Our Company Blog

Why Is My Chimney Smoking?

If your chimney is smoking, there are many reasons why this may be occurring. Having smoke back up into your home can be a really frustrating experience, especially when all you want to do is enjoy a cozy fire. If you have issues time and time again, try out some of these methods to ensure all of your smoke goes up the chimney like it is supposed to.

Why Is My Chimney Smoking Image - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney SweepsOpen Your Damper

Your damper should be opened all the way before starting a fire. Oftentimes, homeowners forget this step, which means the smoke has no way of escaping out the chimney! As your fire burns, you can adjust it accordingly, so that you get the most efficient burn possible.

If the damper is stuck, a good cleaning may be in order. Which leads to another reason as to why your chimney may be smoking…

Check For Build-Up

As creosote and other debris accumulate in your fireplace, blockages will start to form. The smoke will enter your living room if there is not a clean pathway for smoke to escape. If you think a cleaning is necessary, call in a professional to check things over and remove any build-up throughout the chimney. A certified tech will have all of the appropriate tools and chemicals that are necessary for a thorough and complete inspection and sweep.

Inspect Your Fuel

Burning unseasoned wood will produce much smokier fires. You should purchase wood that has been dried for at least six months (but one to two years is ideal). Or, better yet, dry your own wood, so you know you are working with the best possible fuel. Unseasoned wood burns much less efficiently and uses up a lot of energy when burning through the excess moisture. This results in more smoke output.

Check Out Your Chimney Dimensions

Chimney height, flue size, and more can all affect how well your chimney functions. A certified pro will know exactly what dimensions your set up needs to be in order to run efficiently. Schedule an inspection today, so you will know whether or not your chimney is in need of some adjusting.

Adjust Your Windows

Sometimes, all it takes is opening a window or two to help the airflow adjust accordingly. A well-insulated home is good for many reasons, but it does mean your fireplace may struggle. Air needs to circulate through your home to keep a fire running, but if not enough air can work its way back in, your fire will start smoking up the house. Opening a couple windows will help get things flowing normally.

On the opposising side, your home may not be insulated enough! Too much air can also mess up your fireplace. If this is the case for you, ensure that all windows are tightly closed, especially those on the higher levels.

Call Us!

For more chimney help, call on the staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps today!

By Mike O'Mara on January 24th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Choosing The Best Firewood

When it comes to building long-lasting fires, with good heat content, you won’t get anywhere without the right firewood. And not all firewood burns the same! Making the perfect fire for your specific needs can be tricky, but once the process is mastered, you will love how efficient your fires run time and time again.

Choosing The Best Firewood Image - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney SweepsImportance of Seasoned Wood

Before choosing your wood type, you will want to ensure the wood is seasoned. Some may claim that certain kinds burn great with or without proper seasoning, but this is definitely not the case. You will get the best results with wood that has been dried out for at least one year.

When searching for seasoned wood, there are a few key characteristics you can look out for. First, ensure that the pieces are cut to a short length and that the ends are split. These factors help the wood dry out at a quicker pace. Also, look for ends that are darker, and then lift the pieces to find which ones are lightest in weight. The heavier it is, the more water it’s holding! One way to test this is to bang two pieces together. If you hear a hollow, clunking noise, you should be good to go!

Types Of Wood

The best types of wood for fire-building can vary, based upon what type of burn you are looking to create. Check out this list for more information.

  • Oak: A great part about oak is that there is plenty to go around. Once you get this wood going, it will leave you with a strong, hot burn for a long period of time. Join countless fireplace users today by using oak for your next burn! Just make sure it is well-seasoned (for a year or two) for the best possible results.
  • Ash: Ash is another great wood for steady flames, while gaining some strong heat. It should also be well-seasoned, but this is not as crucial as it is for oak. When it comes to building great fires, ash definitely ranks high on anybody’s list.
  • Beech: If you don’t have easy access to ash, beech burns similarly. Make sure it is well-seasoned before use, then light away for a long-lasting burn and an enjoyable evening!
  • Thorn: Many wonder which woods produce the least amount of smoke. If you’re looking for a strong burn with little smoke output, thorn is the right choice for you. Say good-bye to smoky living rooms and enjoy your night to the fullest.
  • Maple: Maple is a popular option because it is so common anywhere you live in the United States. This wood is great for building and maintaining strong fires, with a good amount of heat.

Turn to Weststar Chimney Sweep today for all of your chimney and fireplace needs. We are CSIA-certified and up to date on all of the regulations set in place for running a safe and efficient chimney. Contact us now! 619-338-8116

By Mike O'Mara on January 10th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment