Getting my Fireplace to Draft Right - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 10/30/05, 07:21 PM
Chuck's Avatar
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: WV
Posts: 3,274
Getting my Fireplace to Draft Right



We've got this stone fireplace in our new house - now that It's starting to get cold I decided to try it out the other night - could not get the chimney to draft right to save my life. Ended up filling the whole place with smoke, losing major husband points, etc.

Tried again a couple days ago - same problem. I just can't seem to get the smoke to go up the chimney. It's open, I checked to see that it wasn't obstructed by anything, don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Chuck
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10/30/05, 07:48 PM
Wind in Her Hair's Avatar
Interrobanger
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Northwoods of Minnesota, formerly of Texas
Posts: 17,438

You are in big trouble with the Missus, I'm sure. I can feel your pain.

If you are SURE that there is no obstruction in the flue, try these:
1. Start the draft by lighting a crumbled piece or two of newpaper and hold the "torch" near the opening of the flue.
2. Make sure that you have a nearby window or door cracked open, your house maybe under a slight vacuum due to a stove vent fan or furnance operating.

If that doesn't work, measure the area (number of square inches) of your fireplace opening and the area of the flue opening. There is a minimum ratio of the two areas (and of course I can't remember what that ratio is). In other words, if your fireplace opening is too large compared to the size of your flue, it will smoke. You can effectively reduce the opening of your fireplace with the use of a glass door or insert.

(BTW, this is Cabin Fever, not WIHH...sheesh!)
Good luck

__________________
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10/30/05, 07:50 PM
Ross's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

It may have too much cold air coming in, a chimney cap may allow your fire to catch and heat teh stack fast enough to over come the down draft problem. A small hot fire of dry softwood first and add the better hard woods once things get moving. It should have a draft control built in too, you might want to close it off a little before lighting. I know it sounds a bit warped to close off the damper first but once that small hot fire gets going you will have to adjust it for the better heating wood. Nice fire place BTW.

__________________

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10/30/05, 08:36 PM
DrippingSprings's Avatar
In Remembrance
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Alabama
Posts: 1,947

NICE fireplace!! In todays super insulated and super tight houses more times than not they are so tight there isnt enough draft to pull the smoke. Youll have to crack a window to get enough.

__________________
What we have here...is a failure to communicate.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10/30/05, 09:22 PM
Chuck's Avatar
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: WV
Posts: 3,274

Okay, the small hot fire did the trick. Second question. Anybody know how to clean the black soot off the stones in front of the fireplace? (See, in the picture!) Wifey won't let me bring in the pressure washer.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10/31/05, 06:05 AM
Ross's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

Not sure but I'd try something mild like dish soap and a stiff bristle brush, being stone you don't want to start off with TSP although it might be the answer in the end.

__________________

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10/31/05, 06:06 AM
moopups's Avatar
In Remembrance
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
Posts: 7,101

Answer to question 2, Did she also forbid the sand blaster?

Actually muratic acid works, but it has to be used with very intense and adequate ventalation.

__________________

If you can read this - thank a teacher. If you can read this in English - thank a veteran.

Never mistake kindness for weakness.

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10/31/05, 07:35 AM
moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: SE Ohio
Posts: 22,860

Does the chimney need cleaned? I know ours does not draw as well if it needs cleaned out.

When I build a fire, I light a piece of newspaper first and hold it up inside the chimney, this will start it drawing.

For cleaning, you can use a stong dish soap and water solution and a scrub brush. I wash mine down all the time with this and it comes clean.

__________________
https://www.facebook.com/MelissaRileyNorris
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10/31/05, 07:54 AM
JAK's Avatar
JAK JAK is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: New Brunswick
Posts: 529

Awesome looking fireplace. Glad the paper worked to prime the draft. It should draw well because it is not on an outside wall. A chimney cap will also help, especially if you get a lot of rain and snow. They main problem with chimneys is not so much that they are inefficient when in use but that when the fireplace is not in use and you shut the damper cold air works its way down and cools off all that brick, and takes away all the heat that was stored in the brick from the last fire. Many people have used dampers at the top of the chimney but they all seem to be problematic and corrode easily. A more serious problem is that such a damper would trap toxic or lethal gases in the fireplace that could find a way into the hope. These problems are solvable in the sense of well designed russian and scandinavian fireplaces, but are not always easy to retrofit into an existing fireplace. I have a similare fireplace to yours, only brick and less spectacular, and I have thought of knocking it down to just below the 12' ceiling and then putting in a woodstove and using the brick as thermal mass, but I would mess with that beauty of yours. If you keep that fireplace going you will have less trouble with it. Chimney caps are always good, if you don't have one already. A proper chimney cap helps draft by making the flue warmer and dryer to begin with so that it heats up quicker.

__________________

Last edited by JAK; 10/31/05 at 07:58 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10/31/05, 10:17 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wild Wonderful West Virginia
Posts: 6

Where in MD are you? I live just over the line near Frederick. The temps are just getting cold enough to get a good draft. I find that the nights are ok, but the 50-60 degree days can create draft problems in some instances.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10/31/05, 11:39 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 261

From what I understand, the chimney has to be the proper height in order to get a good draw.

__________________

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me"

Philippians 4:13

Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10/31/05, 01:43 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 32

Easy Off , for cold oven's takes soot off masonry pretty good.

skinner

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10/31/05, 07:26 PM
momanto's Avatar
SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 440

I Agree W/snuffy. When My Dm's Folks Died She Used Part Of Her Inheritance To Build A Florida Room(den) Off The Back Of The House. My Dad Wanted A Fireplace So He Paid To Have One Built Into The Outer Wall When The Room Was Built- Cbs-. It Wouldnt Draw.. So He Ask The Builder Of The Fireplace And Was Told- The Chimny Prob. Wasnt High Enough. So My Dad Got Up There And Raised It Himself. He Didnt Bother To Build The Concrete Outer Blocks Up Around The New Section. ...but It Works- Since 1980. Sometimes I Have Crumpled Newspaper Fires For The Fun Of It.

__________________

WOULD THAT ALL WOULD FOLLOW THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND PARTAKE OF HIS GOODNESS.

Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10/31/05, 07:33 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
Posts: 3,549

Looks cool, but may not be properly built.

The opening height looks too high for one thing....

Take a GOOD plc or two of the fire box if you can.

I can also see this is down the roof pretty far.....on the outside, does the top clear the roof line ?

This isn't a "see through" fireplace by chance, is it ? One where the firebox is open to both sides of different rooms.....

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10/31/05, 08:19 PM
seedspreader's Avatar
AFKA ZealYouthGuy
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NW Pa./NY Border.
Posts: 11,361

I agree, house may be too tight, crack a window.

Side question, what is your main heat source?

__________________

Check out "The Modern Homestead", a small, helpful, friendly forum.

Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:46 AM.