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Help! My Fireplace is Smoky!

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You Don’t Have To Deal With A Smoky Fireplace

Ever hear that saying, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire”? While that has some truth, the converse isn’t always so accurate — particularly when we’re dealing with a properly functioning chimney system.

If your chimney is drawing well and has sufficient draft, you really won’t see or smell much (if any) smoke. A smoky odor, or billowing smoke, usually indicates that there’s a problem. It might be a simple thing that you’re doing and can correct, or it might be an issue that makes professional repair necessary — from a stuck damper to an improperly sized flue. If your smoke problem is more likely the result of damage or poor design, Guaranteed Chimney Service certified sweeps can figure out what the issue is, and fix it. But before we come out to inspect your chimney system, let’s talk about some best practices you can stick to, and some problem practices you can avoid, in order to help keep the smoke out of your living space.

Once you confirm your damper is open, you likely will need to have your chimney inspected to make sure there are no more serious reasons why smoke is pouring into your home.

Once you confirm your damper is open, you likely will need to have your chimney inspected to make sure there are no more serious reasons why smoke is pouring into your home.

Be Diligent About Your Fuel Choices

Here’s the thing: While it’s tempting to use whatever free wood (or other flammable materials) might be around, there’s only one thing that should be going into your wood-burning fireplace. And that’s seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood.

Smoke is a big reason why. Green wood, or wood that still has a significant moisture content, will produce far more smoke when burned. That’s annoying and frustrating, but it also causes longer-term issues. That excess smoke leads to higher creosote levels, which makes your chimney much less safe. It can also contribute to deposits of Stage Three or glazed creosote, which is both exceptionally combustible and incredibly difficult to remove.

If you source your own wood, just be sure to keep it covered (but let air circulate) and leave it to dry for six months to a year. Treated wood and other materials (like plastics) can give off smoke thick with toxic fumes when burned, too. So, best practice: seasoned cordwood, always.

Don’t Shoot For A Smoldering Fire

A small, hot fire is best for your fireplace, long-term and short-term. So when you’re starting your fire, open the damper wide to set the stage for a good hot fire and sufficient draft. Leaving a fire to smolder almost invariably leads to more smoke and more creosote.

Don’t Ignore Regular Maintenance

Often enough, smoke issues are simply the result of a dirty or obstructed chimney. There’s the debris that can fall into an uncapped flue, and there are nests from birds and mammals that decide to make a home in there. Then there’s the creosote that builds up with use, layering onto the flue walls. Without regular cleaning, creosote alone can constrict the flue and create considerable smoke issues.

If these guidelines don’t seem to fit with your issue, don’t worry, Guaranteed Chimney Services can help. Give us a call, and we’ll help turn your smoky fireplace back into a beautiful and enjoyable source of warmth and togetherness.