Orange County
(714) 843-9944

Long Beach
(562) 595-5122

Los Angeles
(310) 377-8163

Orange County
(714) 843-9944

Long Beach
(562) 595-5122

Los Angeles
(310) 377-8163

Founder: Steve Lovsteen

Why Is Your Fireplace Sending Smoke into Your House?

This is a common question from many fireplace users throughout Southern California.

Smokey Fireplace Causes and Repairs in Santa Ana CA, Garden Grove CA and Irvine CA

Smoke should travel up, right? It shouldn’t travel down and out of the fireplace and into your house, right? Yes, when things are working as they should, that’s correct.

Oliver Twist Chimney & Fireplace of Huntington Beach, CA, is ready to solve smoky chimney problems that happen when things aren’t working as they should.

What Causes a Smoky Fireplace and Chimney?

As noted above, smoke naturally travels upward. When smoke from the fireplace is traveling into the home, there are several possible causes. Some of the causes are simple to reverse; others will take some work.

Debris in the flue

Leaves and twigs from nearby trees, along with the nests of birds, squirrels and other small animals, can narrow a chimney flue and impede the drafting of smoke.

The solution is to have your chimney professionally swept (cleaned) and then have a custom chimney cap installed to keep debris out.

Burning damp logs

Unseasoned (damp) wood makes far more smoke than dry, seasoned wood. The smoke may be so plentiful that it can’t all get from the firebox and into the flue.

Solve this problem by burning logs that have had at least six months to dry out.

Inoperable fireplace damper

Over the years, a damper may become damaged. A leaky chimney can cause rust to form on a damper. If the damper won’t fully open during a fire, smoke may back up into the home.

The solution is a damper inspection and then either repair or replacement of the component.

House is too airtight

Newer homes are built pretty airtight. This is good for heating and cooling, but it isn’t always ideal for fireplace use. If the house is too airtight, there won’t be sufficient air to form a draft and move smoke up and out of the fireplace.

Solve this drafting issue by cracking a window or two near the fireplace.

broken fireplace damper in CA

Negative air pressure

Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans create negative air pressure in a house. Normally, you don’t notice it. But if you have a fireplace that’s sending smoke into the room, exhaust fans might be the culprit. This problem is solved by simply turning off the fans while using the fireplace.

Creosote and Soot in the Flue

Creosote in the Chimney Flue in Anaheim CA, Redondo Beach CA, and Hermosa Beach CA

Creosote forms when smoke condenses in a chimney. Over time, creosote and soot can build up to the point that the flue narrows and smoke backs up into the house.

The solution here is the same as with debris: have an experienced chimney sweep clean out the chimney. (Note that creosote is highly flammable, so that’s another good reason to have it removed on an annual basis.)


Call the California Chimney Experts for All Your Chimney Problems

Oliver Twist has built a solid reputation across 30-plus years by providing timely solutions to all types of chimney problems, including chimney efflorescence, smoke backups, and drafting impairments. Our only job is to keep your chimney and fireplace running safely and at peak efficiency.

Speak with a California chimney expert today at (714) 843-9944 or get in touch with our handy contact form.

We offer chimney sweeping, repair and inspection services as well as fireplace and stove installations in Huntington Beach CA, Long Beach CA, Torrance CA, Anaheim CA, Santa Ana CA, Fullerton CA, Buena Park CA, Laguna Beach CA, Dana Point CA, and many more SoCal communities.