct impact on the way another fireplace in your house is functioning.

Can Fireplace Smoke Be Harmful?

Yes, but don’t be too alarmed. Under normal conditions, fireplaces are safe when they’re well-maintained and used correctly.

When you notice excessive smoke coming from your fireplace, reach out to a chimney service company as soon as possible. If you’re exposed to smoke for long periods of time, it can have an impact on your health. Homeowners with existing health conditions, like asthma, COPD, or cardiovascular issues, are especially vulnerable to smoke-related health issues.

Smoke can trigger the following: Shortness of breath, coughing, skin condition changes, headaches, noisy breathing, hoarseness, damage to the eyes, chest pain, the presence of soot in the throat or nose.

Don’t risk your health by waiting to schedule an inspection. Find out what’s going on in your chimney. Call Lords Chimney at 281-497-4000 or schedule with us online today.

How Do I Fix a Smoky Fireplace?

Though a chimney cleaning can make a world of difference, other possible solutions to a smoky fireplace are to…

  • Install a smoke guard. A smoke guard, also known as a chimney smoke protector, fits at the top of your fireplace opening and will help you keep smoke out of your home. These components work to make your hearth opening smaller, so that less smoke can enter your home. Smoke guards are available in a range of sizes to fit different sized fireplaces and come in a variety of decorative finishes, so you’re bound to find a smoke guard that’s perfect for your home.
  • Install a ventilation fan. A chimney fan will allow you to control how quickly smoke is drawn out of your chimney.
  • Install an outside air kit. A fresh air intake device will help prevent back-drafting that’s caused by negative pressure. And rather than drawing already heated air from inside your home, it will draw fresh air from outside to help fuel your fireplace.
  • Install a top-mounted damper. A top-mounted damper won’t just save you a ton on energy expenses, it will also help you regulate draft.

How Do I Prevent a Smoky Fireplace?

A smoky fireplace is usually the result of an issue that’s been simmering for a while. There are a few steps that you can take to prevent a smoky fireplace from interfering with your downtime.

  • Keep up with your chimney maintenance. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we can’t stress enough how important it is to schedule annual chimney inspections and cleanings. A dirty chimney could be what’s causing your smoky fireplace, but it can also increase the risk of a chimney fire. Be proactive with a yearly chimney checkup – it’s by far the best way to get ahead of problematic chimney and fireplace issues.
  • Make the switch to seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is wood that’s been left out to dry naturally. It burns hotter than green or wet wood, so it produces less smoke. In addition, it’ll minimize your risk of excessive creosote buildup and create more productive burns for your household.
  • Build a fire the right way. Avoid overloading the fireplace with too much wood, as this can restrict airflow. We recommend using smaller pieces of kindling on the bottom and larger logs on top.
  • Consider extending your chimney. Fireplaces with short chimneys (15 feet or less) sometimes do not create as much draft as taller chimneys. If your chimney does not extend high enough above your roofline or there are other flue systems nearby, it can cause competition for proper drafting.

What About Chimney Smoke?

We’ve covered fireplace smoke, but it’s also important to take note of the smoke that comes out of your chimney. The appearance and amount of smoke that exits your chimney could provide insight into how effectively your chimney system is working. These are a couple of things to keep an eye on:

How much smoke should come out of my chimney?

A healthy chimney system should produce little to no smoke. When a fireplace is working efficiently, most of the wood is burned and converted into heat instead of smoke.

What color should chimney smoke be?

The smoke coming out of your chimney should be almost colorless and thin. Thick, white smoke indicates that your fire is not receiving enough air. Smoke that is black, blue, or gray could be a sign there’s a problem somewhere in your chimney system.

We Make Smoky Fireplace Problems Disappear

When a smoky fireplace puts a damper on your plans to relax, Lords Chimney is just a phone call (or keyboard click) away. Whether you need a chimney cleaning or chimney damages are the source of the problem, our CSIA-certified chimney professionals can find the issue and fix it for you.

Why deal with a smoky fireplace when we can knock out the issue for you? Book an appointment on our website or get in touch with our customer service team by calling 281-497-4000. We can’t wait to get to work!


Pressure washing the exterior of your chimney is a great way to keep it looking good and may help prevent the need for other chimney repairs in the future.