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4 Reasons Your Fireplace isn’t Working Right

Poor Chimney Drafting Poughkeepsie, NYWhen a fireplace works correctly, it’s easy to enjoy the warmth of a glowing fire. Things often go wrong, however, and sometimes very quickly. The following are four of the most common reasons homeowners have trouble with their fireplaces.

Closed Damper

The damper is a key component of a chimney, and it’s located just at the entrance to the chimney opening above the fireplace. It’s important to open the damper all the way before lighting a fire. Although this may seem like a simple enough issue, leaving it open is a mistake that’s frequently made. With the damper closed, all of the smoke from the fire you try to start begins to fill your home. Annual chimney inspections are highly recommended by fire safety experts, and one of the reasons is to ensure that the damper operates properly. It should be able to open all the way when using the fireplace or stove. Once the fire is completely out, closing the damper helps to both keep your home comfortable and reduce heating costs in winter. If a damper no longer seals adequately when closed, it should be repaired or replaced.

Unseasoned Firewood

The type of firewood you burn determines how clean-burning a fire you have. Only seasoned firewood should be burned, which means that the firewood has low moisture content. After a tree is cut down, the logs that are cut for the fireplace are bursting with moisture. It takes between six months to a year or more for logs to dry out sufficiently to be used in home fires. When you put green or unseasoned firewood in the fireplace, a lot of smoke is generated. The reason for the smoke is that the fire burns out the moisture before getting around to providing a discernible amount of heat to your home.

Chimney Fire

Professional Chimney Cleaning Hudson Valley NYWhile using your fireplace, you may become aware that something unusual is happening. A roaring or train-like sound may come from the flue. This is caused by a chimney fire. People oftentimes don’t realize they have a chimney fire until a neighbor stops by to say fire or sparks and embers are shooting from their chimney.

Chimney fires happen every winter, and they can be extremely dangerous, causing an intense house fire. Even if the house is spared, the chimney and liner are often permanently damaged. The number one cause of a chimney fire is an excess buildup of creosote and soot in the flue. Routine chimney cleaning can help to prevent that problem.

Improper Flue Sizing

When a fireplace insert or stove is installed, it is often necessary to replace the chimney flue. The flue needs to be the correct size so that combustion byproducts will exist through the chimney. Details about proper installation include the right chimney liner size. When this important step is missed, excess smoke can enter your home. In addition, the appliance won’t work as efficiently as it would if installed correctly.

Having problems with your chimney? Contact our trained and certified chimney technicians at Hudson Valley Chimney (845) 471-1071.

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