9 Reasons Your Fireplace Doesn’t WorkThere’s nothing like a fire in your fireplace. But if something’s not right, you can call us and we’ll fix it for you. Our fireplace experts at A Sweep Across the Bay in Tampa can help you with chimney cleaning and repairs, and installation of a new fireplace or an insert. Our goal is to make sure your fireplace is safe and working properly. When there’s a problem, the Chimney Safety Institute of America points out there are usually 9 reasons your fireplace doesn’t work.


  1. Your House Leaks Air

If your home isn’t airtight, it can create a draft that will overpower your fireplace chimney.


  1. Your Damper Needs to be Completely Open

This is a common mistake and easy to fix, just open the damper. Sometimes water damage or soot buildup can prevent the damper from fully opening. Our chimney sweeps can get your chimney clean again.


  1. Your Firewood is Green or Wet from Rain

Dry and well-seasoned firewood is the only type you should use, otherwise, there will be more smoke than heat and it may be more difficult to start the fire.


  1. Your Chimney May Be Too Short

Your chimney should be at least 10 or 12 feet in overall height to work the right way. The chimney above the roof should be at least 3 feet tall, and 2 feet higher than anything within 10 feet of it. If your chimney is too short it may smoke and not work right.


  1. Flue Needs to be Bigger

The area of the fireplace opening should not be more than 10 times the area of the flue (12 times for round flues). If your flue is too small it won’t be able to handle the volume of smoke produced, and some of it will go back into the room. The solution may be to make the room opening smaller with metal smoke guards or some creative masonry work. There are even pre-manufactured refractory firebox retrofits that you can use.


  1. A Return Air Grill and the Fireplace Compete for Air

Because your fireplace uses air it brings cold air into the house to replace it, which makes the furnace come on in colder climates. Then air is drawn into the air return and works against the air needs of the fireplace.


  1. Your Chimney isn’t Clean

Soot gradually accumulates in your chimney. Thick layers of soot often restrict the flue so the fireplace can’t be vented. Even as much as a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of soot buildup can cause problems. A 1/2-inch buildup will restrict a masonry chimney air flow by 17% and 30% for the average prefab chimney. Sometimes we find leaves, twigs, and animal remains that are restricting the air flow of your chimney as well. We can easily take care of this and get your chimney vent working again.


  1. Your Home is too Efficient

Fireplaces need a lot of air from inside your living area to burn, but because our homes are so energy efficient sometimes there is no way to get more air in to replace the air leaving the chimney. This causes fireplaces to burn slow and often smoky. This can also create a dangerous carbon monoxide problem when your fireplace and furnace have to compete for air. We can help you find a permanent fix to what could be a dangerous situation.


  1. Air is Cold Inside the Chimney

If your masonry chimney is on the outside of the house, when it’s cold outside, the air inside of the chimney will be very cold as well. This cold air will want to go back down the chimney instead of rising. This can make the fire hard to start and may cause it to smoke more.


If you don’t know which of the most common 9 reasons your fireplace doesn’t work, is affecting your fireplace, our chimney specialists at A Sweep Across the Bay in Sarasota will find and fix your fireplace problem for you. We are a family owned and operated business with over 40 years of experience in cleaning, repairing, maintaining and installing chimneys. Give us a call. We pride ourselves in superior service and honest prices.