Ten Reasons a Fire Won’t Start – Pt2
Ten Possible Reasons Lighting a Fire in your Fireplace is Difficult – Part 2
Having trouble getting a warm fire going in your fireplace? Successfully lighting a fire can be hindered by a number of different issues. Read Part 1 of this series and below for ten possible reasons you are having trouble getting a fire started.
6 – Restricted Draft in the Chimney
When your chimney works the way it’s supposed to, the smoke and other combustion byproducts flow up and out of the chimney. If the draft doesn’t work correctly, not only does the smoke back up into your home, it can affect your ability to light a fire. There are several things that can cause this problem, including an improper chimney size and an obstruction of some kind.
The height of a chimney should always be built with the roof and everything on it in mind, which includes the slant of the roof and how the wind will affect the chimney. There are times when a chimney is built too short, resulting in a perpetually inadequate draft. If the chimney is not at least 2 feet higher than everything within 10 feet of it, wind can blow into the chimney more easily; and your fireplace will most likely be smoky. Two solutions to this problem are to build onto the existing chimney so that it is an adequate height or install a motorized draft inducer at the top of the chimney, which sucks out smoke. Expect that whichever of the two options you choose will be expensive.
Chimney obstructions can be caused by many things, such as debris on the chimney cap netting, an animal, a bird’s nest, and debris of some kind inside the chimney lining.
7 – Your Home is Too Tightly Sealed
A flow of air is required for a fire to burn in your fireplace. As air flows up the chimney, there needs to be an adequate supply of air in the home to give the fire needed oxygen. The energy-efficient homes of today are often extremely well insulated and weather-stripped, and for that reason the fireplace can become smoky and sluggish. There is danger involved, as well, because this issue can cause your home to be more susceptible to fumes of poisonous carbon monoxide, which is potentially deadly. A temporary fix for this problem is to open a window, but it’s important to seek a permanent solution so that you can safely use your fireplace on a regular basis.
8– The Flue is the Wrong Size
Whenever you connect a heating appliance of any kind to a chimney, it’s important that the flue be the correct size. One cause of having difficulty lighting a fire is that the flue is not well-fitted to the appliance. It is highly recommended that you get heating appliances installed by a chimney professional, to ensure proper and safe operation.
9 – The Chimney is Filled with Cold Air
If your chimney is built on an outside wall of your home, there is more of a chance that a fire won’t start in your fireplace because of a column of cold air in the chimney. The cold air pushes down and disrupts efforts to start a fire. A common practice is to light a rolled-up newspaper and hold it up through the damper, to help dispel the cold air. However, this should be done with extreme caution, to avoid being burned.
10 – The Chimney is Dirty
When a chimney flue has not been cleaned and maintained adequately, it’s possible for it to become obstructed with layers of creosote and soot, which prevents a fire from getting needed oxygen. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends an annual chimney inspection and cleaning, as an important safety measure. Besides helping to protect your home from a chimney fire and possibly even a tragic house fire, getting your chimney cleaned will help your chimney operate properly.
Contact our professional chimney sweeps for help figuring out why it’s difficult to light a fire in your fireplace, your chimney is smoky, and for any of your chimney and venting needs.
Chimney Solutions, Inc. 1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004 Office 770-255-1300 / Toll Free 877-697-9337