Fireplaces have been in existence in American homes for a very long time. A steady evolution of design has evolved today’s fireplace to a well functioning system of removing hot air, smoke and particles produced by a fire.
So how does it work exactly? Very simply put, your fireplace works because hot air rises. When you start a fire, the air inside the chimney becomes warmer and less dense than the air outside the chimney, and consequently it starts to rise. As the warm air rises, cooler air from the room flows into the firebox, fanning the fire, creating more heat in an ongoing cycle.
Chim Chimney offers these things to check if your fireplace is not operating as it should:
1. Be sure your damper is open all the way. The most common issue is to forget to open the damper, or to open it all the way. And over time, soot buildup can create a barrier inside the flue that doesn’t allow the damper to open properly.
2. Be sure you only burn seasoned, dry wood. Burning unseasoned or wet wood releases a lot of moisture into your chimney and creates a lot of smoke with very little heat.
3. In order to work properly, your chimney should be at least 10 feet in height. If your fireplace has a problem that worsens when the wind blows, it is likely too short.
4. Be sure your flue is large enough for the fireplace opening. In general, the fireplace opening can be no more than 10 times the area of the flue. Newer prefabricated fireplaces often meet these standards, but older homes may benefit from a firebox retrofit that decreases the size of the opening and delivers twice the heat of conventional fireboxes.
5. Have your chimney inspected annually for creosote buildup. A half inch of creosote buildup can restrict your airflow by 17% for a typical masonry chimney, and up to 30% in a prefabricated chimney. Birds, ducks, squirrels and other small animals also like to nest in the chimney. It is very common to find leaves, twigs, and baby animals when we come out to inspect and sweep your chimney.
Chim Chimney’s seasoned veterans have experience with all types of fireplace and chimney challenges. Put our experience to work for you and enjoy your fireplace all winter long.