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3 Reasons Why Smoke Is Coming Back Down Your Chimney

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There are few things as enjoyable on a cold, winter day as sitting around a warm fire in your home's fireplace. Your home's fireplace can add a touch of warmth and character to the home, but it can also be a big energy saver as it provides natural heat. That can take some of the workload off your heating system.

While a fireplace can be a nice added touch to any home, it's also a feature that requires regular upkeep. Perhaps one of the scariest moments for any homeowner is when smoke comes back down the chimney and out the front of the fireplace. The smoke can create an unpleasant environment and smell in your home. It also contains carbon monoxide, which can be a health hazard for your family.

Fortunately, there could be a simple reason why the back draft is happening. Below are a few common causes behind smoke coming back down the chimney. Some are easy to address while others may require a chimney professional.

Cold Flue

Does your smoke flow into your home when you first try to light your fire? Is this happening towards the beginning of winter when you may not have used the chimney recently? It could simply be that the flue is cold. Remember, warm air rises. If the flue is cold because it hasn't been used recently, air pressure may be forcing the smoke back down into your fireplace and your home.

There's an easy way to fix this issue. Simply roll up a piece of newspaper and light it, and then hold it up into the flue as far as you can. Even a few seconds of heat inside the flue will warm it enough to draw smoke up. Obviously, be careful not to burn your hands. You may want to use a thick roll of newspaper so it burns slowly and perhaps wear gloves as protection.

Creosote Buildup

Another possible cause of the smoke is an accumulation of creosote in your chimney. Creosote is the soot that smoke leaves behind as it flows upwards. Over time, creosote accumulates and forms a liner on the interior of the chimney. If it builds up too much, it could block the flow of smoke, pushing it back downward. A chimney maintenance company can remove the creosote with a simple cleaning.

Chimney Leak

It's also possible that your chimney has a leak and air is entering the structure from the outside. Perhaps the construction of the chimney wasn't sound. Some of the bricks may be decaying. Whatever the cause of the leak, the cold air is affecting the air pressure inside the chimney and smoke isn't naturally drifting upward. You'll need a chimney technician to examine your chimney and identify the source of the leak. They may need to replace brick or repair the chimney lining.

If the back draft of smoke is regular problem, it's worthwhile to have your chimney examined. Contact a chimney repair service in your area today, like Allstate Chimney Service. They can inspect your chimney and provide a recommendation.