Enjoying a warm fire on a cold evening is one of the simple pleasures in life, but not when that beautiful crackling fire is accompanied by the eye-burning smell of smoke.
There are a number of causes for fireplace smoking problems, many of which are easily remedied.
If you live in areas prone to wind, such as the coastal or mountain region, or even off of a canyon or hillside, there is a very simple solution–a chimney wind cap.
The difference between a Wind Cap and a standard Chimney Cap
A standard chimney cap serves several important purposes:
* Prevents embers from landing on the roof;
* Prevents animals and other critters from entering the home through the chimney;
* Prevents rain from going into the chimney system; and
* Prevents debris, leaves and pine needles from entering the chimney.
A standard cap, however, will not prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
What is a Wind Cap?
Wind caps have the same benefits as standard chimney caps but due to the design, wind caps have the added benefit of preventing wind from going down the flue which can cause smoking problems in your home.
Wind caps work on the same premise as weather vanes. They rotate on a turret, turning their back to the wind while allowing the smoke to exit the flue pipe. The wind currents flow over the cap, instead of going down the pipe. The air current going past the wind cap creates a venturi effect (partial vacuum) in the pipe, helping to prevent the downdraft that creates the smoking problem. The hood of the wind cap also prevents horizontal rain from entering the flue pipe.
Where to find a Wind Cap
Unlike universal standard chimney caps, wind caps must be custom sized to fit the flue pipe. This requires taking accurate measurements of the inside and outside diameter of the flue pipe as well as the shape of the chimney flue pipe. The measurements can be tricky, especially for the odd-sized or odd-shaped flue pipe. Wind caps have to be special ordered to fit properly. It is recommended to hire a professional chimney sweep to measure, order and install a wind cap. To find a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, go to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website.
One precaution with a wind cap
Please be aware that a wind cap cannot be installed on a pre-fabricated fireplace system due to the U.L. listing on the pre-fab fireplace. A wind cap can be installed on a masonry chimney and the pipe of some freestanding wood stoves and stove inserts.
Fireplace smoking problems may be easily resolved. Don’t just accept a fireplace smoking problem. Nothing should take you away from enjoying one of the simple pleasures in life.