Negative air pressure sucks the smell into the house instead of out of the chimney. A top closing damper could be a quick and simple fix to the problem. A creosote build-up could also cause the smell. Over time and use, creosote builds up, and when the temperature changes can cause the scent to become stronger. A simple fireplace sweep might be just what you need. If it's been some time since your last sweep, the build-up of creosote accompanied by water residue could allow the smell to sink into your tiles. Be sure to waterproof the exterior as much as possible and get a rain cap.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having your flue cleaned, also called a chimney sweep, once you have a ⅛" of creosote build-up. This is simplified by Certified Chimney Professionals (CCP) to once every 36 fires. Both Associations agree on the frequency of inspections. You should, at a minimum, have the flue inspected annually. External factors and use can change a flue's ability to work safely and correctly.
We also encourage scheduling your cleaning's at the end of the burning season, as opposed to the beginning of the season. Not only for flexibility in scheduling, but creosote is acidic, you should have it removed from your flue, sooner than later.
There are many factors that could cause smoke coming into your home during a fire, first check to see if the damper is open. A downdraft is also a possibility, a few ways this can occur is an incorrect size flue, meaning the tiles are too big for the size of your firebox. Hot air is supposed to rise, so when it builds up inside of the chimney and sits there, moisture is created. This moisture eats away at the tiles, and they crack and fall apart, causing a blockage. All of these factors can contribute to smoke entering the house.
check for a draft
set newspaper in the firebox
add wood( we recommend okay, birch, or maple, for the maximum amount of heat with minimal creosote build-up )
light with a match.
Over a prolonged period of use, tiles can crack, debris can fall, and creosote can build up. Any of these scenarios can cause a severe amount of damage to your home. Before using it, please get an inspection to make sure you and your family are safe.
Animals will crawl inside during the winter looking for shelter
The best way to prevent animals from accessing your chimney is to install a cap at the top of the fireplace.
Over time flue tiles crack due to weather, moisture, and cold air being trapped in the chimney. This allows smoke from the fire to get through the cracks and into the house.
A liner is made out of stainless steel and runs from the smoke chamber to the top of the chimney where the smoke is let out
Smoke flows up the liner and out of the fireplace and out of the house through the liner, not allowing any of the dangerous chemicals back into the house.
A smoke chamber is an area above the firebox ( where the fire burns) located just below the flue liner. The purpose of the smoke chamber is to allow smoke to mix and the by-products of the fire to vent. A properly designed and constructed smoke chamber will ensure the fireplace drafts efficiently. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke chambers are the third leading cause of chimney related fires. Corbelling, cracks, gaps in the smoke chamber allow creosote to build up and can be a potential fire hazard.