As the hot air expands, it rises in an effort to equalize itself with the cool air outside your home. Why Your Fireplace Smells in the Summer When wood is burned in your fireplace, a natural by-product called creosote forms on the inner walls of your chimney… We do too. The draft is the pressure difference between ambient air and the less dense flue gases within the chimney. A chimney downdraft can also cause smoke to spill into the room during windy days. Special types of chimney caps, however, can take advantage of the wind to eliminate backdraft. These caps consist of two hoods positioned to guide the wind around the unit. No longer is pressure inside the home stable – it’s changing all the time to a greater or lesser extent. The structure will still endeavour to equalise pressures. If there is any reason to suspect that there could be any factor which could contribute to a negative pressure situation, you should consider installing a permanent air vent to allow fresh air into the home and to equalise inside and outside pressures. Building codes require a chimney to stand taller than anything else on the building within 10 feet. Replacing an undersized flue liner isn’t cheap or easy, but it’s well worth the investment if you’re experiencing downdrafts with your fireplace. Adequate air change is vital to ensure good appliance operation and the expulsion of these pollutants so that risks to health are minimised. But remember that true downdraft is rare, and, providing that the manufacturers chimney specifications are followed, in most cases negative pressure is caused by other factors. Some homeowners believe hat all firewood is the same. The solution is to terminate the flue outside the negative pressure bubble, or in less severe cases simply to open a window on the wind affected side to equalise pressures. While these conditions still affect good fireplace operation today there are other considerations to be taken into account. If the problem still exists when these potential causes have been checked, then it may be necessary to resort to the methods recommended by Stegmeir. This hot humid summer air will enter your home through the chimney, and raise the humidity level and temperature inside your home, making the air conditioner work harder to remove the heat and moisture from the air. It makes a great deal of sense to install a chimney cap, when you look at the benefits.There are, however, some problems which can occur because of a chimney topper, particularly involving wire mesh. If your chimney is shorter than this height, you may experience downdrafts when using your fireplace. An undersized flue liner can create downdrafts by restricting the ventilation of smoke and hot air. As a result, they burn locally sourced fresh firewood with a high moisture content. It is generally caused by either deflected air currents or chilled flue gases. To understand why a downdraft happens you need to know a little about the operation of the chimney. You can probably build a few fires using fresh firewood with a high moisture content without any ill effect. Eliminate Summer Chimney Odors . A rule of thumb is that on a house with a good roof pitch, the flue should terminate about 600 mm above the ridge. Stoves, for example, use them to vent smoke and hot air outside the home, whereas bathrooms use them to vent moist and humid air outside the home. Yes, it's a colonial. Remember that negative pressure which results in egress of combustion products from a heating appliance is a serious problem. Measure the diameter of the thimble and buy a plug for it at your local stove shop. It all depends on hot air rising – the hotter the fire the faster the air rises. This downdraft (or backdraft) condition results in poor combustion, smoke, and odors. Assuming the damper is open, hot air from the wood-burning fire will push the smoke up through the flue and out the chimney. Not only does kiln dried firewood help protect against downdrafts; it also produces more heat. In this case a flue should terminate about 2 metres above the roof. Even if you have a chimney cap that will deflect most rainwater, it can become damaged, allowing water and pests to get inside the chimney. If it’s windy outside, wind will blow across your roof while entering your chimney and creating a downdraft. When using your fireplace, make sure all exhaust vents in your home are turned off. This can be especially bad during the hot, humid months of summer if your chimney has significant creosote buildup. By experimenting with different damper settings, you can avoid downdrafts with your fireplace. Determining and testing for negative pressure zones within a dwelling is a fairly sophisticated and time consuming job – yet one which is not outside the ability of the average installer, providing they understand the affect positive and negative pressures have within the home. When a fuel is burnt, the products of combustion are hot, and expanded. If an exhaust vent is turned on, it will pull air your fireplace, which could lead to a downdraft. As a result, the molecules are distributed more widely and therefore these gases are less dense and lighter than the surrounding atmosphere, and rise. What other influences may affect air pressure within the home – unsealed fireplaces – extractor fans – clothes driers – central vacuum cleaning systems. As seen in our “Part 1: Fireplace Backdraft and Chimney Downdraft” the home is constantly sending warmer air to higher and higher floors of the home. Obviously maintaining a constant warm flue temperature helps – hence the need to insulate some flues. Hi all, I cant find my copy of Ianto's book so ill ask here. If it’s the flue is too small, however, it will trap hot air. In turn the fire burns poorly, and if it is starved of enough combustion air, will eventually go out. Solve Your Chimney Downdraft Problems Downdrafting occurs when wind blows down the chimney and into your home causing it to feel breezy and cold or hot depending on the season. As we know, warm air tends to rise to the higher point of the house and if there are any leaks in this upper region, the warm air will leak to the outside (if the outside pressure is lower than that inside). Ranking the Best Campfires from Classic Movie Scenes, Why is my fire so smokey? Air currents can be deflected down into a chimney… We also provide a complete installation warranty. This is because hot air is less dense than cool air. Thus, the draft effect is caused by air inside the chimney being pushed up the chimney by the house air. Today it’s called “negative pressure” and it’s what causes a smoking fireplace – and affects the quality of the air in the living space. Wind can enter short chimneys more easily than tall chimneys. Some of the organic wood matter will convert to heat, but others will be released into the air as soot. In reality true “downdraft” is extremely uncommon. Also known as a fireplace shroud, the chimney shroud is also primarily a protective appliance that prevents rainwater from getting into the chimney. Assuming your flue liner is the right size, you should evaluate the type of firewood you burn in your fireplace. Then there’s the problem of “stratification” of heat within the dwelling. Result? The vertical must penetrate the verticals at the mid point by “.33d”. At one time or other, most chimney sweeps and technicians have recommended the installation of a specialized "anti-downdraft" chimney cap only to find that it did not cure the problem. It’s not uncommon for fireplaces to draw fresh air through the flue and chimney rather than the interior space — a phenomenon known as a downdraft. Ensure that the flue from a wood heating appliance is installed in accordance with the manufacturers instructions – and ensure that it terminates outside the pressure bubble which is formed over the house. Unfortunately, not all fireplaces work as intended. When a downdraft occurs, exhaust from the fireplace that should be vented outside the home backs up into the living space making your indoor environment not only uncomfortable but dangerous. This provides for proper control of pollutants. And in the pressure war it’s those appliances which rely on natural pull, created by normal differential pressure, which miss out. 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