Duraflame nasty smoke!!!

skubaJanuary 12, 2014

Hi Guys,

Just got my chimney inspected and cleaned a few weeks ago and it's supposedly working perfectly. After many days of "spare the air" no burn days (I am in the Bay Area) I was finally able to use the fireplace last night. To be more eco friendly decided to use the Duraflame crackling logs.

I followed all the instructions and lighting it was a breeze. Didn't produce much heat but it was nice overall. There was a bit of a weird smell, probably from something they put on it. But it was ok. The real problem came when the flame died after about 2 hours. It became a smoke machine. So much smoke that the chimney couldn't draft 100% of it. Probably about 5% went to my living room and left it with burnt smell. When the flame was lit the chimney was handling it well.

I did some research and it seems that other people have had similar problem with duraflame. I don't feel like trying another one as probably the same thing will happen. I want to burn cleaner, but if it means my house will get smoked and we will be inhaling the smoke, then it doesn't make sense.



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These problems creep up in fireplaces with inadequate chimneys; usually pre-fabs. If the stack isn't a few feet taller than the TALLEST part of the roof on the entire home, the stack effect of the house competes with the chimney reducing it's draft - especially after the hot fire dies down. If you're that worried about smoke outside (understandably you don't want smoke in the house) then just don't burn anything. Modern homes with inexpensive poorly designed chimneys (unfortunately the norm) will have these problems with any fuel, there's little you can do other than change the system.

As far as the duraflame's themselves, yes, they tend to do what you describe. A small, cool fire doesn't produce enough heat in the firebox to keep itself going after it has burned down to a certain point and the smouldering pile of wax and wood chips is what you end the night with, although not a problem inside if your chimney is drafting properly.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Hi Berlin,

Thanks for the response, but my house is not modern. It's actually a 1940 house and my chimney is 4ft+ tall. I am attaching a picture.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:35PM
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In your case, the problem is not height over your roof, but rather, height in relation to surrounding objects, lack of thermal mass, and, most importantly, lack of overall stack height. Looks like it was some kind of early "pre-fab" steel firebox, probably not original to the house, but possible.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 7:09AM
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It's definitely original. So bringing the chimney higher would help with draft? Might not even be allowed by code.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 1:52AM
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bringing the stack a few feet higher would help with the draft, you should have at least 15' from the fireplace throat to the termination of the stack, more is better. As far as code, it would be rare that you wouldn't be allowed to bring the stack higher - where you run into problems is finding a double or triple wall stack that is listed to meet with your existing stack and inspectors don't like to see anyone switching brands or styles of pipe on the same stack.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:38AM
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