Q&A fireplace won't draw

QandA Posted By QandA, Jun 19, 2007 at 1:27 AM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    Can you offer any advice on a fireplace that won't draw well? I've had it cleaned. I've extended the chimney two feet and installed a rain cap. The symptoms: smoke is drawn back into the living area. the condition is much worse with the central heating on, which is an electric heat pump. even with the heater off, we get some smoke into the house. I'm not sure if I've got a fireplace problem or a heater problem. The local "experts" (southeastern New Mexico) own a franchise cleaning service and is pretty obvious they're really guessing. There is no obstructions in the chimney. Very little material was recovered during cleaning. Fireplace has glass doors. it doesn't seem to affect the draw if they are open or closed. any suggestions would certainly be appreciated. (It may save a marriage!)


    Sounds like a combination of things. Your house may be tight, and there may be a negative pressure caused by kitchen and bath exhausts, clothes dryers and other appliances. Also, houses tend to be rather short in your neck of the woods. Tall chimney draw better. The rain cap actually hurts the draw. Try removing it. Also, install an outside air inlet to the fireplace if possible., Lastly, use some of the tips on starting a fire and tending a fire at https://www.hearth.com/what/specific.html - warming up the chimney well can help the draft greatly.

    If none of these work, a "smoke shield" can be installed which drops the opening a few inches. This may also eliminate the smoking.

    Link: Hearth.com Articles on Hearth Fuels & Hearth Products
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