TRUST IN OUR KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE & SERVICE

Specialist in open fires nationwide

At Camelot we don’t do stoves. Just open fires. We understand the nuiances of open fires and appreciate the frustrations many of the people we meet when all they are offered is problems or a stove. But that’s not what they want.

We’re here to help and have many tools in our tool box to do so. We offer a personal service nationwide. If you have an issue do please get in touch.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP WITH ALL THINGS OPEN FIRES!

Call us on 01905 820181
We love to talk open fires.

Camelot near you?
We have resellers around the UK

YOUR FIRE SMOKES

Why does my fire smoke?

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The reasons why a fire may smoke are varied. Even the nature of the smoking can vary, and often gives clues to the causes. It’s worth noting that under certain conditions some chimneys may smoke, but otherwise they work just fine.

Many people live with these circumstances as part and parcel of having a real open fire, but you should always seek professional advice to address such issues.

One reason a fireplace may have a serious smoke problem concerns the fire place or chimney itself. Correct chimney performance is achieved by creating the right physical conditions for smoke and gases be drawn up a chimney.

Other causes of poor performance can be external factors affecting the ability of a well proportioned chimney to perform. A third area can be poor maintenance causing performance to deteriorate.

Camelot Thermovent Convecting open fires have an excellent track record in addressing poor performing fires or chimneys.

Smoking that isn’t a significant problem

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Only you can decide if the smoking you have is a problem. There may be a health and safety aspect, so always seek first hand specific advice if you are in doubt from organisations such as the Institute of Chimney Sweeps or National Association of Chimney Sweeps. Essentially, what we are referring to here is the occasional case of minimal smoke into the room, perhaps only upon first lighting the fire under certain rare conditions. Cold flues or freak wind conditions outside can cause this to happen, but it may not be a reason to invest time and money in changing the fundamentals of your fire.

If the possibility of smoke is such that it puts you off lighting the fire you should certainly look at a solution if you want to use the fire.

The wrong physical criteria

There is an element of science behind a successful chimney. The wrong physical criteria in a fireplace or flue will mean it won’t work at all, or will suffer poor performance which could be dangerous.

Dimensions such as flue diameter, total flue height and fireplace opening area are key criteria for a successful fire. Voids (inconsistent spaces) anywhere up the length of the flue can create pockets of cold air or smoke traps where smoke can swirl and lose momentum.

Chimney pots often get added as a relatively simple action to try to address a problem, but sometimes make them worse.

Finally, but most importantly, air supply. A fire burns oxygen, so it needs a source of air to thrive. Many modern houses have solid floors and excellent window and door seals. Thus, unless provided, the fire can’t find enough oxygen to burn and is trying to pull smoke from a closed pocket which makes the job impossible.

Camelot Thermovernt wood burning open fires have an excellent track record in addressing poor performing fires or chimneys.

Poor maintenance

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Poor maintenance of your fire or chimney may cause it to smoke overtime. A build up of soot or tar through insufficient sweeping of the chimney will reduce the effective diameter of the flue at points, as well as increase the risk of chimney fires.

Birds Nests (see picture) can accumulate a huge amount of material in a flue very quickly. Other obstructions, caused by paper rising and sticking in a chimney, can also cause blockage. More structural deterioration in the fabric of the chimney as mortar breaks down etc can cause a leaking chimney which effectively doesn’t perform to its apparent physical criteria because it is letting air in somewhere along the flue. A blocked air supply through leaves, or well intentioned but ill informed ‘draft sealing’, could also cause your fire to smoke.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP WITH ALL THINGS OPEN FIRES!

Call us on 01905 820181
We love to talk open fires.

Camelot near you?
We have resellers around the UK

External factors causing a fire to smoke

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Even in a situation where the physical criteria is right, external factors can cause a fire to smoke all the time, or regularly enough to be a problem. We mentioned poor air supply previously, but this can be a significant issue and sometimes people don’t realise where the air supply is if it isn’t an air brick. Many properties have other fires or extraction systems, or even informal flue systems such as a poorly fitting loft hatch, which can create competitition for the supply of air in a home. If that competition is strong enough it will cause your fire to smoke.

External pressure difference can effectively put an air pressure cap on the top of your chimney. Ridge lines of your roof in relation to the top of the chimney or large trees or banks close by can have a noticeable impact on chimney performance – especially on a windy day. Finally a cold chimney is full of air that doesn’t want to rise. Upon lighting your fire, this air has to get moving before your smoke can get out. This is the reason most old houses had chimney breasts – by putting the chimney on the inside it will be warmer and work better from the start. Chimneys or flues on the outer wall suffer more in this respect.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE READER. All the information on this website is provided with the intention of increasing the readers ability to identify a poor performing fire and find ways to address any such issues. Professional advice from qualified people based on specific knowledge of your chimney or fire is the only way to safely identify issues and solutions. In no way does Camelot Real Fires or any of its employees intend you should use the information provided here or anywhere else on this site to make your own diagnosis and take action to address a perceived issue. The result of doing so could be a costly failure or even result in danger and harm to your loved ones or other users of the fire. We accept no liability for any claims arising from use of information from this site for such purposes.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY

“Dear Paul, we had nearly given up hope of finding a suitable open fire for our antique French marble fireplace when I came across the Camelot website. Paul and his father were able to overcome all the problems and create a fire to fit our fire surround which none of the previous companies had offered to do.
The fire looks as if it has always been there. Not only does it look good but if gives off far more heat than a standard open fire and it doesn’t smoke – which was the case previously.”

Sue, Cambridgeshire, May 2012

FIRE DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT

Fires can look bad for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it can be hard to put your finger on the reason, but you know what you feel in your stomach when you look at it. This can make choosing a new fire even more difficult if you haven’t much experience of homes with fires in. We’ve tried to summarise the most common circumstances we have seen where clients aren’t happy with the way their fire looks. If this helps, taking a look at our OPEN FIRES DESIGN section or our OPEN FIRES GALLERY of projects might enable you to see a new look for the fire at your property.

Why doesn’t it look right?

Knowing why a fire doesn’t look right is important because it gives you confidence to move in a new direction. This is a list of the most common we have seen.

  • Out of character
  • Wrong size for fireplace
  • Too agricultural
  • Too ‘mass produced’
  • Wrong materials
  • Wrong heat source
  • Poor ‘renovation’

Out of character

When a fire is out of character it really jars with the eye. It doesn’t mean you can’t put a modern fire in an old property – some of the wood stoves look great. To some extent it depends a lot on the strength of the character in the fireplace. If you have a classic large Inglenook fireplace it will be less forgiving in terms of looks than a relatively plain new fire place. A large antique marble surround begs for a classic looking fire from the right period, not a new flame effect gel fire. If your fire place is full of character you are lucky, but to get the most from it choose your fire carefully.

Wrong size for fireplace

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All fireplaces have a proportion. The height to width ratio. The depth. Is it very tall or quite small? These dimensions mean a fire which contradicts what your mind expects to see may look like its the wrong size. To be fair, it’s usually more that the fire is too small for the fireplace. Small fireplaces tend to define themselves.  A big fireplace, however, needs a fire big enough to look the part. The trouble is you can’t just keep scaling up ad-infinitum. Choice of style and materials can help to make the fire appear bigger than it is. To our eye something with this stove isn’t quite right. You may disagree.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP WITH ALL THINGS OPEN FIRES!

Call us on 01905 820181
We love to talk open fires.

Camelot near you?
We have resellers around the UK

Too agricultural

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We see a few cases of fires that look too agricultural. Sometimes it’s a case of craftsmanship applied in the wrong area (a canopy may look too solid because it may have been welded from heavy gauge steel). Sometimes its a case of function over form in the design of some fires; too much focus on how it works rather than what it looks like. The other aspect we see here is excessive brickwork. The most common is a brick ‘box’ built in the middle of a large inglenook fireplace to reduce the size of the fire’s aperture. The principle should mean the fire will work, but in our view the look can be catastrophic, and it’s not necessary. Often a look that is too agricultural can occur when the owner of the fire is so desperate to make it work they will accept these sorts of compromise.

Too 'mass produced'

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Some fireplaces look wise and old, others crisp and modern, some elegant and sophisticated. It’s a combination of the setting, the style and the materials in use in the fireplace. Certain materials complement these traits, others contradict them. Choosing the wrong materials for your fire can mean it looks out of place, or just like a black box rather than a piece of furniture.

Wrong materials

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Some fireplaces look wise and old, others crisp and modern, some elegant and sophisticated. It’s a combination of the setting, the style and the materials in use in the fireplace. Certain materials complement these traits, others contradict them. Choosing the wrong materials for your fire can mean it looks out of place, or just like a black box rather than a piece of furniture.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY

“Dear Paul, we had nearly given up hope of finding a suitable open fire for our antique French marble fireplace when I came across the Camelot website. Paul and his father were able to overcome all the problems and create a fire to fit our fire surround which none of the previous companies had offered to do.
The fire looks as if it has always been there. Not only does it look good but if gives off far more heat than a standard open fire and it doesn’t smoke – which was the case previously.”

Sue, Cambridgeshire, May 2012

Wrong heat source

Camelot make wood burning convecting open fires. It’s what we do, but we recognise the strengths of other sources of heat such as coal, gas and electric for feature fires. Some of the gas effect fires today look amazing and can visually get close enough to the real thing for some. Electric fires generally struggle to come close, and so look wrong in many fireplaces, but again there have been some amazing developments in recent times. Coal is a great alternative to wood in terms of heat, though it does look different when it burns, and is more difficult to handle domestically.

Poor ‘renovation

Poor ‘renovation’, or building work, on a fireplace is often one of the things people buying a home are looking to put right and in the process re-create a beautiful centre piece to a room.  It can range from bricking in, adding tiles, building-in to change the fire opening, wrong choice of bricks for an internal feature, the wrong choice of surround. The list goes on, but the result can be a fire place which is at odds with the room, so changing the fire isn’t going to resolve it. This work can also render a fire that works (doesn’t smoke etc) inoperable.

Find out why our Thermovent is so much more efficient here:

WE’RE HERE TO HELP WITH ALL THINGS OPEN FIRES!

Call us on 01905 820181
We love to talk open fires.

Camelot near you?
We have resellers around the UK

NOT ENOUGH HEAT

Rooms come in all shapes and sizes, as do central heating systems.

Some rooms are so large that to heat them via the main heating system to a comfortable temperature is a very expensive habit. If there is an open fire in the room some people see lighting it and sitting near to it as a way of providing localised top up to the central system – unless the fire in place is not capable of delivering enough heat. This being the case you have a variety of choices as far as burning wood is concerned.

1) Fit a wood burning stove (if heat is your main objective this may be your best route)
2) Fit a fire such a convector fire that is more efficient that a normal open fire.

If the later is of interest, take a look at our traditional and modern open fires via the links below.

Find out why our Thermovent is so much more efficient here: