What is Causing the Drafts From My Fireplace?

Have you ever waited with joyous anticipation for the chance to sit by your fireplace on a cold day only to discover that your fireplace is drafty? There’s a reason smoky fireplace smell isn’t a much-requested air freshener scent. If the draft from your fireplace persists, you will need to figure out exactly what is causing this uncomfortable situation. A drafty fireplace is more than an inconvenience; it could be a life-threatening hazard. The following are some of the most common causes of a drafty fireplace or wood stove.
Chimney Size
If you are using a wood-burning appliance that utilizes a masonry chimney, it is important to ensure that the flue is the right size for the appliance. Whether you have just installed a brand new fireplace with accompanying chimney or are upgrading your open fireplace to something more efficient, having the proper venting size is critical. Manufacturers provide the needed information. If the chimney is too small, there is a lack of space to adequately remove the smoke. If the chimney is too large, the result could be a drafty appliance because the oversized flue creates a situation in which gases can cool.
The height of a chimney can cause backdrafts, which is one of the reasons it can be important to consult the chimney height guideline available from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The guide provides absolute minimums, as given by experts. There are numerous ways in which a chimney can affect the draft.
Flue Temperature
If your chimney is located on an outside wall, there is a greater chance that you could experience draft problems because of a cold column of air in the chimney that is pushing down against your attempt to build a fire. In this situation, what is needed is for some warmth to dispel the frigid air in the flue. A common practice is to create a newspaper torch, light it, and hold it up through the damper opening once or twice. Afterward, you’ll find that your fire can be started much more easily and the combustion gases should go up the chimney.
Wind also commonly causes smoky fireplaces. If your chimney is built on an ascending roofline, back-puffing can easily occur. Rising winds can also be deflected into the chimney by a chimney cap.
It’s essential that your fireplace and its accompanying flue is well-maintained, partly to ensure that there is no blockage. Numerous issues can cause blockage, including birds’ nests, excessive creosote in the flue, obstructed chimney cap screens, and bits of broken masonry.
Negative Air Pressure
Modern homes are often so tightly sealed that there isn’t enough air flow in the house to accommodate a fire. An inadequate flow of air can also be caused by exhaust fans. Because air is a requirement of a fire, it becomes necessary to deal with negative air pressure in order to use your fireplace or wood stove.
If you are using an appliance with a stovepipe, the connector joints could be causing air leakage that interrupts the draft.
You should be able to expect your fireplace & chimney to operate properly, removing combustion gases from your home. If you need more assistance with your fireplace or would like to speak to our fireplace experts about fireplace updates & upgrades, contact us today!