Smokey Fires

One common question that I receive is . “ Why do  I have smoke coming out of my fireplace!” , Well problems like this are very common, and because the house starts to smell of smoke people stop using the open fire or stove , that’s a shame.

The first issue to clarify is that the problem that is causing the smoke to enter the house is more than likely to be one of two things or possibly both,

  1. Flue problem
  2. Ventilation problem.

Also let me be clear that if smoke is present then there is risk of filling the room with carbon monoxide. So really the smoke gives you a warning, of CO escaping, this in a way is  preferable to having a silent and invisible CO gas escape as sometimes happens with gas fired appliances.

The first course of action is to cease using the fire as a safety precaution and ventilate the property by opening doors and windows. The second action would be to call up a qualified and certified chimney sweep to come out, sweep the flue and inspect the appliance for defect and advise as to the correct ventilation requirements.

Why is it important that you get a sweep in first  before considering any other inspection or works?

Well sweeping is a cost effective 1st step to rectifying the problem and avoids bringing in a builder or roofer, remember a sweep will generally find out by sweeping if the flue has a structural defect.

There are several causes of a smoking fireplace, and it’s important to eliminate the most obvious one’s first. Sweeping the flue will clear any blockages and partial blockages, which is a very common cause of poor fire performance.

A number of checks will be made such as, Is the fireplace opening too big for the flue, and is the terminal appropriate?

I very often see gas flue terminals put onto solid fuel flues and chimney caps fitted in the belief that they are terminals suitable for a live appliance?  this is potentially very dangerous indeed.

For further info. on terminals  please see the video on terminals at .

On a finishing note a couple of things may happen that stops the smoke from entering the room from the fire are, the door to the room is open or a window is open, if this is the case then it’s almost certain that the fire is searching for air and the ventilation requirements need to be addressed.