The first step in fixing your chimney’s venting issues is to identify them, diagnose them, and then fix them! Many venting issues can be corrected easily, by just making a few adjustments at home. When they aren’t easily resolved, though, a professional needs to have a look. The best way to prevent problems with your fire is to prevent problems with your chimney. Schedule routine services with a certified chimney sweep to keep your fireplace and chimney working efficiently and safely.
Common Chimney Venting Issues
- A smoky fireplace – When your fireplace is smoky, it means the smoke isn’t rising up the chimney flue as it should. A smoky fireplace can put your family at risk for respiratory distress as well as carbon monoxide poisoning, two very serious conditions that can cause injury and death.
- A difficult-to-light fire – A properly functioning chimney makes an easy-to-light fire. If your fire is difficult to light or maintain a flame, there is likely a venting issue that prevents the fire from getting the right amount of oxygen. A fire needs adequate oxygen to burn.
- A weak fire – If your fire burns, but it requires more fuel than usual or doesn’t burn as hot as it should, you may have a venting issue. The fire may have too little oxygen coming into it as well as a blockage of airflow in the flue.
- A roaring fire – If gusts come into the flue from outside the house, the fire may rise into a gust. This can be a dangerous occurrence indoors, but can also create stray sparks that rise up and out of the chimney.
100 Possible Reasons Your Fireplace Isn’t Working
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), there are 100 possible reasons your fireplace isn’t working. The first nine can be blamed on venting issues and the other 91 are due to poor fireplace design (which contributes to venting issues).
Because most of your chimney issues are actually venting issues, you can likely solve them easily.
- Make sure your damper is open. The damper is the doorway to the flue. When it is closed or stuck, it can obstruct airflow up the flue and prevent proper chimney ventilation.
- Burn only properly-seasoned firewood. Wet, fresh, or “green” wood that hasn’t been allowed to dry 3-6 months will burn incompletely and most likely not produce enough heat to push the smoke up the chimney.
- Clean the chimney regularly. A dirty chimney will be coated in soot and creosote that builds upon itself over time and eventually obstructs airflow. Even when the creosote isn’t a built-up much, even a small amount will slow airflow and drop efficiency.
- Allow air into the house. Today’s modern home construction doesn’t leave a lot of room for ventilation. Houses are sometimes too tight for the chimney to draw air from the home. In order to allow air in while a fire is burning and the chimney is working, homeowners can open a window.
- Prime a cold chimney before lighting a fire. A cold chimney will make it difficult to vent a fire. This is a common problem especially in chimneys on the outside of the house. Before you light your kindling, warm the flue by holding a newspaper roll up to the flue opening and burn completely.
- Schedule an annual inspection. A CSIA inspection will help determine if your chimney is tall enough if the flue is large enough, and if there is any design flaw or hazard that causes a drop in efficiency.
Chimney Repairs in Northwestern Vermont
Home and business owners in Chittenden, Franklin, Addison, and Washington counties can depend on Brickliners for all their chimney venting issues. We clean and inspect chimneys big and small, old and new. We install new fire appliances and service existing units and masonry fireplaces and chimneys. We repair masonry, reline flues, and restore chimney systems that are badly damaged and neglected. We even waterproof chimneys to prevent chimney leaks and to protect the masonry from general water penetration.
When it comes to chimney safety and maintenance, our customers continue to trust Brickliners of Burlington. We live and work among our customers and know the local safety codes as well as the national ones. We are CSIA certified to provide the best chimney maintenance possible, CDET certified to keep our customers’ dryer vents safe, and are certified natural gas installers. We are also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and sit on the ethics committee and a member of the Northeast Association of Chimney & Hearth Professionals. We are registered with the State of Vermont Division of Public Safety and the State of Vermont Fire Prevention Division. Lastly, the Brickliners team is factory-trained in HeatShield application and Ahren-Fire and Regency Fire Installation.
When your fireplace stops working its magic and instead creates a problem, it’s time to call a professional. Call on Brickliners at 802-872-0123.