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Smoke in my house after lighting a fire

Smoke Alert! Your Chimney isn’t Drafting Properly

A Few Reasons Why from Our Founder, Joe

Oh no! You’ve lit your fire and you’re now noticing smoke inside your home. Unfortunately, this means that your chimney is not drafting properly. Listen to our founder, Joe, talk you through those few key reasons why this might be occurring.

Here’s a quick recap for your reference:

  1. The temperature outside is not cold enough. You should not light a fire in a masonry fireplace or wood-burning insert until the temperature outside drops to the 40s or lower. To have an optimal draft, you need a colder temperature outside – the colder the air, the greater the draft in your home.

We know it’s nice to have a fire in the winter season, but most of our customers who have drafting issues call us in October and November, when it is not quite chilly enough outside. So, remember, if it is still in the 50s or 60s, it is better to have your fire outside in your firepit.

  1. Rainy weather and humidity. Humidity makes the air denser with water particles and this pushes down your chimney. If you do not have enough heat energy in your fireplace to push up and work past it, the smoke will inevitably come into your room.
  2. Wind: Again, the weather may be the source of the trouble in this case. Make sure it’s not too breezy outside, as the wind can push down your chimney as well.

Our Tips for an Effective and Safe Fire

Here are a few additional tips, if you’re having trouble getting your fire started:

  • When you start the fire, take a log, and split it into 3 or 4 pieces. It is always easier to ignite wood that is smaller.
  • Create a lot of energy with dry kindling or good fire starters. You can even utilize a handheld blowtorch. Don’t be intimidated by the name; they cost around $20 and have a clicker, just like a lighter. We love to use them, as they create a lot of energy without a lot of smoke!
  • Buy wood a full year in advance. Yes, a year. A lot of issues come from having damp wood. Now, wood needs to be split, cut, and covered for a minimum of 12 months before you can burn it. You need a moisture content of approximately 25% or below, and while you can use a moisture meter to figure that out, the tool is quite expensive. In general, if you purchase locally, it’s been stacked and split recently and likely not covered properly. In turn, it’ll be harder to light.
  • Again, we recommend a fire starter, dry kindling, or a handheld blowtorch. We do not encourage the use of newspaper, as it burns rapidly and creates so much smoke. The ink can also release toxic fumes as it is burning.

Schedule an Appointment

If you take these considerations into account, and you’re still having trouble with your draft or getting your fire started, please give us a call and schedule an appointment. We will be able to determine if there is another factor causing the issues.

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