Fire baskets and smoking fireplaces
Fire baskets are simply a container to stop the spread of the fire bed, especially when burning wood
To burn coal properly it requires an air supply under the basket unlike timber which can easily burn on a solid base. If you are burning mainly wood it is more economical to allow ash to build up to the base of the basket to prevent the air entering below and causing a rapid burn. (See photograph bottom right).
Many say that by lifting a basket up it will cure a smoking chimney problem, it may cure the symptom but not the overlying problem.
As the fire burns brightly with a huge air supply under it the hot gasses will increase the draw but it's is a high price to pay in fuel costs. By reducing the opening the draw will increase naturally enabling a controlled burn and directly on the hearth if preferred.
In the photograph (top right) the basket under the canopy has had its legs extended in an attempt to stop smoke spilling out of the canopy. Fuel usage is high and the fire still smokes occasionally. To reduce the opening we have suggested temporary side panels could be fitted to the canopy or the gap between the hearth and canopy reduced by adding a layer of bricks to echo the base size of the canopy (as in photograph bottom right).
When testing we have asked for the basket to be removed and the fire placed in the ash tray to gain true readings . The experiments are on going but the results will be mentioned in our blog when received.