Wood Burning Fireplace, Little Smoke Coming In, plus more.


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Old 12-06-11, 06:54 PM
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Wood Burning Fireplace, Little Smoke Coming In, plus more.

We live in a third floor apartment which has a wood burning fireplace, it is a shorter flu going up the chimney and as a result, we sometimes get a little smoke in the apartment once in a blue moon while. My apartment has a loft and I have noticed that I will get a lot of wood smell up here anytime we have a fire. However, we use duraflame logs which are supposed to be less polluting then real wood. The main room which has the fireplace which is a lower floor doesn't put out a whole lot of smell, but down the hallway on the same floor, you could smell a little bit of fireplace/wood. We've had almost 30 fires or so since September, and I recently bought a Creosote Sweeping Log which we plan to burn soon, but the box says after 60 fires is when we should use it. Now tonight when having a fire, I didn't really see smoke coming in, but sometimes the flames will be big in the firebox which I think sometimes puts out more wood smell and my smoke alarm went off because of it. Is it because of the wood smell? Now the inside of my firebox does need to be cleaned such as walls inside it scrubbed which is something we do once in a while and of course, I think it's time for a CSL log which are rather expensive too. I have also noticed a lot of surfaces are getting black on them too. I changed a filter on my air cleaner last month and it's gotten quite black in spots again and I only run it when having fires because of how bad the smell gets in my loft area. What is causing all this? What should I do so that this isn't a major problem? Also, about a month to a month and a half ago, we had our wall repainted white because we did have a lot of smoke come in because we thought we had the damper open all the way but it wasn't. It's gotten quite black again and I would think only little smoke wouldn't make it that black.
 
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Old 12-07-11, 04:47 AM
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I'd start by cleaning the flue, I don't know how effective a 'Creosote Sweeping Log' would be.
 
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Old 12-07-11, 06:24 AM
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I will add that the chimney was supposedly cleaned before we moved in this past spring. We live in an apartment complex.
 
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Old 12-09-11, 06:45 PM
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Update:

Yesterday, we burned the CSL log, when doing so though, we did notice a strong smell coming into the apartment, but didn't see smoke. We figured the smell was normal. Tonight, we had a fire and somehow, the apartment got smoked out. I however didn't seem to see smoke coming out of the fire, but when the flames are big in the fireplace, I don't usually see a lot of smoke in the fireplace. And tonight, we used the duraflame regular log plus added 2 stax logs which are supposedly supposed to be cleaner. I hadn't put up the smoke alarm in the loft yet but it was in the storage closet up there and somehow, it went off again. We can't understand how the apartment got smoked out, the flue was wide open. What could be the cause? It almost to me seems like there's a block somewhere.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 04:15 AM
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Is it possible to inspect the flue? it sure sounds like it might be restricted.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 05:13 AM
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Yeah. Stick your head in there with a flash light and look up the flue. Those creasote cleaning logs should not be relied upon for keeping your flue clean.

Burning wood smells like burning wood whether or not it puts off thick smoke. The less smoke you see, the cleaner the burn, but that doesn't mean there isn't flue gas getting into your apartment. A natural gas burning furnace shows now smoke and can be lethal if vented into your home.

Smoke detectors will detect smoke too small to be visible.
 
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Old 12-30-11, 08:34 PM
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To let everyone know:

A few Sundays ago, we decided we would try and have a fire to see if we would get smoke in the apartment and sure enough, we did. It took like 45 minutes to really notice it, but I could actually see smoke coming in at that time.

We put in a maintenance call about it the next day and they decided that it was time for the chimney to be inspected. The inspector did say that the chimney should be cleaned, but according to the apartment community manager, she said it was cleaned within less than a year. Now the weather was a bit windy and rainy the day the chimney was inspected so the inspector said he wasn't sure if he would get up to the roof to see what he could see. Well, somehow, he did make it up to the roof, but we didn't find out until a week later. What he found was that the screen that was on our chimney which prevents animals from getting into the chimney was covered in lots of black caked on stuff which therefore was preventing smoke from getting out. So they replaced the screen and everything was good to go. We've been having fires every night since Wednesday the 21st or so. We're still burning duraflame logs every fire, but the community manager also said that we should burn real wood in there once in a while too. Real wood puts out a lot of smell in the apartment which is very hard to get rid of. So that's where we are at for now.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 05:29 AM
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Good to hear things have been fixed. I don't see any reason why you need to burn real wood. To the best of my knowledge, the Duraflame logs are wood dust/shavings compressed together with some wax.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 03:17 PM
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35+ yrs ago I worked in an artificial fire log factory for a short time. The logs were made of heated up sawdust and glue [?] There was a strip of sterno on the top to make them easier to light. I don't remember the brand.

The only reason I can see to burn real wood is if you can burn the wood hotter which helps to keep the soot down in the chimney. I usually have a slow burn in my wood stove which means it's best if I clean the flue 2-3 times thru out the winter. I also have a wood stove in my shop. I almost always have a hot fire in that stove and that chimney hardly ever needs cleaning.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 06:01 PM
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When you say the real wood puts out a lot of smell into the apartment, that would still concern me, even though you found a smoking gun, of sorts. I burn wood all of the time and the only smell is outside when we get a temperature inversion and the smoke rolls to the ground.

If a CO detector hasn't been mentioned, it would be good.

Bud
 
 

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