Getting my Fireplace to Draft Right

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Chuck, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    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
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    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.
     

  3. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings Guest

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    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.
     
  4. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  6. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    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.
     
  7. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    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.
     
  8. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. wvstriper

    wvstriper Member

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    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.
     
  10. Snuffy Smith

    Snuffy Smith Well-Known Member

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

    skinner Active Member

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

    skinner
     
  12. momanto

    momanto SW FLORIDA HAPPYLAND

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    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.
     
  13. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.....
     
  14. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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

    Side question, what is your main heat source?