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How Can I Tell if My Fireplace Is Venting Properly?

Fireplaces can add extra heat to your home during the winter, but if the fireplace isn’t venting properly, you may get a whole lot more than extra heat. Understanding how your fireplace vents can help you see the signs of poor fireplace ventilation more quickly, so we’ll explain this below. However, if you are seeing obvious signs of problems every time you use your fireplace, such as smoke blowing back into your living space, it’s time to call your Celco Heating and Air Conditioning technician and schedule fireplace repair in New Haven, CT.

How a Fireplace Drafts

Fireplaces and chimneys work on the principle that hot air rises. In a fireplace that works correctly, the hot air and toxic byproducts created by the fire will rise through the chimney and exit through the top; as this happens, the airspace that opens from this venting is filled with cool air. The cool air feeds the fire, warms up and then exits through the top of the chimney. Correct drafting creates a cyclical effect that will continue until the fire goes out.

Problems That Interfere with Venting

There are a few ways problems with your fireplace and chimney can affect venting:

  • Blockages in the chimney – when something is physically blocking your chimney, the drafting process is completely interrupted. Common blockages are insect and animal nests, an incorrectly-sized flue cap and faulty dampers.
  • Backdrafting – negative pressure is part of the drafting process in your chimney. However, if there is negative air pressure in the room where your fireplace is, the opposite can happen: instead of the hot gases and combustion byproducts being sucked up the chimney, they are sucked back into your room.
  • Firebox is too small – fireboxes and chimneys need to be in correct ratio to one another in order for proper venting to occur: for every 10 square inches of firebox, there should be one square inch of chimney flue. Additionally, the firebox should be no more than 1 inch from the back of the chimney. If the ration isn’t correct, the soot and gases from a fire could backup into your home.

If you have questions about your fireplace, or believe you may be experiencing a problem with your fireplace’s venting, contact Celco Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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