Many people wonder if chimney cleaning logs really work. The answer is yes and no. Chimney cleaning logs can reduce some of the creosote buildups. However, they are not a safe replacement for a professional chimney sweep and inspection.
How Chimney Cleaning Are Supposed to Work
Whenever you burn fuel in your fireplace, gas particles travel up and out of your chimney. Some of the gas particles fail to completely exit the chimney. These particles condense and stick to the inside of your chimney, forming a thick tar-like buildup called creosote. Creosote is highly combustible. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) identifies creosote buildup as a common cause of chimney fires.
In theory, chimney logs release a chemical that causes the creosote to become flaky and brittle and fall through the flue. Chimney cleaning logs only reduce some of the creosote. They do not clean to the professional standards required to reduce potential hazards within your chimney.
Why You Need A Professional Chimney Inspection And Sweep
A professional chimney sweep includes more than cleaning your flue. A professional completes an inspection, cleans the chimney and educates you on potential hidden hazards within your chimney. Creosote buildup is only one of many factors that can affect your chimney.
Whether or not chimney cleaning logs work depends on how you define “work”. Do they reduce some of the creosote buildups? Yes. Do they do a good enough job for you to be confident that your fireplace is as safe as possible? No. Are they an acceptable replacement for a professional chimney sweep and inspection? Never. A professional is the best option.
Are you ready to get your chimney cleaned by a professional? Be sure to read this article on how to choose the right professional chimney sweep company.
During a recent chimney repair in Vienna, VA, a homeowner asked, what is a chimney liner? That is one of the most frequent questions that we hear. Chimney liners are one of the least understood, yet most important aspect of any fireplace system. Selection can determine the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and is therefore not to be taken lightly. Likewise, regular maintenance and prompt repairs will keep your chimney running and keep your family safe. Below you will find everything that you need to know about chimney liners.
What is a Chimney Liner? How Does It Work?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner as a “conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” If chimneys are unlined, heat will move through them quickly, increasing the risk of woodwork or other elements catching on fire. Liners also reduce the exposure of corrosive materials to masonry.
Types of Chimney Liners
What is a chimney liner? That is just one of many questions you should be asking yourself if you are a homeowner. Since chimney liners are as versatile as every other aspect of your fireplace, asking yourself which chimney liner suits me better? It´s completely understandable. Selection will depend largely on your budget and the current state of your chimney. A few common types of liners are highlighted below:
Clay tile liners once dominated chimneys. If your home is more than a few decades old, it probably features a clay liner. Clay holds certain advantages but is mainly prized for its durability. It can hold up to a variety of corrosive materials, and, once installed, is likely to last at least half a century. Unfortunately, while the materials for this type of liner can be relatively affordable, the actual installation process may prove time-consuming and costly. Replacement is even more difficult, especially if the chimney is crooked.
Like clay liners, cast-in-place liners tend to be quite durable and can last several decades. Fireplaces with cast-in-place liners often burn cleaner, thereby producing minimal creosote buildup. Installation may be easier for cast-in-place liners than for their clay counterparts, but the process still requires considerable effort — particularly for chimneys with any bends or curves.
In recent years, metal liners have overtaken clay and cast-in-place models in popularity. Metal liners are by far the most convenient and affordable to install. They’re also quite versatile and can work well in chimneys of numerous shapes and sizes. The downside? Metal liners are typically more prone to corrosion.
Common Chimney Liner Problems
While chimney liners tend to be durable, a variety of issues can strike after decades of use. Liners are especially likely to show wear and tear if they weren’t constructed correctly in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, chimney liners may suffer corrosion or creosote buildup over time due to lack of proper service. Old liners are also prone to cracks near their mortar joints. Mortar joint erosion can be particularly dangerous, as it might lead to the leaking of harmful gases (such as carbon monoxide) inside of the home.
Proper Liner Maintenance
While only repair can effectively address an improperly constructed liner, most of the issues outlined above can be prevented or at least delayed through appropriate liner and chimney maintenance. Annual cleanings are imperative for reducing the risk of harmful buildup. Regular inspections allow homeowners to catch small problems before they become dangerous — and more expensive to fix. Click here to learn about the 6 most common Signs that you need chimney repair.
Regular maintenance is vital for both your chimney liner and your entire fireplace system. The team at All Pro Chimney services can keep your fireplace and chimney in excellent shape. Contact us today to learn more about our maintenance and repair services.
Many homes in the Washington DC area have gas fireplaces. When you own a gas fireplace, it’s important to know about some of the more common repairs. Some gas fireplace repairs can be done on your own while others require the help of a professional chimney sweep company like ours.
Fireplace Burner isn’t Turning On
You may find that when you go to light your fire, the burner isn’t turning on. If the pilot light is still working, it’s likely a problem with the thermostat. The good news is that you can often fix this on your own by checking that the current room temperature is below the thermostat setting.
If the problem isn’t in your thermostat, you may need a professional to help you with several other aspects:
- Faulty wiring
- Dirty orifice on the pilot light
- Thermocoupler needs to be replaced
Once a professional comes out, they can troubleshoot the issue and make the necessary repairs so your fireplace burner can begin working once again.
Fireplace Doors Not Sealing Properly
Often, the glass doors to your gas fireplace might not be sealing properly, which is a relatively simple fix. The first sign that will tell you that your seals aren’t in place is that you will smell the gas coming out of your fireplace. The clips and glass fasteners both have to be in place firmly.
The Ignition Isn’t Working
If you try to start a fire and the ignition isn’t working, you will need a repair of some sort. You may want to check the breaker box first to see if there has been a trip. Otherwise, it may be that you need to open the gas valve to restore the flow. If neither of these issues is the problem, you will want to get a professional in to check on the natural gas lines or the propane supply and to check the function of the wiring.
Gas fireplaces leave soot that can build up over time. You should be cleaning your fireplace on a regular basis so that you don’t get significant soot buildup. Residue can affect the oxygen flow within your unit. There may not be enough oxygen flow, or there might be too much gas flow. Additionally, you should consider getting a professional chimney inspection to find out if any blockages could be causing the problem.
A few other things that you can do for soot buildup
- Adjust the air setting
- Adjust the damper
- Align embers and logs according to fireplace instructions
- Clear off the combustion screen
- Remove leaves and debris from the chimney
When you can get soot buildup under control, it will help your fireplace to last much longer – and look its best, too.
A blower can create a grinding or shrieking noise. It may be an indication that the blower needs work. Loud blowers can be deceptive. Some older models are always louder than newer units. Newer technology has come out to provide fans that barely make any noise. You may want to call in a professional to see what they can do about your existing blower.
The type of gas fireplace you have may determine the kinds of repairs that you will have over its lifetime. For example, there are ventless and vented fireplaces. Unvented fireplaces shouldn’t produce soot.at all. In ventless fireplaces, you may experience odors as a result of such things as dirt, dust, and pet dander that get into the burner and the other components that are responsible for combustion.
Potential gas fireplace problems are the reason gas fireplaces should be cleaned every year. By keeping your fireplace clean, you can keep the unit in better condition. You can also catch problems at their early stages. Do the basics yourself and hire a chimney sweep every year to do the rest.
Want to learn more? Read this article from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
It’s common knowledge to homeowners in the Washington DC Metro Area that wood-burning fireplaces require regular cleaning and inspections. After all, leftover residue dramatically increases the potential for fire hazards. Many think that having a gas fireplace installed eliminates the need for having their chimneys cleaned every year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that chimneys al all kinds should be cleaned every year. The truth is that getting your chimney sweep is every bit as important for gas fireplaces. Read on to learn how gas fireplace cleaning and inspection is so essential:
Gas fireplaces can create visible buildup and debris
Although there is less potential for noticeable buildup with a gas fireplace than a sooty wood-burning appliance, it’s still bound to happen over time. The following are just a few examples of damage that you or your chimney sweep technician can observe:
- Deteriorating ceramic logs. Pieces may break off and clog vents.
- Cracked crowns and damaged mortar joints. These allow moisture to enter the chimney and break off flue tiles.
- Residue may appear on the fireplace’s glass doors
- Glass doors can become chipped or scratched, and may require replacement
- Birds may build nests in your chimney, thereby harming ventilation
Gas Fireplaces Can Leave Corrosive Deposits
It’s easy to see when wood stoves and other appliances require cleaning. These fireplaces create ample soot, which is instantly visible upon inspection. With gas fireplaces, the need for cleaning may not be as immediately obvious. That doesn’t mean the need doesn’t exist, however. Natural gas and propane tend to deposit toxic — but invisible — substances. These can cause significant problems for your chimney and pose a safety and health risk. The need for action may not become evident until your gas fireplace is damaged. When discovered late, gas fireplace repairs are much more costly.
Make sure that your gas fireplace is functioning properly
Professional chimney sweeps like ours always check to make sure that every aspect of your chimney is working correctly. They can determine how efficiently and safely your fireplace is functioning. They can also inform of whether a need for repairs exists now or might be needed farther in the future.
With time, valves can slowly develop leaks. Unfortunately, leaks are not very obvious. As a result, these problems may not be examined as quickly as warranted. The same applies to the thermopile and thermocouple, which may show wear over time. During an inspection, your technician can determine the extent of the damage and alert you to a possible solution.
What Happens During a Gas Fireplace Cleaning Inspection?
When your local technician arrives to clean your gas fireplace, you can expect a thorough inspection of every aspect of the appliance. The following are a few of the most critical elements of a gas fireplace inspection:
- The expert inspects the fireplace’s exterior, observing for chips and cracks in or debris on the glass doors, and quality of the general fireplace framework.
- A close look at the interior ignition will determine whether the fireplace lights correctly.
- The face of the unit may be removed to inspect valves beneath the fireplace or insert.
- A thorough cleaning process may ensue, to guarantee the removal of all residue from vents.
- A quick check for your carbon monoxide detectors will determine whether they are correctly in place and functional.
- Your technician will end the inspection by alerting you to any problems that require attention, and how urgent those issues may be.
You love the comfort and beauty your gas fireplace provides, along with its incredible efficiency. A little care and attention can keep your fireplace in working order in for decades to come. If you have yet to schedule your annual inspection, now is the time to get started.
Homeowners across the Washington DC Metropolitan Area are reaping the benefits of having fireplaces installed in their homes. One of the most underestimated aspects of using a fireplace is preheating your flue. Many homeowners wonder why preheating your flue is so important. When there is a fire in your fireplace, cooler air from your home fuels the fire, the air above it gets hotter. The chimney flue provides allows the hot air to rise out of the house along with the smoke and other fire byproducts. Preheating your flue warms the chimney causing the air to start moving in the right direction. Below are some additional things that you should know about preheating your flue.
Things that you should check prior to preheating the flue
- Before using your fireplace it is essential to make sure that you have had your annual chimney sweep and cleaning. Preheating the chimney is a waste of time if your chimney is not safe to use.
- Is the damper open all the way? You’d be surprised at how many of us forget to check the damper position before building a fire.
- Is the chimney flue cold? Chimneys that are allowed to get cold between fires are full of cold air. This cold air acts like a plug because it is heavier than the warmer air in the room.
- Check to confirm your chimney is drafting properly.
- Open the damper all the way
- Use a lighter or match to see which way the air is flowing. The flame pulling upwards means the smoke will go that way, too. The flame pulling back into the room means that you need to preheat your flue or the smoke will also come back into the room.
How to preheat your chimney flue
When you know that the chimney has passed inspection, you know that there is probably nothing wrong with the chimney except that it is too cold to draw properly. Keeping the damper open while laying the fire will sometimes be enough to move some warm air into the flue but that can take up to a half hour and there are quicker ways to preheat the flue:
- Make four or five newspaper “torches” by rolling a few pages up tightly. Lighting a few of these torches and holding the flame up so the heat rises into the flue will usually heat the air enough to make a draft go up the chimney. This is the most common procedure and it works.
- A blow dryer or fan can be used to push the cold air up out of the flue. The warm air in the room draws after it and the flue is warmed. The air being blown up the chimney doesn’t need to be hot because the air from the room is still warmer than the air in the flue.
Other Tips To Help Your Chimney Vent Properly
- Cracking open a window (about one inch) helps the fire get started because it pulls more air in over the flames.
- Using dried, seasoned wood makes the fire burn hotter.
- Build the properly sized fire for your firebox.
- Use a metal grate so air can get underneath the wood.
- Build the fire as far back in the firebox as you can.
- If the fireplace has glass doors, open them so air can draw in from the room.
Remember that a cold flue can keep the smoke from rising so try preheating your flue the next time you start a fire. If you still are having problems, call a chimney specialist to evaluate what is going on.