Priming Your Draft to Reduce Smoke
Do you ever see smoke in your room within approximately 5 minutes of lighting a fire? If so, there is only one reason that this would occur: your fire was not completely ignited.
This means that there was either not enough energy or oxygen to get it established. You may have heard our team mention the combustion triangle, in which equal parts of oxygen, fuel, and heat are needed to create a viable fire. When you see too much smoke, you’ll know that combustion – the process of the fuel reacting with oxygen to release heat – in this case was slow. Instead of quickly creating a flame, it produced smoke instead.
Additional Reasons for Excessive Smoke
- You may have a downdraft inside of your chimney. This sometimes happens due to rainy, humid, and windy days. The airflow is pushed back into your home.
- Consider the temperature outside. You really should not utilize your fireplace until it drops to the 40s or below outside. You need cold air outside to juxtapose the warmer air inside your home for a proper draft.
- Unfortunately, this could be a sign of improper chimney construction, in which case you would need repairs to address the draft of the flue and any troublesome cracks or leaks.
The Importance of Priming Your Draft
Priming your draft basically means creating energy inside your chimney, so that you can reverse the air from going down your chimney to going upwards and outwards. Priming reverses your downdraft so that air correctly flows out of your home.
In order to do so, you will need to create a heat source for 20-30 seconds. Here are two effective options we recommend:
- Hold a handheld blowtorch toward the damper area before you start your fire.
- Use a Firestarter. Hold the end of it, utilizing safety gloves if you prefer, toward the damper. This will create heat off the flue without much smoke.
When you apply a heat source to the damper, you will be able to physically feel the airflow change. This, as well as the reduced amounts of smoke, is how you’ll know you’re on the right track.
The next time you notice smoke in excess, consider the impact of the weather and try priming your draft. We guarantee you’ll notice a difference.
Cleaned our chimney and on a separate occasion was able to repair cracked stucco, power wash, and paint the chimney, which looks like new. When looking for a team I was surprised to see so many good reviews, but after using them I understand why. Great work, super great people. Would recommend and would use again!Janelle B.
I reached out to Joe to take a look at the fireplace/chimney in the 100 year old house we recently purchased. He took his time evaluating everything, taking pictures, and overall being really thorough. He gave me a helpful view into some of the damage the previous owners had done as well as a range of solutions (from free steps I could take to purchasing and installing a new insert). We spent a few weeks...Emma L.
Overall experience was excellent with Chimney Scientists. From scheduling the appointment to the actual job, everything went great. Ben and Lindsay were very knowledgeable, thorough, patient and answered all of my questions. We had them inspect our gas fireplace and chimney which hadn’t been used in at least 3 years. It’s been working great since. Would definitely hire them again and would request Ben and Lindsay.Phil B.