Heat & Glo Rutherford "leaking" smoke into house

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New Member
Nov 18, 2023
We recently moved into a new home. The wood burning fireplace is a Heat & Glo Rutherford, and while we like the styling, we’re having trouble with smoke getting into the house (the house is very tight as is required with the new building codes.) We’ve had a number of wood stoves and wood burning fireplaces in previous houses, and know about burning dry, seasoned wood, not running exhaust fans, cracking a window, etc. The flue is twenty-three feet from the top of the firebox to the top of the chimney, straight up. We like to have an evening fire, but don’t really expect to heat the house, or even the room it’s in.

My questions are:

Is the Rumford design prone to “leaking” smoke into the house?

It looks like while the outside combustion air enters the outside of the firebox near the bottom, it vents to the interior of the firebox near the top. Is that to help cool the firebox surround? That seems like an inefficient design.

We didn’t realize the fireplace doors don’t seal like the Xtrordinair in our last house, is there a way to retrofit sealed doors?

I’m assuming a chimney fireplace exhaust fan would solve the issue, does anyone have any experience with those and a brand recommendation?

Thank you.
Try opening a nearby window 1" and see if that makes any difference. The fireplace has a large and tall opening so it may not but this is worth a try.

Which size Rutherford is this? Where is the chimney located in relationship to the roof and the house floorplan?
Thanks for the reply. I've attached a screen capture of the fireplace location in the house and of the chimney. I have access to the back of the little "closet" the Rutherford is in, and most of the smoke seems to be coming from there, which makes me worry there might be a loose flue section. The installation manual also stressed sealing the area between the front of the firebox and the wall it is flush with, so I'll take a look at that and post what I find. The top of the flue is about three feet above any roof within 10'. Also, it was a calm day when we had the smoke issue. The fireplace opening is 36" wide by 39" high.

Chimney.jpg Parkridge Fireplace plan view.png
That helps and confirms one concern with the adjacent higher roof. This type of install can present problems, especially if the prevailing winds are from the opposite, high side of the house. Is the fireplace chimney at least 10 ft away from the higher roofline on the left?

Screenshot 2023-11-18 at 1.40.49 PM.png

Adding a few feet of chimney may help strengthen the drafts and bring the top out of the pressure zone.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the roof ridge on the left is about the same height as the top of the flue, and is a little over ten feet away. I hadn't thought of adding to the top of the flue, that's a good suggestions, thanks.

Yesterday, I thoroughly re-sealed the right side of the firebox opening where it butts against masonry, with Hercules high-heat furnace cement. This morning, I lit another fire and didn't have any smoke, other than a bit when I opened the door to add wood, so it may be that simple. Thanks again for your suggestions and feedback.

Heat & Glo Rutherford "leaking" smoke into house