How to Diagnose Your Smoking Fireplace Problem
It is important to understand that there is a balance between the Fireplace opening size , Flue dimensions , Chimney height, and Air supply.
There may be more than one factor affecting this balance and causing smoking!
The following is a very simple 'Two Stage' method we always use when investigating a flue system:
The Draw Test
Examines degree and strength of air movement into the fireplace and the possible reasons for failure
The Tinfoil Test (see note )
Examines the effect of restrictions in the flue, air starvation plus any incorrect proportions between the flue height, internal size and fireplace opening
Each stage will give us information which should allow us to establish where the problem lies.
The sections on Restrictions, Chimney pots, Ventilation problems, Air starvation, Down draft, and Flue sizing provide information relating to the two main stages and for your assistance to understand our terminology there are links, photographs and examples through out.
There are going to be scenarios that the tests don’t cover and this site is intended to show you just the basics so that you are better informed when consulting an engineer.
If you have recently purchased your property or opened up a fireplace which has not been used by you then only the ‘Draw Test ’can be carried out prior to a camera survey or sealed smoke testing to make sure the flue system is 'fit for purpose'.
Click here to go to Appendix E, Part J Building Regulations 2010 and note the rear of the publication for more detailed information.