A draft coming from your chimney might sound harmless enough, but it can actually be a hazard to your health. Chimney drafts can often be indications of other problems impairing your chimney’s function, and can contaminate the air you breathe in your home.
An obvious problem with a chimney draft is that it can fill your home with smoke whenever you light a fire. We all know that smoke is not good for our lungs, and can cause respiratory issues and cancer. Even when there isn’t a fire burning, a draft poses another potential problem. If there is any moisture inside your chimney, this moisture will create mold spores in the air chamber of your chimney that fill the air inside your home. Mold poses health risks, such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rash, and respiratory issues.
Chimney drafts can be caused by any number of things, and can often be a guessing game when it comes to discovering the real source of the problem. It can be anything from negative air pressure, a faulty damper, buildup or blockage in the chimney flue, or an incorrectly sized flue, among other things. If you have your chimney inspected and cleaned routinely, this can eliminate many of these possibilities.
Here are three things you can do to help reduce chimney drafts:
- Open a window or door. This can reduce negative air pressure in the home created by appliances or home renovations. Things like operating the clothes dryer, taking a shower, or even flushing a toilet take air out of your home. If you have a newer home, the chimney might be the only source of air. Fire also consumes a lot of air, which can pull air down instead of letting smoke go up.
- Open the damper. Make sure your damper is open when you light a fire.
- Make sure fire grate is as close as possible to the back wall of the firebox. This helps the smoke go where it needs to, up and away.
If these do not help, it is important to contact your chimney sweep to see if there is another problem. Things like smoke guards or exhaust fans can be installed to help eliminate this pesky and dangerous problem.