Smoky Fireplace Troubleshooting & Repair

Picture this. You’ve just gotten in from a long day at work or running errands, and you’re finally ready to get a fire going, sit down, and relax for a bit. You’re in your favorite chair, you’ve got your favorite beverage, and you’re about to turn on your favorite show when suddenly… is that smoke in your living space?

This scenario is, unfortunately, all too common for fireplace owners, and it’s one that should be addressed as quickly as possible. Not only is it a clear indication that something is wrong with your system, but it could put those within your home at risk too – especially if they’re already prone to respiratory problems.

Why Is My Fireplace Smoking?

The biggest issue with smoky fireplaces is that getting to the root of the issue isn’t always an obvious, quick, or easy task. There are a number of things that could be causing smoke to enter your home, so your best bet is to let us know you’re having trouble, then schedule an inspection, so that we can do some troubleshooting.

We find that most smoky fireplace issues are caused by these common problems:

  • Your chimney is too cold. Cold air is heavier and more dense than warm air, which is why lighting a fire in a cold chimney can often force smoke into your home. To combat this, roll up a newspaper, light it, then hold it up into your flue for a bit until the flow of air reverses. Or consider investing in a top-sealing damper, which seals at the top of your flue, rather than the bottom. This ensures your flue stays nice and warm when not in use.
  • Your home is too tight. Newer homes are known for being sealed up tight and well-insulated. This is beneficial in many ways, but can lead to some struggles when you try to light your fireplace. Essentially the air moving out of your home (through the chimney) isn’t being replaced quickly enough by the air coming in, which causes your draft to reverse and smoke to enter your living room. A quick fix is to open a window to invite in some make-up air, but we’d be happy to help you find some longer-term solutions.
  • You have a clog. Clogs can come in the form of excess creosote deposits, a buildup of outside debris, or even animals and their nesting materials. Whatever the case is, though, one fact remains – they need to be removed.
  • You have masonry damage. Sometimes, if your bricks or mortar joints are crumbling or facing damage, smoke can sneak out of the chimney and enter your home through these pathways. Some masonry repairs will be needed, and we can see if there are any other issues occurring, like leaks or water damage, that might be causing decay too.

Like we said, these are just a few of the many reasons why smoke may be entering your space. The most important thing you can do is call us in right away so we can get you the resolutions you need – and fast. We’re a crew that will never rush or cut corners when completing a service, so even if the problem doesn’t present itself right away, rest assured we’ll take the time to find it, confirm it, and then resolve it.

But Before You Call…

But wait! Before you rush to your phone to call us in, check out one more thing first… was your damper open when you lit your fire? This is an easy fix that you won’t need to call on an expert for, and it could save you some time and expense if that was the problem. (And if it was, don’t feel silly… this is one occurrence that is much more common than you’d think.)

And if your damper is supposed to be open, but doesn’t seem to be functioning quite right, then that’s something to call us in for too. We can fix things up or equip you with a newer, more reliable model.

Say Good-Bye to Your Smoky Space

Say good-bye to your smoke issues for good by giving us a call at 570-221-4113 today. We’re certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), and completely confident that we can fix your system up in no time.


Our chimney repairs include masonry repairs and replacement so you can rest easier knowing your fireplace is safe to use.