03:44PM | 12/07/04
Member Since: 12/06/04
1 lifetime posts
I have an open masonary fireplace in my home.

I keep having problems with smoke getting into the house. I had it checked this last winter and was told everything was ok, up until this year I burned duralogs. No matter what I do open the damper, moving the wood logs around it just smokes up the house. There seems to be a good draft going upwards do to smoke and sparks going up quickly, however, as I stated smoke still rolls out from the top. This is quite frustrating. Smells like our house was in a fire. hehe.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Les


08:48PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 06/23/04
161 lifetime posts
You did not mention the age of your home, but modern houses are constructed so tightly that there may not be adequate quantities of combustion air available. Adding a combustion air duct and damper may be a solution. Also, bathroom fans, kitchen fans, clothes driers, or central heating units can cause negative pressures that draw smoke into the house. It doesn't take much to stink things up. Other factors can affect proper drafting including location in the room, rain caps atop the chimney, and adjacent buildings. If none of these situations exist, then the problem could be the fireplace design itself. Fireplace design is somewhat more complex than many builders believe. A mason may lay bricks perfectly but that doesn't mean that he understands the design of fireplaces. Size and proportion standards have been developed over the centuries that govern height, width, depth, slope of back, damper size & location, smoke shelf, smoke box, flue size, and chimney height. All of these factors are interrelated. If the standards are not followed the fireplace may not draft well. Check out for a description of home fireplace design. You may want to engage a second "expert", maybe one that actually builds masonry fireplaces and has good references.


Jim D

11:42PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
Lonewuf - hi, I had similar problems in my last place. We ended up having to crack open a window or patio door for the first 30 minutes or so. The heat generated by the fire had to build up enough to start its own natural air draw from the room to the fire and then up the chimney. Once the fire was going well, we could shut the window/door and the problem went away until the fire was almost dead. This basically accomplished the job of the combustion air duct that Bravey mentions.

We did introduce a separate problem on our own...we had wasps constantly getting into the house by coming down the space between the chimney pipe and the masonry work. They were then getting in through the venting around the fireplace insert. I'd put some very fine steel screening mesh around the top of the chimney which kept the wasps out...and the first time we fired up the fireplace, we smoked up the inside of the house good! We had a chimneysweep come in and he removed the mesh - no more smoke but the wasps were back the next spring. (We've since bought our own home and moved.) It took almost that long to get the "rustic country smell" out of the house, too...

Anyway - good luck with this. Maybe the simple approach I used will help. Happy Holidays to all! Jim D/West Point, VA

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