One of the main problems a chimney can have is that the smoke produced by combustion leaks inside. Besides being annoying, this poses a health problem because soot and other residues reach the nasal passages and enter the lungs, causing respiratory conditions, which worsen if someone has breathing difficulties such as asthma or a similar disease.
To prevent this from happening, it is ideal for the chimney to have good draft, although it doesn’t hurt to have something more like an extractor, which prevents smoke from escaping the chimney and saves us some headaches. Let’s see how this element, which you may need, works.
What is a chimney smoke extractor?
A chimney smoke extractor is a device designed to improve airflow and smoke extraction in a chimney. The main objective of this device is to prevent smoke and combustion gases from accumulating inside the house, thus ensuring a cleaner and safer environment.
There are several types of chimney smoke extractors, including mechanical smoke extractors, static smoke extractors, and smoke aspirators:
- Mechanical chimney smoke extractors: These devices operate by using an electric motor that drives a fan to create an airflow that extracts smoke and combustion gases to the outside. They are very effective but can also be noisier and consume electrical energy.
- Static chimney smoke extractors: These are extraction systems that do not require electrical energy and are based on the Venturi effect or the force of the wind to generate an airflow that extracts smoke and combustion gases. They usually have a dome or turbine shape and are placed at the top of the chimney.
- Smoke aspirators for chimneys: These devices are installed inside the chimney flue and use the energy generated by the combustion itself to create an airflow that extracts smoke and gases. These systems are less common and can be more difficult to install.
The type of smoke extractor suitable for a chimney will depend on factors such as the size and design of the chimney, weather conditions, and indoor air quality.
How does it work?
If you have a hood in the kitchen, you can become familiar with the operation of a smoke extractor for chimneys. Basically, it consists of a motor that sucks the smoke to force its exit through the chimney, even when the outside air can cause backdraft (known as the Venturi effect), which is one of the most common reasons for smoke inside the house. To extract the smoke, the motor activates the blades of a powerful fan, which channels the smoke to ensure proper ventilation.
There are also other models of dynamic extractors that do not require a motor. They are designed in such a way that the force of the wind moves them like a windmill, creating suction that improves the chimney draft and prevents smoke from escaping where it shouldn’t.
There are other models, called static because they do not have blades or ventilation, which simply hinder the action of the air. It is simply an extension that is placed at the end of the chimney pipe, although in areas with strong winds, it may not be as effective as it should be.
Is it necessary to install it in a chimney?
Not all chimneys require a smoke extractor, but in certain cases, its installation may be necessary or highly recommended to improve the efficiency and safety of the chimney. Here are some situations where it could be advisable to install a smoke extractor:
- Shot problems: If the chimney doesn’t have enough draft, smoke and combustion gases can accumulate inside the house instead of being expelled outside. This can be caused by a poorly designed chimney, a too short duct, or pressure problems inside the house.
- Condensation and humidity: Moisture buildup in the chimney duct can lead to condensation and damage the structure. A smoke extractor can help reduce humidity and prevent problems associated with condensation.
- Infiltration of cold air: In some cases, cold air from the outside can infiltrate the chimney and hinder the draft. A smoke extractor can help solve this problem by improving smoke extraction and preventing the entry of cold air.
Which extractor to choose?
Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to have a different model of smoke extractor or vacuum cleaner. If it’s a new fireplace installation and the draft is optimal, the area doesn’t have too much wind or is protected from it, a static extractor may be more than enough. However, it’s ideal to have some form of extraction, either dynamic or mechanical, to increase the fireplace’s performance and make it efficient. In any case, it’s recommended that the fireplace always has a smoke extraction system, as well as installing any of the types of chimney caps available in the market.
Obviously, having a good extractor won’t be useful if the chimney is not properly insulated. Therefore, it’s also ideal to have accessories that allow you to control both the fire and fuel consumption. A good draft to eliminate smoke, along with good insulation and high-quality firewood, will make your fireplace work perfectly. In addition, cleaning will be much easier, and there will also be less residue.