Fireplaces are one of the fastest and most effective heating methods that exist and, if it is installed in a central room, we will see how efficiently and pleasantly it will heat all the rooms in these icy days of the winter season.

During the cold season, we come home and anxiously light the fireplace, but before feeling the expected delicious heat, we may encounter an unpleasant incident.

A terrible invasion of smoke.

The smoke that sneaks into the house from the fireplace, is not only unpleasant, but comes to permeate our curtains and furniture. Sometimes the smoke that enters the house from the chimney is very mild, without becoming annoying, but enough to notice that smoky smell that fills the room and furniture in the day or days after using the fireplace.


This unpleasant appearance of smoke comes from various reasons.

From the existence of an obstruction in the chimney duct, to an excessive accumulation of soot that can narrow the duct, ignited without prior heating of the chimney. It can also be generated by short or inclined chimney tubes, or wet wood, among others.

If we solve each of these problems, no smoke currents will be generated in our home.

Open and object-free chimney draft

We’ll start with the most obvious. Although it seems unlikely to happen to us, it may happen that the chimney shot is closed and we realize after turning it on and noticing the great smoke. The lesson? Let’s make sure to open before starting the ignition.

After a time in disuse during the hot season, before using our fireplace we must make sure that there are no objects clogging the smoke outlet duct. Although it seems uncommon, they can appear from bird nests, lost objects, etc. In the event that this happens it is better to leave the cleaning of our chimney in qualified hands.

Do not insert objects into the fireplace to light it

Falling into the temptation or error of feeding the fireplace with cardboard, papers or other objects for burning, is inadequate and stimulates the creation of more soot. And instead of turning it on faster, it will create a smokescreen inside the home.

Soot and creosote cause smoke from the chimney to enter the house

The accumulation of soot is a factor to consider, since the smoke and gases produced by the fire give off micro particles that tend to accumulate on the walls of the duct, can even cause the upper gate to clog.

When the wood burns next to the fuel, various substances are formed that will combine with the moisture of the wood. This mixture produces a kind of grease or waste that gradually clogs the duct.

We can avoid it or solve it by doing periodic maintenance, consisting of reaching each part of the duct and cleaning that film of soot and accumulated fat. It is advisable to go to professional personnel in this area for a better result and safety.

Cold air vs. warm air

As for the previous heating of the chimney, it is recommended, especially when it has stopped using for a long time.

At the beginning of the cold and before lighting the fireplace it is advisable to heat the shot of it. You can use a long stick to which a piece of cloth or lit paper is tied, introducing it through the chimney duct for a few minutes before lighting. With this we will be able to heat the accumulated cold air, and prevent the smoke from returning when finding a cold air plug.

Construction defects

Another problem that we can find when using our fireplace is to discover that it has been built without following the regulations, which stipulate the width and height they must have according to the size of the room that is going to be heated. Or that they have installed shorter pipes than necessary. In this case we must resort to experts for the repair or correction of our installation.

Moisture in wood

The use of firewood to light our fireplace is one of the most common methods to protect us from the cold winter and not use fossil fuels.

Choosing the one we use is extremely important to obtain the desired heating and to avoid smoke when turning it on. It is advisable to cut the firewood well in advance so that it can dry or “age” for six months or more. When collecting firewood should be cut to dry faster, and keep it safe, either indoors or covering it to prevent moisture from taking over the logs again. Therefore, we must buy firewood that is already dry or let it dry before using it.

Extractors and hermeticism

Also the installation in the room of extractors, or the proximity of these can cause a type of suction to occur that would attract the smoke current, making it enter instead of letting it out.

This type of suction can also be seen when we have our home airtight. As we know, for the fire to burn, a certain amount of oxygen is required, which will not be found in sufficient quantities in a hermetically sealed house, as it does not burn we will only produce smoke. Just by opening a small air inlet we will provide enough oxygen to light the fire and the smoke ends.


After reviewing one by one the most common reasons why our chimney smokes inside our home, and give it a solution and prevention so that they do not recur. We will give you tricks to remove that unpleasant residual smell in our belongings.

It is advisable to mix warm water and ammonia in equal parts to rub walls and floors. It is also advisable to spread a little baking soda, on the fabrics of curtains, furniture and carpets, leave it for a few hours and then thoroughly vacuum all the dust.

Finally, we must point out that the preparation and cleaning of our fireplace in the days before the start of the cold season will avoid unpleasant surprises and unnecessary inconvenience.

Whether you go to a specialized company with highly qualified personnel or if you dare to perform basic cleaning on your own, we must always remember that continuous maintenance is always necessary and effective.

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By Catharine Bwana