Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: Back-drafting has been occurring in our fireplace. What can we do to make the fireplace usable? Ray

Dear Ray: When you refer to “back-drafting”, I assume that you mean your house becomes smoky. This can be caused by a poorly designed firebox or by a chimney that is too short. A qualified fireplace contractor or chimney sweep can often recommend upgrades that will correct this kind of problem. For example, the chimney height can be extended at the roof, or the lintel can be lowered at the firebox. Just be sure to find someone who is qualified to make this kind of evaluation.