Why Isn’t My Fireplace Working?

by on March 7th, 2015
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It’s getting colder outside, so it’s also time to get that fireplace roaring to keep warm. But, what’s this? Your fireplace won’t stay warm, or isn’t getting hot enough? Well, why not? Your fireplace worked just fine last year, you think…or perhaps it’s your first time using your new fireplace and you have no clue what is going on. All that matters, though, is that you have a fire going in your fireplace but you are still flippin’ cold. Why isn’t your fireplace working? Well, there are a number of reasons why…

If your fireplace isn’t working, airflow could be a major issue. What interferes with airflow the most is the accumulation of soot in the fireplace, which is a sure sign that you should consult a chimney sweep and get that fireplace into a safer mode of function. If a fire won’t hold or the hot air just isn’t heating your house up and you haven’t had your fireplace cleaned in a timeframe you can remember, then you should get ahold of someone who can clean out that fireplace for you. Chimney fires are most caused by lack of cleaning out the fireplace.

note: if you have had your fireplace cleaned in the last year or so and your fireplace isn’t working, try scooping out some of the ashes in the fireplace to allow better airflow. Also, check that damper and make sure it’s fully open. Sometimes it can be neglected, which keeps proper air circulation from occuring. Without that hot air being circulated, guess what? No warmth for you.

Your fireplace could be a haven for critters without your knowledge. Particularly if you haven’t used your fireplace in a while or you have never used it before, birds and squirrels can decide to use your chimney as a lovely little home, cramming your chimney full of twigs, grass, and their babies. If you don’t have a chimney cover and your fireplace just won’t work, it could be some unwelcome guests plugging it up.

What type of firewood you are using is an easy fix for why your fireplace isn’t working. Obviously, dry, older wood burns better and hotter (and longer) than wet, green, fresh wood. If you are trying to light green wood on fire, or wood wet from snow or rain, then you may need more assistance to get that wood burning. A great tool to have on-hnd for just this occasion is a newspaper log, which is super easy to make. Simply roll tightly your old newspapers and light them like you would a log. They will burn quickly and help get your stubborn wood to light.

If your fireplace doesn’t work no matter what you do, there are some other factors that aren’t quite as easy to control that could be the culprit, such as your chimney being too short or too tall, or your flue not being wide enough for airflow. The best way to know for sure what is making your fireplace not work properly is to call a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep can get your fireplace going on the right track, and can also help ease your mind by cleaning your chimney properly.


http://www.csia.org/ (Chimney Safety Institute of America)

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