Top 6 Aspects that Harm the Performance of Your Fireplace

FireplaceFor most, an evening in front of the fireplace ensures one of the most soothing as well as relaxing experiences.

How the fireplaces work and the best ways to build them has remained a topic of discussion for centuries. Right from the stone rings stacked around the campfire to the modern fireplaces with carefully engineered construction, the design parameters have evolved a lot. A significant part of this evolution depended upon the trial and error process, with some designs working better than others.

Fireplaces work chiefly because hot air rises. When a fire starts, the air inside the chimney turns warmer as well as less dense as compared to the air outside the chimney. Consequently, it begins rising. As warm air rises, cool air from the room flows into the firebox, fanning the fire and creating an ongoing cycle. There are also some pressure differences produced when the wind moves across the top of the chimney.

One of the most common fireplace problems is fireplace smoke. Smoky fireplaces are not just unpleasant, they may cause several hazards, too. Regardless of whether your fireplace is regularly smoky or this is happening occasionally, several remedies are available.

Here are some aspects that may cast an impact on the performance of the fireplace.

  • Chimney Obstruction

The smoke path may be blocked by something. Make sure that the damper is open if you have an ignited fireplace. Chimneys that are in use are commonly narrowed or blocked by the creosote or soot.

Most of the problems pertaining to fireplaces are possible to solve by thoroughly sweeping the whole system, right from the firebox to the chimney cap.

In case the fireplace is in little use or if you are using it the first time this season, a bird may have built a nest there.

Another significant cause of blockage is deterioration of mortar or other components that were used in building the chimney; they often flake off accumulating in the turns of the passageway.

  • Wet Firewood

Soaking wet firewood is often the trouble creator. If a fire appears to smoulder or make hissing sounds while burning, it may be because it has high water content. Fires burning of wet firewood find it hard to generate sufficient heat.

You can try building fires using absolutely dry woods.

  • Dirty Chimney

Gradual accumulation of soot can affect the way your chimney performs. Thick soot layers can restrict the flue but as little as 1/4″ to 1/2″ inch soot build-up can also cast a significant impact.

The soot buildup also makes your chimney appear like a hollow tree making it the best place to reside for birds.

Sweeps often find chimneys packed with bird nests, leaves and twigs. The best way to protect your chimney is by using a chimney cap and cleaning it on time.

  • Cold Flue

When chimneys are exposed to the elements, smoke and the combustion gases cool fast.

The cooler temperatures in flue may lead the fire to burn lazily. Smoke may spill out of the front of the fireplace or the door of the wood stove when the fire dies out.

In case smoke refuses to move up the flue when you light the fire, there are high chances that a column of cold air is blocking the flow.

You can use a hair dryer pointing it up the flue at the top of the firebox. This will begin the flow of warm air. Make sure not to blow the ashes and soot around.

  • Insufficient Air

Insufficient air in the room containing the fireplace is yet another reason behind fireplace issues. This inhibits both the combustion as well as formation of draft air carrying smoke up the chimney.

The cure for this problem is easy. Try opening a few windows in the room in which the fire is burning. The fireplace won’t smoke. You may need to do a few experiments before you find out how small an opening is required. This depends upon the weather conditions.

  • Chimney Height

To function with efficacy, chimneys must be around 10 to 12 feet in height. The places where they project above the roof, the chimneys must be at least 2 feet higher than everything that is 10 feet or less than 10 feet from it.

Undersized flue finds it hard to handle the volume of smoke produced, spilling some of it back into the room.

As there is no way to make the size of the flue bigger, the solution here is to make the opening of the room smaller; you can make the room smaller using metal smoke guards.

Contributed by http://www.jamesthesweep.co.uk/

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