You are enjoying a morning cup of tea by the fire, protected from the icy cold winter elements outside. You take a bite from your toast and the sticky jam slides off onto your fingers. You step over the sink to rinse your hand and turn on the hot water faucet. The hum of the propane water heater starts up and warm water begins dispensing. Suddenly, your fire has been reduced to ash and your house is flooding with black smoke! In a panic, you open all the windows and the front door. As fresh air floods in, your house adjusts to the frigid outside temperature.
The above scenario outlines what we have been struggling with for several months. During the summertime we have not had this problem. During that time, one or more of our windows have always been open preventing an air vacuum from forming when we do certain tasks. When air gets displaced from our home, the smoke from our chimney gets sucked down to fill the void.
We have come up with a few practices that help us avoid the vacuum problem.
- Do not shower unless a window is cracked
- Do not open or close the front door while building a fire
- Do not turn on the bathroom or kitchen fan unless there is a very strong fire or a cracked window
- Avoid opening the door or activating air circulation anytime after a fire has burnt out because there is still smoke sitting in the chimney
Cracking one of our windows it is not an ideal situation in -40°C but we have no other choice.
Most importantly, I have been working on practicing patience. One slip of the hand can be a huge setback and neither of us are perfect. Over time, these practices will become second nature to us and I doubt we will even notice.
If you have also struggled with this problem or have any advice please comment and share!
-The Copper House