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Chimney and Fireplace Smoke Backup

Also referred to as fireplace smoke in house, and chimney smoke problems.  Fireplace smoke back up can be attributed to a multitude of different things.  Superior Chimney provides many proven products and services that eliminate fireplace smoke back up from all chimney types.  Finding out the cause (s) of fireplace smoke backup is usually a very technical task.  

  1. Is your damper fully open?
  2. Is your firewood green or wet from rain or snow?
  3. Is your chimney dirty?
  4. Is your chimney tall enough?
  5. Is the flue large enough for your fireplace opening?
  6. Is the chimney on an outside wall of your house?
  7. Is your home too tight?
  8. Is your home  too loose?
  9. The other 92 reasons for fireplace smoke back up may have to do mainly with design problems when the fireplace was built.

A true understanding of fireplaces requires extensive knowledge of airflow patterns, pressure differentials, and actual fireplace construction techniques.  John will be able to assess your chimney and its termination environment to pin point the cause (s) of your fireplace smoke back up and prescribe the resolution.


Drafty House and Fireplace

Also known as down drafts. Fireplace cold drafts may be attributed to a multitude of different things.  Most fireplace cold drafts are due to internal negative pressures which are likely induced by other forced air systems & other exhausts in your home.  Other fireplace cold draft factors may include exterior barometric pressures, stack location on your home (inside or outside), a whole house chimney (stack) effect, dynamic wind loading, or wind downdrafts.

Heated air has lower density than cold air, so the warm buoyant air in your house wants to rise through the roof, while the cold heavy air in your unused fireplace chimney wants to flow downward causing a drafty house. If there are pathways in the upper stories or roof to allow the rising warm room air to escape, that warm air will flow up and leak out of your house and replacement air will flow down the chimney and in through your fireplace (fireplace cold drafts). The stack effect is more pronounced in taller, leakier houses and in houses with cold draft chimneys (like chimneys on outside walls, exposed to outdoor temperatures for their entire height & length).

Rainy weather also accelerates the stack effect causing fireplace cold drafts, because the wet air entering the chimney is heavier than the dry air in the house.

Live comfortably, not in a drafty house - Call John today to assess your fireplace cold draft problem!


Chimney Odors & Fireplace Smell Solutions

Also known as smoke odors, campfire like smells, chimney smells, or fireplace odors.  Fireplace smells and chimney order problems may be attributed to a multitude of different things. 

Fireplace smells come from  creosote deposits in your chimney, a natural byproduct of burning wood. Chimney odors are usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high, on rainy days, and/or when the air conditioner is running. A good chimney sweep may help minimize your fireplace smell but will not solve your problem.

Creosote absorbs into the porous masonry construction inside your chimney, embedding the fireplace smell beyond the masonry's surface (much like the walls of your firebox stain black with use). A chimney speep will remove the surface buildup of creosote to prevent an ignition (chimney fire), but the chimney odors remain absorbed into the masonry surface causing fireplace smells.

The real problem is air coming down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems.  As air moves down through your chimney, it brings the inner fireplace smells & chimney odors along with it.  It is likely that your chimney is just the victim of a negative pressure problem.

Some causes of pressure change & fireplace smells entry are:

  1. Inefficient damper closures.
  2. New furnace, boiler, and/or water heater.
  3. New windows and/or doors.
  4. Home additions.
  5. A change in your roofing ventilation (attic fan).
  6. Stove range exhaust fans.
  7. Dryer vent exhause.
  8. A neighbor's house has increased in height.
  9. When you burn upstairs do you get chimney smoke or fireplace smells downstairs?

The tight sealing, energy top mounted damper may help reduce or minimize the airflow (fireplace smells) coming down your chimney.

A true understanding of fireplaces requires extensive knowledge of airflow patterns, pressure differentials, and actual fireplace construction techniques.  John can assess your chimney and its termination environment to pin point the cause (s) of your fireplace smell and prescribe the resolution.

Live comfortably without fireplace   smells & chimney odors.


Water is a chimneys worst enemy. Chimney leaks, fireplace leaks, and water damage may be from exterior water intrusion caused by no chimney cap, crown cracks & deterioration, mortar joint deterioration, cracking in the masonry construction, flashing & roof leaks, shoulder slab gaps, foundation cracking, and/or flue gas condensation (over or under sized chimney liners).

All the brick and other materials that make up your home are protected by the roof and eave, all that is, except your chimney. The chimney sticks up above the roof constantly exposed to all the elements; rain, snow, wind, and the freeze & thaw cycles of winter - all the while absorbing water with the need for waterproofing.

Most masonry materials are very porous and absorb large amounts of water that will expand & contract through the freeze & thaw cycles of winter, causing undue stress, cracking, chimney leaks, fireplace leaks, and integrity loss.  This endless cycle will progressively escalate the severity of chimney leaks & increase the cost of fireplace chimney repairs.

Masonry water damage caused by chimney leaks is sometimes a slow, subtle process. Chimney leaks are often not evident until it has become quite serious.

Protect your investment from chimney leaks:

  1. Have professional grade chimney caps installed.
  2. Repair or replace a damaged chimney crown. 
  3. Repair deteriorated  brick and mortar joints
  4. Repair or replace a leaky flashing.
  5. Have your chimney waterproofed!


American Chimney Services - John Dotson - 417-839-0713
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