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If your fireplace is dumping smoke into your home there is generally 1 of 2 reasons, either the damper is not open, or your fireplace has a drafting problem.

First ask yourself these questions:

* Is my damper opening all the way?
If your damper is not opened all the way, or will not open all the way, have it repaired or replaced.

* When was the last time I had the chimney cleaned?
If used as a primary heat source it should be cleaned at least once per year. This will keep hazardous creosote from building up in your flue and also help your fireplace draft better.

* Have I added any structures that may be obstructing the draft of my chimney (home additions, garages/outbuildings with high roofs, etc.)?
If you have added additions to your home with a high roof it may be causing the problem. Usually this can be fixed by adding length to your flue.

* Have I installed new windows, siding or insulation?
If you have done any major renovations to your home, especially those making it better insulated (which in turn means better sealed and less "breathing") then you may have effected the pressure in your home. Try opening the window nearest to your fireplace about 1/2 inch. On the other hand, if your home is too opened up then you may have too much free air, so try closing doors to other rooms in the home.

* Does my fireplace smoke only during high winds?
This could be due to a downdraft created by high winds. There are chimney caps designed to deflect wind causing the smoke to be sucked up and out of the chimney when wind blows.

* Does my fireplace smoke only when I first start a fire?
Pre-heating creates a draft before you light your fire and may solve this problem. There are a few ways to pre-heat your fireplace, they are as follows:
1. Set a hairdryer on high-heat and aim upward toward the flue.
2. Roll up some newspaper like a giant "Tootsie Roll", light one end and stick it up into fireplace.
3. If you have a gas log-lighter in your fireplace you can pre-heat with it.
Pre-heating only takes a few minutes and usually gets great results. Light fire immediately after pre-heating.

*Do small amounts of smoke leak out at the top of my fireplace opening?
This can be caused by an undersized flue or oversized fireplace. A simple solution can be an addition of a "Smoke Guard", installed by Chimney Cricket. The smoke guard reduces the size of your fireplace opening and may reduce it enough to create a proper draft.


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