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?
Location: Northwoods of Minnesota, formerly of Texas
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!)
__________________ ♥ She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. ♥ Proverbs 31:13
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........
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.
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.
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.
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.