Common problems with fires and stoves

There can be a number of reasons why your stove or open fire isn’t working properly.

Perhaps you are having trouble starting a fire, or you are finding that it is blowing smoke back into the room. Obviously, some issues are more serious, and require different levels of attention than others.

Here are a few common issues with fires, and suggested actions to take (please see the disclaimer at the foot of the page).

Q) My fire won’t light. What can I do?

A) There could be a number of reasons. Firstly, before you even attempt to light it, double check that the chimney isn’t blocked or it has been swept recently by a trained sweep. Fire needs oxygen and if it isn’t getting enough, it will either not start or be smothered out. Call in a professional to find the exact solution.

Q) My fire is smoking back into the room. Why is this happening?

A) Again, there could be a number of reasons. Perhaps the flue is blocked (even so get a chimney sweep in to diagnose the exact issue), or perhaps you have an issue with down draught. This is generally caused where either the chimney isn’t tall enough, or it is surrounded by taller structures such as trees or neighbouring buildings. This creates a negative air pressure downwards. There are a number of solutions available, such as a taller pot or changing the cowl. Flues on outside walls can also be problematic, as they are cold and don’t ‘draw’ well until they have been warmed up.Always speak to a professional to get bespoke advice.

Q) Soot is falling into my fire grate -what should I do?

A) This is a sign that your chimney needs sweeping. Book Mr Soot online here.

Q) I’m getting smoke from my downstairs fire appearing in another room in the house. Why is this?

A) This his could be because the integrity of the flue has failed – meaning you will need repair work carried out or a new/fresh liner.  If you have an open chimney in another part of the property, it could be causing a back draught. This is particularly common with open fires, as they such a large amount of air from different places (hence why you need an airbrick). Never continue to use a fire which is doing this until you’ve had bespoke, professional advice.

DISCLAIMER: Please note though that this is only a rough guide and cannot possibly hope to cover every circumstance. My advice is to always call in the professionals so they can diagnose the specific issue.