• Ron Larson

Wood Fireplace Odors and Smoke

Ever noticed a smoky odor coming from your fireplace? This phenomenon, caused by high air pressure outside forcing air down the chimney, is called downdraft.

When a fireplace is not in use and temperatures are cold in the winter (or in the summer when temperatures are hot outside and cool inside from the air conditioning), wood fireplace chimneys often downdraft. Homeowners are more likely to experience downdraft problems with exterior chimneys than inside chimneys, which tend to stay warm. No matter the cause of the problem, here are a few ways to solve it:

1. Tighten the damper – closes off the opening to cut off the escaping air

2. If that fails, stuff a rag or fiberglass insulation into the chimney

3. Remove the creosote - having your chimney professionally cleaned can reduce odor by removing the source

Fireplaces smoke when there is a poor draft. Causes of poor draft may include:

1. Insufficient height of the chimney

2. An improperly sized or shaped fireplace

3. House depressurization

4. Air escaping from high areas of the house (it’s important to tighten areas around the ceiling)

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