Smoking fireplace problems

Solution for Smoking Fireplace

by Isa Stralian

A Smoking Fireplace

Many years ago I had a very distressed gentleman call me and asking if building a house in a certain location would give cause an ill performing fireplace.

I asked as to how he came to call me and said that the architect told him I was the person to call when nothing made sense.
Flattering?…… not really.
This means he has been well and truly fleeced by the so called experts, and I get a client with a problem, with no money to fix it.

His dream, to build and live in a house with an open fireplace, had turned into nightmare.
This 400 s/m architecturally designed home sitting on a hill, with twenty acres of scenic and serene views on all sides, had a fireplace that didn’t work.

I asked why he was under the impression he had built his dream home in an unsuitable position.
His architect had suggested as much after several attempts to rectify the fireplace problem .

Fireplace design

Fireplaces are a relatively simple construct built by observing the natural principles involved… and not dictating your own.
Drawing a two dimensional fireplace on paper, and building one, are two different skill sets.
One doesn’t guarantee the other.

A good bricklayer or stone mason does not translate into a good fireplace builder and only too often you hear, ‘beautiful fireplace, ‘only smokes a little’, ‘occasionally’.
Fireplace aesthetics are introduced to a working design, and should never form the basis of the design.

The balance between the combustion chamber and the flue requires a connection between the two called a transition.
The transition area is constructed so as to create an even flow with, minimal resistance, between the two.

In his instance the transition area was disproportionate.
This prevented the escape of the smoke from the chamber into the flue and forcing it back into the room.

Schematic for Condor Draftmaster anti down draft terminal/ Cowl

Some brickwork was removed from the transition area, a Condor terminal/cowl fitted to the top of the chimney to introduce the correct back pressure……and ‘voila’, a working fireplace.

A considerable amount of money had already been spent on hearsay advice of neighbours, friends and architect, all based on speculation and supposition.

To be fair, architects tend to rely on the supposed trades , perhaps a little too much, and in today’s climate, where everyone knows a little……… but never enough is a recipe for disappointment!

Condor Kinetic

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