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Readers offer tips on eliminating fireplace smokiness

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Recently we answered a question from Larry, a reader who was having a problem with his fireplace. Seems that whenever he started a fire, he was nearly smoked out his house. Larry questioned us about a previous column in which we recommended that a couple install a chimney-top damper to lessen the smell of ash in their house when a fire was not burning. The damper will stop outside air from migrating down the chimney when the fireplace is not in use, but Larry wondered how a damper would help the smoke problem in his house. It won't. We suggested Larry's problem was insufficient combustion air, which is required for a fireplace to draft properly. As often happens, this response generated reader feedback. When this feedback contains solid alternative suggestions or valuable information, we want to pass it along. Two readers responded to our column about the smoky fireplace. Homeowner Greg Hartwig supplies a practical tip, and Steve Tillman, a professional chimney sweep, provide...