Fixing Chimney Draft Problems
Feeling a draft coming from the fireplace? This is a common problem experienced among many homeowners across the country. Air leaks in the chimney and in other areas of the home such as from air and fan vents, unsealed doors and windows and other gaps, can cause the negative pressure that creates a drafty fireplace. This not only reduces energy efficiency in the home, air leakage also contributes to the development of excessive moisture which can negatively impact indoor air quality and the structural integrity of the chimney. It’s like throwing money out the window.
An easy and obvious place to look for the cause of a chimney draft is with the chimney damper. The damper is a metal door that is often installed near the top of the chimney. Through years of use the damper can become worn preventing it from sealing properly. Also, excessive moisture that penetrates the chimney from a broken or non-existent chimney cap can cause the damper to rust preventing the door from closing securely. In either case, air and moisture will enter the chimney even when the damper is supposedly closed resulting in a drafty fireplace.
On windy days, high outside pressure can force the airflow to be pushed down the chimney. If you’re fireplace is burning during a downdraft you will often see smoke billowing from the fireplace and into the room. This can be dangerous. Burning embers can start a fire inside your chimney or home and carbon monoxide from the fumes can make your family sick. Asking your chimney repair specialist to install a chimney cap is an easy fix to most downdraft issues.
Chimney Structural Issues
A chimney draft can also be caused by a number of chimney structural issues including flashing and flue damage, an improper flue replacement or brick spalling. Weather and other roof related issues could damage the flashing that forms a seal between the roof and chimney. This gap in the flashing can allow air and water to circulate behind the chimney bricks and cause a draft. The moisture can soften the mortar resulting in cracked, spalling or missing bricks further adding to the drafty experience while diminishing the structural integrity of the chimney. Also, an improper flue replacement or flue liner damage can contribute to a chimney draft.
Home Pressurization Test
Since a chimney draft can be caused by any number of issues, it is best to contact a certified chimney sweep to resolve chimney draft problems before they develop into more serious safety and structural issues. The chimney sweep will perform a number of tests, including smoke and pressure integrity tests to determine whether fumes are able to escape the flue or if they are backing up in the chimney and inside your home.
Annual chimney inspections, needed chimney cleaning, ongoing maintenance and chimney repairs. Contact our licensed, certified chimney professionals at Hudson Valley Chimney today to schedule chimney repairs or a chimney inspection. (845) 471-1071 and long distance it’s (800) 439-1071.