Smoking Fireplaces Part 4: Fireplace Smokes on Windy Days

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Fireplace smokes on windy days is the topic for this article.

It is one of the most valued features in our homes. And all too often, the fireplace is labeled “non-working” and sits unused, because the homeowner doesn’t know what to do about a fireplace smoking problem. Here I will show how most smoking problems can be handled relatively easily, with little or no expense. We’ll cover:

  • Smoky fireplace startups
  • Smoky fireplace endings
  • Constant fireplace smoking
  • Smoking fireplace on windy days
  • Smoking fireplace on damp or rainy days
  • Smoking from fireplace in other rooms

Here’s a trick for monitoring smoky fireplaces: If you can’t see the smoke spilling from the fireplace, shine a flashlight across the fireplace opening. The light reflecting off the smoke particles will make it easy to see. 

Fireplace smokes on windy days


Chimney is Too Short:  Wind patterns around a house create pressure zones against the roof. Wind-driven pressure zones are a complicated science, but basically, if the chimney is not tall enough, a pressure zone created by wind will engulf the chimney top, forcing wind-driven smoke down the flue and into the house. 

This is why current building standards require a minimum chimney height of three feet above the roof penetration, and two feet higher than anything within ten feet of the chimney. If your chimney doesn’t meet this standard, have a professional add height to it. 

Sometimes, although the chimney is tall enough compared to the roof, its overall height isn’t adequate to overcome a driving wind. Especially for short chimneys in one-story homes, adding height above the required minimum is a good idea if wind is a problem. Ask your chimney professional for advice. 

No Chimney Cap:  A chimney is an open cavity leading into your home. As such, all chimneys should have caps. A good chimney cap, Fireplace smokes on windy day - chimneys.comconstructed of stainless steel, copper, masonry, stone, etc, will not only prevent rain and snow from entering the flue, but will also help with certain wind-driven draft problems. The science of pressure differentials is fodder for physicists. Suffice it to say that a good cap, properly installed, helps keep the wind from blowing down the chimney. 

~ Todd Woofenden

~ Asking for Chimney Information ~

After reading an article, you can ask a question about that article. Replies will come from Chimney Professionals, and sometimes from homeowners, who are giving their answer based on the information you provide. Remember that they are providing answers SIGHT and SITE unseen! 

CHIMNEYS.COM recommends that you use these comments to better inform yourself to discuss your chimney and venting issues with a professional whom you call to your home to evaluate the issue.

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