Sunday, October 04, 2009

Chill in the Air

I wasn't ready to turn on the heat. So I decided to make a big pot of soup Friday night and ask Paul to lay a fire in the grate.

The soup came out a little cheesy, but Ellie loved it nonetheless. (Ada doesn't eat soup but condescended to have a bit of fruit.)

The fire was lovely, but as so often happens when we burn anything in our lovely, giant fireplace, the whole house quickly filled with smoke.

Paul assured me that the flue was open - he even used a flashlight to check, taking a great risk with his hair. And I had chimney sweeps out last season when we were having the same problem. They pronounced our chimney already clean and in great shape.

So what gives?

I like seasonal fires - safely contained behind those dated glass doors, of course - but would prefer that my eyes not water and my furniture not smell like wood smoke for weeks after each burning.


Jennifer said...

That soup looks yummy!!!

Sarahlynn said...

It is! And Ellie loves nothing more than to take the leftovers to school in her lunch box. (I pack a roll for dipping and a large, absorbent cloth napkin, too.) :-)

Krupskaya said...

You might just have a bad flue that doesn't draw well. The house I grew up in had a fireplace, and all of our fires were smoky, sluggish nightmares. When Mr. K and I moved into our current house, I was amazed that smoke never, ever EVER came out of the fireplace. My parents have since had a experts look at their flue and they say it's just built improperly (and of course would cost thousands to fix).

You might want to stick with boughten firewood that's been kiln-dried -- it will smoke less. Or just use the fake logs. Good luck with it. It's a nightmare. Seriously, when I saw how well our fireplace here drew, I called my parents right away.

Krupskaya said...

Delete "a" before "experts." Sheesh!

Sarahlynn said...

Krupskaya, 1) I love your diagnosis! A likely explanation other than, "we suck as adults/homeowners and can't even burn a fire properly!"

2) I also love "boughten."

3) I missed the "a" until you pointed it out. Copy editing naturally takes place somewhere between my eyes and my brain, which is what made me lousy at editorial! (And is why I was never a copy editor, rather a developmental editor.)

Nancy said...

We had a fireplace like yours when I was a kid. It was extra large and the perfect winter centerpiece for gathering our family and friends. The man who built it spent a lot of time shaking his head sadly and lamenting that it was too big, it wouldn't work properly because the cold air outside would sink down the chimney faster than the fire would be able warm the air (carrrying the smoke) and send it up.

He was right, but we were intrepid and wanted our cosy-toesies. We pretty much solved the problem by lighting the fire, and then holding a couple of pieces of rolled-up burning newspaper as high up inside the chimney as we could to warm the air and start the upwards flow.

Safety Note: "We" = Dad - who did the "dangerous" stuff at our house. Chimney warming, tornado spotting (during the sirens), and ice-thickness-checking (before our skates could be carried up from the basement), for instance. Oh ok, yeah, he did the carrying too...