Trying to start a fire in the fireplace and having the smoke blow right back in is not just an inconvenience, but also a sign of potential danger. A drafty chimney can lead to unpleasant and unsafe conditions, and knowing how to stop a drafty chimney will protect your home and your family.
Your chimney works on the principle that hot air rises. Following the concept of the stack effect, when the hot air and the combustion of gases from the fire rises through the chimney, the area left vacant must be filled with cooler air. That cooler air allows the warmer air to continue its ascent through the chimney flue and outside.
If the process works as it should, none of the gases will escape back into your home. The problems occur when there is a negative air pressure in the room, and that prevents the gases from escaping through the chimney. That results in a back draft, reversing the desired flow of the gases and putting those harmful chemicals and soot into your house.
This could be caused by a few different factors. A blocked chimney flue or poor installation could be the problem, or there might be a closed damper or a dirty chimney cap. Some situations may be because unwanted animals or insects have moved into the space, or worse, there is a buildup of soot.
The firebox itself could cause the issue, as the firebox and the chimney need to have the correct issue for proper flow. That ratio shows that for every 10 square inches of firebox, there should be one square inch of chimney flue to handle the smoke and gases. The wrong ratio could lead to the draft and backup.
Regardless of the problem, when the warm air and harmful gases cannot flow up and out through the chimney, it could cause negative health effects or even a serious fire risk. A fireplace can be a great alternative for heating your home, but if not properly maintained it can lead to a dangerous situation in your home.
For more information on fireplaces and heating your home in the winter, call the professionals at Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning today at (734) 425-1415. Our staff is ready to answer all questions you may have.