The common causes of smoky chimneys are either that the wind is too much let in above at the mouth of the shaft, or else that the smoke is stilled below. They may also proceed from there being too little room in the vent, particularly where several open into the same funnel. The situation of the house may likewise affect them, especially if backed by higher ground or higher buildings.
The best method of cure is to carry from the air a pipe under the floor and opening under the fire. Or, when higher objects are the cause, to fix a movable cowl at the top of the chimney.
In regard to smoky chimneys, a few facts and cautions may be useful; and a very simple remedy may often render the calling in of masons and bricklayers unnecessary.
Observe that a northern aspect often produces a smoky chimney.
A single chimney is apter to smoke than when it forms part of a stack.
Straight funnels seldom draw well.
Large fire-places are apt to smoke, particularly when the aperture of the funnel does not correspond in size. For this a temporary remedy may be found in opening a door or window--a permanent cure by diminishing the lower aperture.
When a smoky chimney is so incorrigible as to require a constant admission of fresh air into the room, the best mode is to introduce a pipe, one of whose apertures shall be in the open air and the other under the grate; or openings may be made near the top of the apartment, if lofty, without any inconvenience even to persons sitting close by the fire.
This species of artificial ventilation will always be found necessary for comfort where gas is used internally, whether a fire is lighted or not.
Where a chimney only smokes when a fire is first lighted, this may be guarded against by allowing the fire to kindle gradually; or more promptly by laying any inflammable substance, such as shavings, on the top of the grate, the rapid combustion of which will warm the air in the chimney, and give it a tendency upwards, before any smoke is produced from the fire itself. If old stove-grates are apt to smoke, they may be improved by setting the stove further back. If that fails, contract the lower orifice.
In cottages, the shortness of the funnel or chimney may produce smoke; in which case the lower orifice must be contracted as small as possible by means of an upright register.
If a kitchen chimney overpowers that of the parlor, as is often the case in small houses, apply to each chimney a free admission of air, until the evil ceases.
When a chimney is filled with smoke, not of its own formation, but from the funnel next to it, an easy remedy offers, in covering each funnel with a conical top, or earthen crock, not cylindrical, but a frustum of a cone, by means of which the two openings are separated a few inches, and the cold air or the gust of wind no longer forces the smoke down with them.
If these remedies fail it will be generally found that the chimney only smokes when the wind is in a particular quarter, connected with the position of some higher building, or a hill, or a grove of trees. In such cases the common turncap, as made by tinmen and ironmongers, will generally be found fully adequate to the end proposed. A case has occurred of curing a smoky chimney exposed to the northwest wind, and commanded by a lofty building on the southeast, by the following contrivance.
A painted tin cap, of a conical form, was suspended by a ring and swivel, so as to swing over the mouth of the chimney-pot by means of an arched strap or bar of iron nailed on each side of the chimney. When a gust of wind laid this cap (which, from its resemblance in form and use to an umbrella, is called a paravent or wind-guard) close to the pot on one side, it opened a wider passage for the escape of the smoke on the opposite side, whichever way the wind came, while rain, hail, etc. were effectually prevented from descending the flue.
_To Clean Chimneys._
The top of each chimney should be furnished with a pot somewhat in the shape of a bell, underneath the centre of which should be fixed a pulley, with a chain of sufficient length for both ends to be fastened, when not in use, to nails or pins in the chimney, out of sight, but within reach from below. One or both of these ends should be adapted to the reception of a brush of an appropriate construction; and thus chimneys may be swept as often as desired, by servants, with very little additional trouble.
_To Extinguish a Chimney on Fire._
Shut the doors and windows, throw water on the fire in the grate, and then stop up the bottom of the chimney.
The gas produced by throwing a handful of flowers of sulphur on the burning coal, where a chimney is on fire, will immediately extinguish the flames.
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