Troubleshooting Hints

 
Smoke Problems
Is your damper open?  If it is and the smoking continues, open a nearby window a crack for a minute or two until the fire is going well. Then you can close it again.  If it is just smoke when you light the fire, it may be because the flue is cold.  You may warm the flue by rolling a newspaper held in the damper region.  If the chimney continues to smoke, call a chimney professional.  You may be clogged by animal nests or an accumulation of soot and creosote, or it may have additional problems.

Warm up the Flue
For fireplaces, warm up the flue by holding a piece of burning rolled up newspaper in the (opened) damper region for 10 – 15 seconds.  This helps the flue establish a good draft.  Then light the tinder.

Chimney Odors
The sour, sickly odor is the smell of creosote.  The solution is to call a chimney professional to clean your chimney and install a chimney cap to prevent water from entering and reacting  with the creosote.  Your chimney professional can also recommend a good chimney deodorant to handle any remaining odor that has been absorbed in the masonry.

Creosote Buildup
Slow smoldering fires and/or the use of unseasoned wood can create “cool” smoke and weak draft.  Under these conditions the smoke condenses and sticks to the chimney’s interior, forming a highly flammable creosote.
 
 
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