Chimney Exhaust Fan: Features, Ratings & Problem Signs

Do chimney fans work? Yes. Here is all about their functions, speed and power ratings, as well as malfunction signs. Chimneys are designed to ventilate a home.

During combustion, several by-products are generated. These include fireplace smoke and gases. This is where the chimney comes in handy as it vents them out.

Also, combustion requires oxygen or air supply. Still, the chimney serves this purpose as it supplies such to keep the fire burning efficiently.

While this is true, we’re not focusing on how combustion occurs but the role played by chimney exhaust fans.

These are great additions or components to chimneys that enhance operability. While a chimney will still function without an exhaust fan, its efficiency is maximized by simply having an exhaust fan installed.

Types Of Fans For Chimneys

We needed to qualify our chimney fan definition to include the word “exhaust” because there’s another type.

Apart from the exhaust fan which expels combustion byproducts, there’s another that impels or supplies air to chimneys having an insufficient draft.

Now, it’s important not to get confused about both types.

Sometimes, only a single fan performs both impelling and expelling functions. In other words, a chimney exhaust fan can also double as an impeller or one that supplies air to chimneys to improve combustion.

However, not all fireplaces will need an exhaust fan. Electric fireplaces are powered by electricity and don’t emit combustion gases. They also do not require chimney drafts to support combustion.

This gives an idea of what best fits a fireplace type.

Shared Chimneys

Chimney exhaust fans are great additions to shared chimneys because a considerable amount of exhaust is being generated. Ordinarily, a chimney serving a single fireplace should serve just fine.

However, shared chimneys connect multiple flues which may require more efficient exhaust systems to remove combustion byproducts.

This is where chimney exhaust fans come in handy. Not only do these chimney components support the expulsion of combustion byproducts, but they also supply air to aid combustion.

This is highly useful and a perfect addition to shared chimneys.

Powering A Chimney Exhaust Fan

For chimney exhaust fans to be efficient, they need to be plugged into a source of power. A lot of these products are powered by electricity and need to be connected.

So, how is this done? This can be achieved through multiple approaches.

The first involves passing the power cord through the flashing and into the house to the power source. Under the second scenario, you’ll need to run the cord or cable down your roof and under the lower tile row.

However, this can create a mess when not done right.

For both cases, a perfect job needs to be done by a professional. In other words, a chimney exhaust fan needs to be installed in such a way that its power cable isn’t so visible and doesn’t distort the aesthetic features of your home.

Of course, you’ll need to voice out your concerns to a technician to enable them to address such needs the best way possible.

How Long Should A Chimney Fan be Allowed to Run?

By the name alone, it’s easy to see that a chimney exhaust fan works to expel combustion byproducts. However, the chimney exhaust fan mustn’t run perpetually. It’s only useful when the fireplace is being used.

In other words, a chimney fan will only be needed when burning fuels.

As long as smoke and other combustion byproducts are being produced, the exhaust fan will need to be on to get rid of them or vent them out.

Chimney Exhaust Fan Maintenance

Chimney exhaust fans play a key role in expelling combustion byproducts. As such, they should be kept functional at all times. One way to do this effectively is by performing routine and basic maintenance checks.

So, how frequently should this be action be performed? It should be done at least twice a year. This should include the chimney inspection too.

During such maintenance procedures, the rotor blades are cleaned or cleared of any deposits including soot.

Speed And Power Consumption

Chimney exhaust fans are designed to have variable speeds which can easily be adjusted.

You get to determine what speed it runs between the typical maximum and minimum speeds. In terms of power consumption, most chimney exhaust fans will consume around 40 to 60 watts at full load.

Of course, power consumption drops when the fan is set at minimum running speeds. Also, you won’t need a chimney exhaust fan to run continuously. Doing so will increase your utility costs unnecessarily.

As stated earlier, such fans should only be allowed to run when necessary.

That is, your chimney exhaust fan should only be put on when there’s ongoing fuel combustion. This won’t be necessary when the process is completed.

Signs Of Trouble

Several symptoms point to a problematic chimney exhaust fan. These are abnormal situations that require urgent action to have the problem fixed.

Some of these warning signs include smoking wood-burning stoves, humming sound but no spinning, vibration, and zero drafts. These among others need to be investigated.

Exposure to Heat

By its design, a chimney exhaust fan is meant to work or be installed in a chimney. Now, the expectation is that it would be exposed to heat. So, is the chimney fan tolerant to heat? It is! A chimney fan is designed to be tolerant to high temperatures.

However, the level of heat matters too.

In situations where there’s a chimney fire, your chimney exhaust fan is likely to get damaged. But this should be the least of your worries. A chimney fire is a highly risky situation that could burn down your property.

So, you’ll need to avoid it altogether.

The best way to avoid a chimney fire is by performing routine cleaning. This action reduces the level of creosote buildup within the chimney structure. With less creosote, a chimney fire is unlikely to breakout. This in turn extends the lifespan of your chimney exhaust fan.

Chimney exhaust fans are useful venting components that improve chimney efficiency. Their basic functions have been covered above. Whether a chimney needs an exhaust fan or not is dependent on the assessment of an expert.

Chimney technicians perform a key role in determining the necessity of an exhaust fan. More importantly, chimney exhaust fan installation should be handled by a professional.

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