You are here

Help! It's smoky in here!

There's nothing like waking up on a cold morning and enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee or tea in front of a fresh, roaring fire.  But why is the smoke coming back into the house?  Why is it leaking from the flue pipe?  Is my chimney flue plugged?  The answer is usually found in the basic function of a wood burning appliance.

 

It's all about the heat!

Wood stoves and fireplaces rely on heat to create a draft.  We all know that hot air rises. But cold air will sink.  When it is really cold outside, that cold air naturally wants to settle into depressions and low-level areas.  Your chimney flue is a depression, and as such, the cold air will naturally settle into your flue, creating what is known in the industry as a "cold block". This cold block can often be strong enough to prevent any smoke from exiting your flue until enough heat is generated to break through the cold, and start a draft. Until a draft is established, the smoke from your fire will accumulate in the firebox and flue pipe, and will eventually leak into your house through any gap or space it can find.  This will quickly fill your living area, and your breathing air, with acrid, lung-torturing smoke.

 

So what do you do?

So how do you heat up the flue and start a draft without filling your house with horrible smoke?  There are actually several ways to accomplish this.  We offer flue collars that are purpose-designed for just this task.  Simply plug in the heat-shielded cord, and by the time you have your paper and kindling stacked and ready to light, your flue will be warm enough to start a draft. This is a great way to accomplish the goal of breaking the cold block, with minimal effort.  Another easy, and inexpensive, option is newspaper.  Burning newspaper produces a high-heat flame that has very little smoke.  Before you shred your paper and stack your kindling, crumple 3-4 pages from the newspaper into tight balls. Place these wads of paper underneath your flue pipe inside the fireplace, and light them on fire.  The high heat output will break through even severe cold blocks in very little time, giving you a nice, warm flue to start your fire with, and no smoke in the house.

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and ideas to get the most out of your hearth appliances.

Stay warm, and Stay safe!