Hello, and welcome to our new blog! Here we hope to post helpful information answering your questions. The world of chimneys can be a confusing place, we get it. There is a lot of contradicting comments and information on the internet so, over the course of the next year, we hope to try and help you and clear up any confusion. If you have any topics you would like covered please get in touch we love hearing from you.
Today we are kicking off with ‘Why is smoke filling our room?’ Now once we have established it’s not from burning the toast again we can assume it’s something to do with the chimney but what? Unfortunately when it comes to chimneys nothing is guaranteed, every chimney is unique and so this can happen for a number of reasons.
If smoke is coming into your room it is commonly caused by downdraught (which means the smoke isn’t able to rise out of your chimney). There is a quick way to check the draw or uplift and here’s is how you do it – Firstly, you need to get some heat into the chimney, woodburning stove or cooker. The easiest way to do this, if it is safe to do so, is by applying heat from a blow torch or crumple up some newspaper and set light to it in the fireplace opening. Once the paper has stopped burning light your smoke pellet and place it on a shelf or non-combustible sheet and offer it into the fireplace opening, or if the appliance is a stove just light the pellet and place it inside the stove and close the door. If the smoke draws away successfully then you have completed the test.
If the smoke does indeed come down you have a downdraught problem. Downdraught is typically caused by a chimney that is either not high enough or where wind current is changed due to surrounding trees or high buildings. Typically downdraught will only occur when the wind is blowing in a certain direction. Now for the solution – at this point I must re-emphasise nothing is guaranteed. 1. You can extend your chimney with a taller chimney pot (if you are an Edinburgh customer you can buy these at the Christie Depot) or by lengthening your flue with an additional twin wall length (if you have used the ECO ICID range). 2. Use an anti-downdraught cowl which you then fit to your chimney pot or flue.
What if smoke filling your room isn’t a downdraught problem? Another test for you - now try lighting the fire with the window in the room open - does this relieve the problem? If so you have an air starvation problem (lack of air to combustion) and will need to fit a permanent vent to the room.
Finally smoke filling your room is a common result if the original fire place opening for an open fire has been altered. However, this is a whole new set of problems that we will save for another day but if you think this could be relevant take a look at this really helpful booklet from the solid fuel association.
So in summary, you light your fire and the smoke comes back into the room. If downdraught then extend height of chimney or flue. If lack of air for combustion then fit a vent. If you think it is caused by something else read through the solid fuel association booklet.