Back Puffing – Why Does My Fireplace Smoke Into My Home Occasionally?

fireplace smoke coming into home

It’s a cold winter evening and you decide to light a fire. Great idea!

However, you were expecting that the smoke to go up the chimney and not come pouring into the family room. Ugh. You’re wondering now if this back puffing is caused by a serious problem, a fluke breeze or by Uncle George’s failed Boy Scout merit badge in firestarting.  Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration has some possible answers to your back puffing problem. However, we must add a disclaimer that every situation is different and the safest way to diagnose the problem is to call a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep to do a full inspection and provide you the most cost-effective and most efficient solutions to the problem. If you need a Naperville area chimney sweep, Valley Chimney is definitely your solution. Actually, we are local to the many far western Chicago suburbs; you could say we are your go-to western Chicago Suburbs chimney sweep.

My Fireplace Smokes When I Try to Light It.

Uncle George might have failed his merit badge in fire starting, so we’re here to help you with a tip to get your badge. If your fire smokes when it is first lit, it could be because the flue is cold. Before you light your fire in a cold fireplace, try warming up the chimney’s flue. Simply roll up a piece of newspaper and light it like a torch and reach it up into your fireplace as far as your arm will go, take your arm away and light the fire. This will draw the smoke to the pre-warmed flue rather than into your home. It’s a simple inexpensive solution and hopefully that solves your problem.

Lighting My Fireplace on a Windy Day Seems to Cause Smoke to Come into the House.

Most likely this is a downdraft problem, meaning the outdoor high winds are causing a draft down your chimney due to an oversized flue, a too-short chimney or lack of chimney cap. The good news is that there are solutions that a certified chimney sweep can put into place for this problem. We here in the Midwest US and cornfields of the Chicago suburbs see this problem often as the winter winds roll through. Your chimney sweep might recommend replacing your chimney cap, adding a flue stretcher or an exhaust fan.

Sometimes My Fireplace Just Starts Smoking With No Rhyme or Reason.

Newer houses are more energy efficient and therefore sealed tighter than older ones. Sometimes changes in air pressure in your home can cause a negative pressure that will change the fireplace airflow. This could be caused by kitchen exhaust fans, opening or closing of doors and windows or simply placement of the home on a hill. Your chimney sweep might recommend a makeup air kit to equalize the air pressure in your home.

No Matter What I Try, I Always Get a Smoke in the House When I Light the Fireplace.

In an effort to be safe, stop lighting fires until you bring in a professional chimney sweep to assess and inspect your chimney. We don’t want your home and your family to be in danger and if the fireplace is constantly sending smoke into your home, you could be causing more harm than you think. In addition to the reasons listed above, there are a number of reasons that your fireplace might be sending smoke into your home:

■ Tight Home Construction

■ Leaky, Broken or Poorly Constructed Chimney

■ Crooked Pipe Layout

■ Blocked Passage

■ Air pressure

■ Overdry firewood

■ Seasonal Changes

The good news is it’s all fixable! Back puffing happens often and can be remedied. It also serves as a good reminder to get your chimney inspected and cleaned by a local,Certified chimney sweep, who you can trust. Give us a call.There are ways to correct these issues.

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“I highly recommend Valley Chimney! They were fast, clean, dependable, professional, thorough, polite & very informative! Completely impressed! And their customer service is great!”

‐ Sherri B.

Ottawa, IL

8940 D Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995

Service over 40,000 clients across the western suburbs of Chicago