The most likely scenario is that there is some issue causing some backdraft, but this isn’t a situation you want to take any chances with. Get the fire department there as soon as possible to ensure your system is free of flames and that no fire is spreading throughout your home.
If it has been established that poor airflow is the issue you need to worry about (and not flames in your woodwork), then it’s time to shift your concerns elsewhere. There are a number of reasons why smoke may be billowing into your living space, but we’ve laid out some of the more common reasons below.
A Closed (or Partially Closed) Damper
Your damper plays an important role in your system’s overall functionality. That is… if it’s opened! An open damper allows smoke and other fumes to effectively escape out of your home and into the outside air, but if it’s sealed tight, then you’ll quickly be face-to-face with a whole lot of smoke.
Before checking for bigger issues, make sure you look to see if you opened your damper before lighting a fire. It’s a common mistake and one most fireplace owners make in their lifetime. If it’s still shut or didn’t manage to open all the way, then all you have to do is open it wide, and you’re all set – easy fix!
Another issue homeowners often face is a stuck or rusted throat damper. If this is the situation you’ve found yourself in, let us know! We can fix things up in no time or, if you’re interested, we’d be happy to set you up with a top-down damper.
Top-down dampers seal tightly with a rubber gasket, so they’re easily opened when needed while also providing that air-tight seal every homeowner is hoping for. Not to mention, they work alongside your chimney cap to keep out rain, snow, animals, and other debris. Sound like the right fit for you? Ask our experts about your options.
House Pressurization Issues
If the damper isn’t the culprit, then it’s likely that you have pressurization issues throughout your home. This means your negative air pressure isn’t appropriately balanced out, so the air in your home isn’t leaving as quickly as your make-up air wants to enter. In other words, your neutral pressure plane is completely out of whack.
What is the neutral pressure plane and how does it work exactly? Well, in every home there’s a point where air pressure starts to increase. This means it wants to rise up and eventually escape out of the home. Yet, if there’s nowhere for it to exit, then no more air can come in to create a draft, and you’re left with smoke in your living space and nowhere for it to go.
What causes a home’s pressure to do this? Insulation! A lot of newer homes are built to be very tightly insulated, and while this can be great when it comes to keeping temperatures right where you want them, it doesn’t fair so well for those with a wood-burning, masonry fireplace.
What Can I Do to Prevent Smoke Back-Up?
If you’ve moved into a recently-built home or if you’ve renovated an older home to make it tighter, then it may be time to consider upgrading to a gas appliance, as the natural draft models are bound to give you trouble every burning season.
It is also essential that you schedule an inspection to ensure the root of the problem is found and addressed. We’ve mentioned some likely scenarios as to why you’re experiencing issues, but we won’t know anything for sure until we can get a thorough look inside of your flue. Our qualified and experienced team is happy to help, so reach out today about setting up an appointment!
Need a quick fix? Crack a window or open a door to the outside. This offers a temporary solution for depressurizing the room, and it will keep smoke out of your living space until you can get your fire really burning.
Once it’s going strong, you can shut things up again, but remember that once the flames are out, your downdrafts will come right on back! Again, this is why getting that inspection booked is so vital.
We’re the Top Choice in Charlotte & its Surrounding Areas
If you live in Charlotte, Monroe, Concord, Davidson, Rock Hill, or anywhere else nearby, don’t rely on anyone else for your chimney and fireplace needs. We’ve been trusted throughout these communities for over 30 years, and there’s a reason folks turn to us time and time again.
Let us prove ourselves to you! Count on our crew to set you up right with all of the repair work and preventative care you need to have the peace of mind you’re seeking this holiday season.