As the rainy season in Houston is upon us, this is the time of the year that you’ll be firing your woodstove up more often.  While most woodstoves vent properly, some woodstoves seem to work just fine except when it rains. If this seems to be the case, pay close attention to the weather and if an smoke buildup issues occur in your home. If you are experiencing excessive smokiness when it rains, here are some of the potential causes of your problem.

When it rains the chimney draft in chimneys built on the outside of the house can get damp and humid. The wet masonry around the flue acts like a damp blanket, drawing heat away from the fireplace and reducing the draft, making it harder to keep the fire lit.

Another problem could be that rain is entering the chimney. There is a very simple solution; install a chimney cap. A chimney cap will keep most of the water, debris, animals out of the flue. For a small investment you can protect your chimney and your woodstove will work better.

Even if your chimney is built in the center of the house which gives it the maximum protection from the rain, we recommend that you install a chimney cap. a chimney without a cap allows the water to run freely down the flue, drawing heat from the smoke and gasses in the flue and reducing draft. A cap is the best solution.

Another reason that could be causing excessive smokiness is that water is seeping through the exterior of your masonry chimney.   You can apply water repellent to the exterior of the chimney yourself but then you might not be sure that you’re solving the problem. If you call a chimney professional to perform a complete inspection, you can rest assured that the problem will be properly diagnosed and a water repellent applied to the exterior brickwork, to prevent water from soaking into the chimney only if necessary. 

On rainy days, it can actually be warmer outside your house than inside. When this occurs it will be difficult to for your woodstove to draft properly causing smoke to buildup. You will probably need to spend some extra time getting the flue ready. Heating the flue before lighting the fire is a great way to make sure that it’s ready for use. If you haven’t been using your woodstove a lot and it’s cold and damp outside the chimney flue is full of cold air. Because the heat from the fire isn’t very hot it makes it difficult to push the cold air out, sometimes causing a backdraft.

To properly pre-heat your flue, you should build your fire stack inside the wood stove as usual with paper, fire starters etc…   The only difference is that before lighting up the fire stack roll up a couple pieces of newspaper. Light the rolled up newspaper and hold it in the flue. Be careful not to burn yourself. The heat from the newspapers will push the cold air out of the flue so that you’re the air will draft properly. This will prepare the chimney for the woodstove fire that you’re going to burn.

Give us a call at Professional Chimney Services, your Houston Fireplace, Chimney and Woodstove Professionals, we live up to your expectations.