10 Tips to improve the chimney draft of the open fireplace

Many people face issues with the draft in their open fireplaces, even in new constructions. Below, you'll find several tips to minimize smoke from a smoky fireplace. These suggestions range from simple to more involved solutions:


1 | Ensure a fast, hot start to the fire

Initiate the fire with quick-burning wood types like poplar, pine, willow, and alder, along with a lighter block, to quickly establish a warm airflow through the chimney. This heat generates the necessary draft to sustain the fire. Opt for the Swiss or reverse lighting method, proven by Swiss research to enhance firewood combustion by lighting from the top down. Begin by placing two or three medium-sized logs on the bottom, spaced apart. Stack three layers of kindling across these logs, then add two lighter blocks on the kindling's second layer from the bottom. Light the blocks to start. Watch this video for a visual guide.



2 | Only burn wood that has been dried for two years

Burning wood that hasn't properly dried makes starting and maintaining a fire more challenging. After initiating the fire with quick-burning materials, continue with slow-burning woods like oak, beech, birch, and fruit tree wood, ensuring they have dried for at least two years for efficient burning. Avoid quick-burning wood in this phase to prevent excessive sparking and environmental harm due to high particulate emissions.


Fireplace with good draft


3 | Keep a fireplace fire going with bellows or a blow poker

Maintaining a steady burn is crucial for sustaining chimney draft and reducing smoke. A steady, smoke-free burn is both efficient and environmentally friendly, requiring careful attention during the fire-lighting process.


Blow pokes for sale

Browse our current online stock of 50+ antique and vintage fireplace blow pokes



4 | Build fires on andirons and/or fireplace grate or a fire basket

Using andirons, a fire grate, or a fire basket allows air to circulate under the fire, improving burning efficiency and sustainability. You can test the effectiveness of this ancient technique in your fireplace by imitating andirons with stones.


Antique andirons for sale

Antique andirons for sale

Explore our online stock of 400+ antique and vintage andirons and firedogs


5 | Increase the height of the fireplace grate or of the fire basket

Raising the fire grate or basket brings the fire closer to the chimney, warming the flue and immediately improving draft. Experiment with stones to test this method's impact.


Fireplace grates for sale

View our current selection of 100+ antique and vintage fireplace grates


6 | Open the window and turn off the kitchen exhaust hood

An open fireplace consumes a significant amount of air for combustion and exhaust. In well-insulated homes, this can create negative pressure, drawing smoke into the room. This issue may also arise with the use of kitchen exhaust hoods. While opening a window offers a solution, it's less desirable in cold weather. The kitchen's exhaust can also affect fireplace draft.


7 | Lower the opening of the open fireplace

Attaching a fireproof glass strip, around 15-20 cm high, at the fireplace opening's top can direct airflow closer to the fire for improved burning. Historically, fabric strips were also used. Testing with a temporary wallboard can offer insight into this method's potential benefits.


8 | Install an air vent

Adding an air vent near the fireplace can enhance airflow. Ensure professional consultation before installation to evaluate this method's suitability for your space.


Fireplace grates for sale


9 | Install a ventilator in or on the chimney

Though effective, installing a chimney ventilator can be a significant and costly step. It may require electrical work and annual maintenance. Seek professional advice before pursuing this option.


Fireplace with good draft


10 | Improve the smoke channel

If previous measures fail, enhancing the smoke channel may be necessary. This could involve enlarging the channel, smoothing its interior, or extending its length. Professional advice is strongly recommended for these modifications.


Fireplace grates for sale


Browse our webshop

Browse here our current online stock of 100+ antique and vintage fireplace grates or fire baskets

Browse here our current online stock of 400+ antique and vintage andirons and firedogs

Browse here our online stock of new fireplace grates for andirons

Browse here also our current online stock of 500+ antique and vintage firebacks to further decorate your fireplace

Browse here also our current online stock of 100+ antique and vintage fireplace screens to further decorate your fireplace

Browse here also our current online stock of 300+ antique and vintage fireplace tool sets to further decorate your fireplace

Browse here also our current online stock of 1000+ other antique and vintage fireplace accessories to further decorate your fireplace


Learn more

What is the purpose of andirons and fireplace grates?

10 Tips for choosing a fireplace grate or andirons

12 Tips for eco-friendly fireplace use

Do I need an ash pan in my fireplace?

How do I decorate my fireplace?

Which fireplace accessories do I need?

Which fireplace tools do you need?

Nice gift ideas for fireplace lovers

How do I ensure that my fireplace burns hot?




Posted in FAQ