Chimney Sweep

Help – Smoke Is Coming out of my Fireplace!

smoke from fireplace causes, Gaithersburg MDIf your fireplace is sending smoke into your home, you wouldn’t be the first. This is a common problem for folks who regularly use their fireplaces. Fortunately, it’s often an easy problem to solve.

Any time smoke is not moving properly up the chimney, you need to reverse the situation. In some cases, a professional chimney technician will be required; in many other cases, you can do what’s necessary to keep your interior air clean and healthy.

Reasons for a smoky fireplace that you can address

Wet firewood: Wood that hasn’t had time to dry out contains a lot of excess moisture that will create huge amounts of smoke when burned. This may be too much for your chimney to vent efficiently. Solve this issue by using dry (seasoned) firewood. Check logs by banging two together: damp wood makes a thud; dry wood makes a hollow sound.

Damper malfunction: If your fireplace damper is warped, overly rusted or corroded with soot and creosote, it may not be able to open fully. This is a common reason for smoke backing up into the house. Have the damper inspected then cleaned, repaired or replaced. And, of course, never forget to open the damper before starting a fire.

Not enough air flow: If your house is particularly “air-tight,” you might not be getting enough drafting air into the fireplace. Smoke needs a certain amount of air in order to follow its logical path up the flue. If this is your issue, opening a nearby window an inch or so should fix it.

Flue is full of cold air: Cold air is heavier than warm air. If there is cold air in your chimney flue, the warm air with smoke in it from the fire may not be able to move up and out. Try blowing warm air into the flue with a hair dryer, or light a rolled-up newspaper and stick it up into the flue to warm the air.

Many issues with drafting can be solved in the above ways. If none of these actions solve the problem, you may need to consult with a licensed chimney repair technician.

Drafting problems that only a trained chimney pro can solve

Improper construction of the chimney: The chimney flue is supposed to be a certain size to properly draft the fireplace it’s connected to. If your flue was not built correctly, you may experience ongoing drafting issues. A chimney inspection is the place to start, after which you’ll be able to make the necessary modifications.

Outside debris in the flue: If you operate your chimney without a chimney cap, all kinds of debris can get inside the flue and hinder drafting. Nests, falling leaves, twigs, small dead animals and other debris must be carefully removed by a professional chimney sweep to restore drafting efficiency.

chimney sweep in Washington DCExcess creosote buildup: Wood fires cause creosote to form in your chimney flue. Creosote is a flammable substance that clings to the walls of the chimney liner and can build up to the point that smoke starts backing up into your home. Certified chimney sweeps have the necessary tools and training to safely remove creosote from your chimney and reduce drafting problems while lessening the chance of a chimney fire.

If your fireplace is sending smoke into your home, try some of the suggestions here. If nothing works, call High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD. We’ll find out what’s causing the problem and get it fixed for you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment with a licensed chimney professional at (301) 519-3500.

Schedule A Chimney Sweep Before The Fall Rush

Getting your fireplace and chimney ready for another winter season involves making sure it’s clean and that the structure and components are all in good shape. For chimneys connected to wood-burning fireplaces and inserts, chimney sweeping is a necessary maintenance task that’s just as important as seeing to any minor repairs that might be needed.

Professional Chimney Cleaning in Cloverly, MDHere are four reasons to schedule chimney cleaning and maintenance before the fall rush

Things are slower in the spring and summer

Chimney sweeps tend to get busy once the cold weather hits. For some reason, that’s the time most people start thinking about what they need to do to get their chimney ready for winter. By scheduling your annual chimney cleaning visit before the weather turns, you have a much better chance of getting your technician to your home at a time that’s convenient for you.

Milder weather is better for certain chimney repairs

Chimney repair work that involves a mortar mixture will be more effective before outside temperatures get seriously cold. This work includes tuckpointing, chimney crown rebuilding, smoke chamber parging, and other select tasks.

Traffic inside your house

Chimney cleaning, damper replacement, fireplace insert installations, firebox repair, and certain other jobs require the technician to access the interior of your home. This foot traffic is less problematic during mild weather than during sloppy, snowy weather.

Safer for the technician

Finally, nice weather makes the outside jobs of repair, component installation, and inspection simpler and safer for your chimney technician.

Why your chimney should be swept once a year

No matter when you’re able to arrange for service, your chimney flue should be professionally cleaned once a year to prevent chimney fires and drafting problems.

Chimney Sweep Services in Rockville, MD CSIA-certified chimney sweeps perform two primary jobs:

Creosote removal: Excess creosote is a chimney fire waiting to happen. Creosote is highly flammable and increases in amount every time you burn wood in your fireplace.

Most fire-safety agencies and chimney-safety organizations in the United States recommend annual chimney sweeping for chimneys that vent wood-burning appliances. The majority of chimney fires are started by creosote, so a yearly visit from a trained chimney sweep is the best way to prevent one of these destructive events.

Obstruction removal: Debris such as falling leaves and twigs as well as the nests of small animals like squirrels and birds can cause drafting obstructions in chimneys. When airflow is restricted, smoke can back up into your home.

Worse than smoke, however, is the carbon monoxide it contains. This gas is invisible and odorless, but it has been shown to be poisonous and potentially fatal to humans and animals. (Note that if your chimney has no chimney cap or flue cover, installing one of these devices will keep debris out of your chimney.)

The best recipe for a safe and reliable chimney

Keeping your chimney running safely and optimally isn’t hard when you remember to schedule your chimney sweep visits, inspections, and repair work early before winter really digs in. By hiring a company that holds certifications through the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you know the work will be done by highly trained and experienced technicians who care about you and your home.

Is it time to get your chimney cleaned and inspected? High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, provides certified chimney sweep, chimney inspection, and chimney repair services that you can count on. Reach us at (301) 519-3500 with questions or to schedule an appointment.