Q&A Smoke Detector goes off when I use Fireplace

QandA Posted By QandA, Jun 21, 2004 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    I have recently rented a single story home w/ fireplace. I had a mason inspect the flu who concluded the flu was clean and in good shape. My 1st fire was with a duraflame log. The smoke clearly entered the chimney without any problems. About 1 and 1/2 hours into the burn the smoke detector was going off. No smoke but could smell thge fumes from I believe the duraflame. The house is located in a coastal area and have winds regulary. The chimney does not have a chimney cap. Would one correct this? Insert a liner? Any help is appreciated. Thanks


    Dan - it sounds more like a pressure problem in your house to me. As the fire dies down the flue cools off and you have less draft to pull smoke up the chimney. Other devices in your house that exhaust air (dryer, range fan, bathroom fan, furnace) can sometimes use the chimney as a means of pulling air into the house to provide the makeup air for what they remove. You can have a scenario where 2 columns of air exist in your chimney - one trying to exhaust the smoke upwards, and one column of cool air dropping down the chimney at the same time. If the cold air overwhelms the chimney then you can get smoke back into the house. Since you don't mention that the chimney smoked when you first lit it, it's less likely that the chimney is too small for the size of the fireplace, as can also be the case.

    Try not running other devices in the house while you're burning a fire and see if this makes a difference. Next step is to crack a window close to the fireplace to provide more combustion air to see if that helps. I doubt that a cap would solve your problem.
    -Karen Victorian Fireplace Shop www.TheVictorianFireplace.com
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