We live in the Westchester area of Los Angeles and have an old (1947)
brick fireplace, and, even though recently cleaned, it still smells.
Is their any "magic" to burning a clean fireplace, where the smoke goes
up the chimney and the heat into the house? I'm trying understand the
affect of other doors opening, etc. Also, even if damp (on the outside)
wood was added, would not any smoke generated go up and not in?
I once had another fireplace which was "deeper" and did not have this
problem. Should I light fires in the "back" of the firebox?
I assume you know how to start a fire. Build it as close as you can to
directly under the chimney opening.
It must be hot enough to get a draft going for the smoke to travel up the
chimney. For every cubic foot of air going up the chimney, another cubic
foot of air must enter the house. That is one eason fireplaces are not very
efficient. You can have a net loss of heat.
If you don't get enough air infiltrating the house, it will try to draw air
down the chiney agains the draft taking the smoke up. Try cracking open a
windonw in the room to bring in fresh air. New fireplaces and woodstove
oftenhave an intake build in to minimuze the already heated air that wil be
sucked out of the house.
This is pretty much what I do. I keep a door open for a few minutes and
try to get the fire hot quickly with bellows to heat the chimney and get
an upward draft.
All other suggestion are welcome.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
I assume that by "smells" you are referring to the odor of wood burning.
A properly built fireplace (and some are not) will not release smoke
into the living area. You may need to heat the chimney some in order to
cause smoke to rise in the chimney. I would guess that a 1947 home is
not so tight as to require that you open a door or window to provide
"make up" air to allow the chimney to function.
I find that with one of my fireplaces it helps to burn a few pieces of
wadded up paper when the logs are first lit to encourage the fireplace
draft. After the fire is established I have no problem with the chimney
not drawing smoke up the chimney. Years ago I bought an excellent
monograph on chimney construction (an art form in itself) in a shop at
Longfellow's Wayside Inn. It was the basis for several fireplaces that
I had built which worked very well. Unfortunately I loaned it to
someone who never returned it and I don't recall who. The attached link
is a useful substitute.
Thank you for the reply. Any more suggestions are welcome. I always
start the fire with some paper and it heats up quickly, and the draft up
the flu is strong and obvious. But, it's later as the fire is burning
slowly, and on its way out, that the smell begins.
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