How do I know if I have a problem with a downdraft?

Before calling a sweep out to determine if you have a downdraft issue, there are some steps the homeowner can take to remedy a downdraft problem.  What you think may be a natural downdraft, may be due to factors inside the home.  Follow these simple steps: Open a couple of doors and/or windows in the room with the heating unit (fireplace). Open the heating unit’s damper, put your hand near the damper to feel for cold air.  If you did not feel cold air being pulled down the chimney with doors and windows open, your problem may be due to any number of other causes. Clothes dryers, kitchen fans, bathroom fans, and forced-air furnaces all remove air from the house. In order to compensate for lost air, additional air may be pulled down the chimney. To check potential sources of the problem: Close all doors and windows Turn off all appliances which remove air from the house (fans, dryers, etc) Turn on one of the air removing appliances Check for a downdraft by placing your hand near the open damper in the heating unit Repeat the process with each air removing appliance, being sure that only one such appliance is in operation at any one time. An upstairs bathroom fan may also draw air even when turned off. You can use smoke to determine if air is being drawn out: Turn off the fan Hold a smoke producing item near the fan (a lit cigarette or a couple of just extinguished matches will usually work) The smoke will be pulled towards the fan if it is drawing air If after trying the above techniques, you have determined that your problem is an outside wind–induced downdraft, then request a visit from a certified chimney sweep to provide the solution.