How Smoke Damage From Your Fireplace Builds Up Over Time

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Cozy fireplace with firewood in the loft style home interior with brick wall background, burning fire in the fireplace, house coziness in winter

How Smoke Damage From Your Fireplace Builds Up Over Time

There’s nothing quite like a warm fire on a cold night. But while fireplaces can be comforting, they can also be a source of smoke damage. Over time, smoke from a fireplace can build up and cause health and aesthetic problems.

Even if you’re careful about burning dry wood and using a screen, smoke can still seep into your walls, ceilings, and furniture, leaving unsightly stains and odors.

A1 Cleaning can help prevent smoke damage and keep your home safe and healthy. We’ll clean your chimney and remove any built-up creosote so you can enjoy your fireplace without worry.

But for now, see how smoke damage from your home’s fireplace builds up over time.


Is Smoke From an Indoor Fireplace Bad for You?

Yes, smoke from an indoor fireplace can be bad for you. It contains many harmful pollutants, including carbon monoxide, smoke particles, and nitrogen dioxide.

If you inhale these components, you may experience eye irritation, headaches, nausea, or other severe problems.

Here are some examples:

  • Respiratory issues: These include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bronchitis;
  • Heart problems: After exposure to smoke particles for extended periods, you risk experiencing irregular heartbeats or even heart failure;
  • Cancer: This usually results after exposure to intense wood smoke for a long time and includes lung or other types of cancer.


Why Is My Fireplace Filling My House With Smoke?

Smoke Damage - fire in the room smoke comes out of doors

Here are the common causes of homes filling up with fireplace smoke, along with tips on how to fix them:

1. You Have a Closed Damper

The damper regulates airflow in the chimney, preventing smoke from backing into your home. When it’s closed, fireplace smoke can’t escape the chimney and instead flows into your home.

It’s essential to keep your damper open before you light a fire to direct the smoke up the chimney vent.

2. The Wrong Size Damper

When a fire burns in your fireplace, it creates heat and smoke, which rises up the chimney flue. But if your damper is too small, it won’t allow enough smoke out, causing the gases to back up into the fireplace and your home.

To prevent this, you should have a certified chimney sweep measure your fireplace and recommend the right size damper.

3. Your Downdraft Is Too Cold

Downdraft is a flow of air moving down your chimney. If your chimney is positioned on an exterior wall, it may get exposed to cold air, creating a downdraft that pushes smoke back into your home.

The difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures determines your downdraft’s strength. If the temperature difference is great, the draft will be strong, but if it’s less, you won’t have any fireplace smoke filling your house.

To fix this, you can light a piece of paper and hold it up the chimney vent before you start your fire. This is referred to as an updraft.

4. Chimney Block

A large nest of storks on an old brick chimney of a plant. Storks in the nest

If your damper is open, but you still have a smokey fireplace, something could be blocking the chimney vent.

The blockage may be caused by:

  • Creosote: This is a flammable substance that builds up over time. When it gets too thick, it can block your chimney and fill your house with smoke. On rare occasions, creosote buildup may even lead to a house fire;
  • Birds’ nests: Birds can build their nests in your chimney, blocking airflow and causing smoke to back up into your living space;
  • Debris: When leaves and twigs get stuck in your chimney vent, they may force the smoke back into your home.

5. Your Home Has Competing Air Pressure

If your home has less airflow, it can create negative air pressure that pulls smoke back into it.

To sort this out, you can open a window near your fireplace to let fresh air in or get an air supply vent installed to prevent a smoky fireplace.

6. You’re Burning Wet Wood

When you burn wet wood, the moisture evaporates before the wood ignites. This process takes time and energy, producing more wood smoke than dry wood.

You should avoid using freshly cut wood and ensure you dry it before lighting your chimney fire.


Can Smoke Damage Your House?


Yes, smoke can damage your house, causing both safety and aesthetic problems. Here are some examples:

  • Fire hazard: Too much fireplace smoke in your home can obscure fire exits, making it difficult to escape a fire if one breaks out;
  • Stains: Smoke may stain walls, ceilings, and furniture, making your living space look dirty;
  • Odor buildup: Odor from wood smoke is difficult to remove and gives your home an unpleasant smell. Odor can stick to many surfaces in your home, making it uncomfortable for you and the entire family.


Get Your Chimney Swept Today

How do you know if you have a properly working chimney? Well, there are many factors to consider, such as the chimney height, damper size, flue volume, and smoke shelf construction. If these sound like a lot to think about, A1 Cleaning can take a look at your fireplace for you.

We are registered with the Chimney Safety Institute of America and have experience dealing with all kinds of chimney problems, including a smoky fireplace.

We can install an outside air supply vent to breathe life into your chimney. Contact us today and connect with our professionals, who’ll inspect your fireplace to ensure you stay warm and safe.

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