(630) 553-5995

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 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 fire-starting.

Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration has some possible answers to your back puffing problem. When your fireplace is smoking up the room instead of going up and out the chimney, the cause is likely a weak draft in the chimney flue. There are several potential causes of an insufficient draft in the flue, including:

  • A blockage in the flue (caused by animals or debris)
  • Unresolved chimney damage
  • Poor chimney construction
  • closed chimney damper
  • Newly constructed homes can reduce airflow

Any of these could be the reason why your fireplace is smoking up the room. 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 with the most cost-effective and most efficient solutions to the problem. For more information on why you need a CSIA professional, check out our blog 5 reasons you should choose a certified chimney sweep service.

If you need a Naperville area fireplace diagnosis, chimney sweep, or repair, Valley Chimney is definitely your solution. We provide many far-western Chicago suburbs with chimney services. You could say we are your go-to western Chicago Suburbs chimney sweep. Keep reading our blog to help you learn more about why your fireplace might be smoking up the room occasionally.

What Causes My Fireplace to Smoke Up the Room?

Back Puffing (when my fireplace is smoking up the room) indicates that a fire is producing smoke faster than the chimney draft is pulling it out. Valley Chimney helps provide a better understanding of why your fireplace may be back puffing in the informational blog below.

Burning habits and fireplace installations vary, because of this it’s important to read all the possible causes of back puffing to discover a solution to minimizing and fixing fireplace malfunctions. Smoky fireplaces are not ideal and can be dangerous. Valley Chimney is here to help find a solution to fix the chimney smoke from coming into your home.

Why Does My Fireplace Smokes When I Try to Light It?

Uncle George might have failed his merit badge in the 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 that may solve the problem of your fireplace smoking up the room.

Can Lighting My Fireplace on a Windy Day  Cause Smoke to Come into the House?

If you have noticed your fireplace causes smoke to come into your home on windy days it’s most likely this is a downdraft problem. This means the outdoor high winds are causing a draft down your chimney due to an oversized flue, a too-short chimney, or a lack of a 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 expert might recommend replacing your chimney cap and adding a flue stretcher or an exhaust fan.

Why Does My Fireplace Smoke Sometimes, For Seemingly No 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. A new home with tight seals could be the answer to the question, why does my fireplace smoke randomly? Limited airflow can be pulling the smoke into the room.

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.

Burning fireplace in a 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.

7 Reasons Your Fireplace Is Back Puffing

In addition to the reasons listed above, there are a number of reasons that your fireplace might be smoking up the room. With the help of Valley Chimney, you can fix your fireplace and get back to enjoying your home’s greatest feature.

  1. Tight Home Construction
  2. Leaky, Broken, or Poorly Constructed Chimney
  3. Crooked Pipe Layout
  4. Blocked Passage
  5. Air pressure
  6. Overdry firewood
  7. 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. Request an appointment online!

Why DIY Chimney Sweeps Are Dangerous

It is important to understand that DIY chimney sweeps are dangerous. After discovering your chimney malfunctions may require a chimney sweep you may think to yourself “I can just watch a tutorial for a DIY chimney cleaning”. This project leaves no room for error and is a maintenance project you do not want to complete on your own.

DIY Chimney Sweeps are dangerous because…

  • Inaccurately performing chimney sweeps can lead to chimney fires
  • Increase the risk of severe injuries
  • Might miss diagnosing structural damages which can lead to significant complications
  • No room for error
  • Unlikely to have the required tools to perform the job

What Is A Chimney Sweep?

A chimney sweep is a critical procedure that needs to be done at least annually to keep your chimney and fireplace functioning properly. A Certified Chimney Sweep Professional will come to your home to complete the chimney sweep, inspect your chimney, and sometimes if needed provide necessary chimney maintenance. You can learn more about What To Expect From a Professional Chimney Sweep Cleaning?

Hire Valley Chimney for Your Fireplace Maintenance Needs

Valley Chimney provides a variety of standard chimney services to homes across the western suburbs of Chicago. Valley Chimney is your area’s trusted full-service chimney sweep and restoration company. Let us help to get the chimney smoke out of your home, we get the job done!

Holding the longest-running chimney sweep certification in the US, the Dearborn family business can help you with all your chimney needs. A second-generation family business, Valley Chimney knows the neighborhoods like Plainfield, Naperville, and Oswego and wants to add you to the list of clients that choose Valley Chimney as their go-to chimney sweep and restoration provider.

If you are in need of any of the following chimney or fireplace services turn to Valley Chimney

For well over 40 years, our primary company focus is to make residential chimneys safer to use, and enjoyable. With constantly updated skills, techniques, and the latest equipment, our goal is to be your certified chimney sweep time and time again.

From the time you call to make your appointment to knocking on your door until our company car rolls out the driveway, we are focused on fulfilling your every fireplace and chimney need. Valley Chimney is here to help your fireplace stop smoking in your home.

Contact us today for all your chimney maintenance needs, and let’s get this chimney smoke out of your house.

Back To Blog