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gem2009
Fireplace smoke fills the room

We have a double sided fireplace made of irregularly shaped stone. We have problems getting the smoke to rise and not come into the room. We've had it cleaned and the expert said it was in good condition. He said the smoke is not rising either because 1) there is too much open air around the fire or 2) the stack is not high enough. We are attempting to fix the open air issue first before the latter.

The stone is stacked standing up, laying down, and some are even on a diagonal and jet out a bit to create depth. Because of this, the surface is not flat. Also, both openings are square but they do not have perfect edges because of the irregularly stacked design. We've installed new glass doors which were meant for larger openings, but the metal frame still does not cover some of the gaps. Some gaps are large enough to stick my hand through and some I can stick my finger through. Is there a good solution to help seal these gaps? In my dreams there is some type of flame retardant expanding black foam. :) But I don't know if that would look nice. Any thoughts on how to solve this problem? Also, has anyone ever had to extend their fireplace stack?

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Erin

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

Erin,

Are you a skilled fire starter / maintainer?

To have a successful fire, you also need to make sure the flue get hot enough to exhaust the smoke by taking up with the hot air out the flue. If you have a smoldering DuraFlame log, that isn't going to produce enough heat to get that masonry flue hot enough to do its job. This can be exacerbated if the outside (of your home) air temperature isn't far enough below the inside air temperature. You need a high differential in temperatures to also make the chimney function well.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

Sometimes you can get a draft stated by rolling up newspaper, lighting it, and holding it up the chimney just as you light the fire.

Jack

dj1
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

Does the smoke enter the room all the time or only when it's windy outside?

gem2009
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

Thanks for the responses! We actually do hold a lit rolled up newspaper as high as we can before starting the fire. We have gas so we get it ripping enough to get a good deal of heat up in the flew (or so we think this should help). I am not sure if it has been windy or not (something we will start considering). We've lit the fire about three times since we've added the glass to both sides. The glass seemed to help. I think only one day has been really cold (something we will start considering also)... I'd still like to light the fire no matter how cold it is outside. When the fire is really big we see almost all of the smoke going upward. But as the fire gets smaller, the smoke starts to escape from the top and sides of the glass doors. So we thought if we could seal those gaps we could encourage the fire to move upward. Do you think these gaps should not matter? Do you think if we had a stronger draft that the gaps would not matter? Hmmmm....

Thanks for the insight!

Erin

gem2009
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

We are currently using wood we bought from the gas station in a bundle. We think this wood is very dry.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

If you seal off both sides how will you get air to the fire?

Jack

gem2009
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

Thanks for the replies. All of the feedback has been very good insight. I lit a fire again tonight in order rethink your comments. The temperature outside is 38 degrees F. There is a slight breeze but it is not windy. The temp inside is 70 degrees F. I started the fire with wood we got from the gas station. I stacked the larger wood on the outside and the kindling on the inside. (mind you - we have a double sided fireplace which is approx 33 inches tall and 42 inches wide. It is about 33 inches deep). For the kindling I used smaller pieces of the gas station wood and some dryer lint. I used the fireplace gas to get the fire blazing for the first minute. After that the entire fire place was roaring when the gas was turned off (both sides were open and only the screens were closed). At this point there was only a small stench of fireplace aroma. But once I stopped stoking the fire, the fire began to dwindle. As the fire was dwindling the air in the room seemed to become filled with the faint smell of smoke. After a while, the whole room (open floor plan is about 700 square feet) was smoky and foggy) YUCK! I don't know what I should do at this point?

gem2009
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

I was wrong, the temp inside is 65 degrees F.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

It may be your chimney is not tall enough, it must be above the surrounding roof structure, or that it is oversize. You might consider installing a round steel chimney pipe inside your square flue. Round chimneys draft better than square chimneys. The steel pipe also prevents soot and creosote buildup, which reduces the draft inside your chimney.

Jack

ed21
Re: Fireplace smoke fills the room

It sounds like you have a poorly designed fireplace & flue. Your best bet to fix it might be to get a fireplace insert & flue installed.
Double sided fireplaces often have problems drafting properly in my experience.

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