Optimizing Chimney Performance
There’s an art (or, more accurately, a science) to constructing a chimney system that performs well (by efficiently drafting and venting the byproducts of combustion) and looks great. Draft, when we’re talking about chimneys, refers to the flow of the hot air and gases (from the fire in your appliance) up and out of your home. Proper draft is key to your chimney working as it should.
If you’re experiencing performance problems, such as smoking or backdrafting, there’s a good chance it has to do with your system’s draft and flow. At Coopertown Services, we have the expertise to troubleshoot your system and provide recommendations for improving and optimizing your chimney’s performance.
The Basics Of Draft
The chimney system is a complex system, but the way it works is based on three fundamental principles:
1. The difference in air pressure inside and outside of your chimney.
We all know the saying, “Hot air rises”. Well, this fact works into the pressure in your chimney. Heated air coming from your fire rises up, which creates a lower level of pressure in the lower part of your chimney. That lower pressure encourages air in the room to move toward the fire, and a cycle of draft carries forward.
2. Flow, or the rate at which air is traveling through your chimney.
Proper flow is created by combining certain properties in just the right way. These properties include: the chimney’s height; the cross-sectional area of the chimney; the temperature of the gases in the flue; and the air outside.
3. The way your chimney interacts with the rest of your home.
Your chimney is a system, and your home is a system. Everything in your home, from the doors and windows to the chimney, has an effect on the way air moves around. And, of course, your fireplace and chimney need a certain amount of air in order to work properly. Our modern, energy-efficient homes tend to be sealed up tight, which is great, but doesn’t always have the most positive effect on a chimney.
Correcting Internal Flow Dynamics To Achieve A Better Draft And Flow
Coopertown Services technicians are well-versed in the physics of chimneys, so we know what to do to help you improve your chimney’s performance.
Solutions to drafting issues can sometimes be really simple. You may simply need to: prime the flue before a fire (by holding a lit, rolled newspaper up above the firebox before you light your fire); open a window before starting a fire to allow more air to flow through the home; or, simply check to make sure the chimney damper is opened.
The roots of draft issues can also be far more complicated: there may be an obstruction or some kind of blockage in your flue (from creosote or debris); the flue may be incorrectly-sized for the appliance it’s venting; the smoke chamber may have been sized incorrectly; or, your chimney may be too short to create proper draft (it should terminate at least three feet above the roof).
Coopertown Services can take a close look into your system, figure out what factors are contributing to your performance issues, and pose solutions. We’ve spent more than 35 years learning the ins and outs of properly functioning chimneys, and we want to help you make the most of yours.
We Build High Efficiency Fireplaces, Too
Coopertown Services also builds high-efficiency Rumford fireplaces and chimneys, which reflect more heat and have superior draft. We can even modify existing, contemporary chimneys.
Are you experiencing chimney performance problems? Coopertown Services can help. Call us at 901-358-7777 or click here to schedule an appointment!