We Fix Smoky Fireplaces | Schedule A Professional Chimney Inspection

We Fix Smoky Fireplaces

It can be pretty scary when smoke suddenly fills your house instead of going out the chimney. It can also be a health hazard because the smoke contains many different harmful contaminants such as carbon monoxide, soot, creosote, and hot debris. So, the first thing to do when you have a smoky chimney is open the windows and doors to allow the smoke to vent from your home. Seek immediate medical assistance if any members in your home have trouble breathing or shortness of breath.

fireplace is smoking in Bethesda MDThe good news is that the Certified Chimney Professionals at Bethesda Chimney have the specialized skills and advanced equipment to fix smoky chimneys for residential, commercial, and government buildings throughout the Montgomery County, MD, Northern, VA, and Washington, DC vicinity.

Why Does My Fireplace Fill with Smoke?

When a chimney and fireplace are functioning correctly, the smoke and exhaust will rise and exit through the top of the chimney. So, a fireplace filling up with smoke is not a normal occurrence. Let's review some common reasons why your fireplace and chimney are smoky:

Flue Obstruction

Another common cause of a smoky chimney in Washington, DC, is a flue obstruction. When excessive creosote, animal nests, or other debris clog the flue vent or obstruct the narrow smoke chamber, it restricts the venting of smoke. In addition, the obstruction reverses the draft (backdraft), pushing smoke, soot, and debris out of your fireplace, filling your house with smoke.

How to Warm Up Your Chimney

Warming up the flue is a simple way to prevent a cold downdraft when lighting the fireplace. Simply, tightly roll up some newspapers. Light the end of it and wave it under the flue until it creates an updraft. Once the flue has been 'preheated,' it will be easier to light the fireplace, and you'll avoid a smoky chimney. Another option would be to plug in a hair dryer, point it up the flue for a few minutes and it works just as well.

Forgetting to Open the Damper

One of the most common reasons for a smoky chimney is forgetting to open the damper before lighting the fire in the fireplace. Since it has nowhere else to go, smoke will fill up the fireplace and spill over into your living area. The damper should remain fully open until the fire is extinguished completely.

Cold Chimney

After waking up on a cold chilly morning in Kensington, MD, the first thing many folks do is grab a cup of coffee and light the fireplace to make their home warm and cozy. As cold as your home is inside, the chimney could be even more frigid, especially when the chimney is built on the exterior wall. However, since cold air is heavier than hot air, it causes a downdraft that pushes smoke into your house.

Wet Wood

Trying to burn wood with the incorrect moisture content can actually cause your fireplace to smoke. Making sure the wood you burn is seasoned properly with the correct moisture content of 15% moisture is ideal. You can purchase a moisture meter from Bethesda Chimney.

Improper Construction or Gaps in Flue

A chimney which was constructed improperly such as a smoke chamber with corbeling bricks, a smoke chamber which is too tall. or a chimney flue which is too short or has gaps can all contribute to a chimney and fireplace which does not operate properly. This can contribute to smoke re-entering your home. Your home's negative air pressure is constantly combatting against the draw of your chimney. Bethesda Chimney CSIA Certified® Chimney Inspectors can ensure that your chimney is lined and constructed properly so that your fireplace is able to achieve the best possible draw and operation.

chimney inspection and service, arlington vaHow to Prevent a Smoky Chimney

  • Have a Certified Chimney Sweep® inspect & clean your chimney annually.
  • Clean your fireplace between chimney sweep visits.
  • Burn “seasoned” firewood instead of fresh or “green” wood.
  • Ensure the damper is open fully before lighting the fireplace.
  • Never use an accelerant to light the fireplace.
  • Warm the flue before lighting the fireplace in a cold chimney.
  • Have Bethesda Chimney install a chimney fan.
  • Call Bethesda Chimney for assistance.

We Can Fix Your Smoky Chimney

Bethesda Chimney’s sweeps are highly skilled professionals. We fix smoky chimneys for residential, commercial, and government buildings in Potomac, MD, North Bethesda, MD, Rockville, MD, District of Columbia, Arlington VA, and nearby communities in Montgomery County, MD, Washington DC, and Northern VA. Call 301-969-4444 or 703-935-4444 to schedule an appointment with our experienced chimney sweep team today!

Our Certifications & Awards