Last week I was talking to a friend from Vienna, VA about the process I went through to pick the right wood burning fireplace. As its name implies, this type of fireplace is fueled by wood — but it’s way more versatile than you think. Professional chimney services companies like ours will always review the options with you. However, with so many fireplace options available, it can be tough to make a final decision. From style to heat production, all kinds of factors come into play. Not sure where to start? Worry not, here are some tips to help you choose the right wood-burning fireplace to your home:
The right wood-burning fireplace should bring instant pizzazz to your home. If you’re eager to class up your interior decor, try a fireplace with traditional masonry. Nothing shouts sophisticated quite like beautiful stones or brickwork. If, however, you prefer a contemporary look, you’ll want to consider these options:
- Mosaic tiles
- Reflective gold
- Metallic accents
Choosing the perfect wood-burning fireplace can be a real challenge. Begin by reflecting on your current decor and the ambiance it conveys. A classic fireplace might look odd in a decidedly contemporary home — and vice versa.
Of course, while your fireplace should match your home’s overarching aesthetic, it should also provide enough contrast to serve as a proud centerpiece. Select a material or color that helps your fireplace stand out against the existing walls and flooring.
Open Versus Closed Combustion
The terms open and closed combustion refer to whether closed doors are needed for a given fireplace to function optimally.
- Open combustion fireplaces can operate successfully without glass doors. When you picture a traditional hearth, you probably think of an open combustion fireplace. While this approach provides much of the ambiance and charm associated with wood burning fireplaces, it’s not as efficient as closed combustion fireplaces.
- With closed combustion, the doors must remain shut for peak functioning. Designed for maximum heat production, closed combustion styles are best for homes in which fireplaces serve more of a practical (versus a decorative) function. That’s not to say closed combustion fireplaces aren’t attractive — style simply isn’t the primary consideration.
What About Wood Burning Stoves And Inserts?
Traditional fireplaces are by no means the only option if you’re looking for a wood-fueled solution. Alternate options include:
- Wood burning stoves, which do not need to be built into the wall or with a chimney. Many homeowners favor wood burning stoves for their flexible installation and efficiency.
- Wood burning inserts, which can be used to alter an existing fireplace. This is an ideal option for homeowners who love the appearance of their fireplace but desire increased heat production or efficiency. With inserts, you get the best of both worlds: impressive efficiency without sacrificing the classic aesthetic you desire.Here is an article that you may find useful.
No matter how stylish, no one fireplace, stove, or insert solution is ideal for every home. Think carefully about how your fireplace can best fit into your aesthetic and lifestyle. The perfect wood burning fireplace is out there — you just need to find it.
Hey are you interested in a gas fireplace? why dont you read this article about how to choose the rigth gas fireplace
Chimney fires cause over 14,000 fires every year in the U.S. and nearly $35 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. What’s even more startling is that most of these chimney fires burn and extinguish themselves and initially are unnoticed by homeowners. Damage produced by an undetected chimney fire is only discovered later when the homeowner has a chimney sweep company come to their home and provide a chimney sweep and inspection service. The NFPA recommends that chimneys be swept every year. It is important to hire a professional company that knows how to sweep a chimney. Homes in Silver Spring, MD need chimney sweeps in the same manner that every other home requires.
Here are some reasons why homes need a chimney sweep every year
1. Creosote buildup in the chimney
Creosote buildup is responsible for the majority of chimney fires. Smoke emitted by burning fossil fuel or wood rises into your chimney where it cools and produces volatiles, carbon, and water condensation. Unless removed, this condensation quickly converts into an oily, black residue chimney sweeps call creosote.
Creosote develops in three stages: 1) crunchy or porous soot; 2) a sticky, tar-like substance; 3) a hard glaze that is real creosote. Be aware that creosote remains highly combustible in any stage and can almost instantly produce a dangerous, volcanic-like chimney fire.
Conditions that promote creosote buildup include:
- Flues too large for unlined inserts (wood-burning appliance)
- Restricted or reduced air supply
- Burning rain-saturated or unseasoned wood
- A surface flue temperature that is cooler than normal
2. Animals nest can clog the chimney flue
Even if you only use your chimney occasionally, Birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons may clog the flue their nests. In fact, chimneys with the least amount of use of the most common targets of animals seeking a place to build nests.
3. Chemicals alone won’t do the job
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) does not recommend relying on chemicals to clean your chimney. Commercial chimney cleaning products claim to remove creosote from chimneys via fire-supported catalytic action. However, the CSIA states that these chemicals should not be used to replace a thorough cleaning and inspection performed by a professional chimney sweeper.
4. Unseen mortar and/or flue tiles problems
Broken or cracked flue tiles, deteriorated mortar and missing bricks may be inconspicuous to homeowners. Chimney sweepers are trained to detect the smallest hairline cracks and other minor damage that, when exposed to fiery heat, could cause a fast-moving fire.
5. Industry standards require an annual chimney sweep
The National Fire Protection Association’s standard recommends that chimneys be inspected every year. This requirement is detailed in NFPA standard 211.
Tips for Preventing Chimney Fires
Only burn seasoned wood. The ideal moisture content of seasoned wood should be between 15%-20%. The best way to find out the moisture content is by using a moisture meter.
Use only dry kindling or clean newspaper when starting a fire. Never use kerosene, gasoline, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and especially, your Christmas tree!
Finally, the Chimney Safety Institute of America strongly urges homeowners to have their fireplaces, vents and chimneys inspected at least one a year by an experienced chimney sweeper for “correct clearances, freedom from deposits and soundness“.
For more information about fireplace safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Chimney safety can be a matter of life and death. Don’t wait until you have a problem to have your chimney cleaned. Contact a local company and have your chimney cleaned every year.
If you need a chimney sweep in Silver Spring, MD, Montgomery County, Prince Goerges County, Baltimore or other Maryland jurisdictions around Washington DC please contact All Pro Chimney Service 301-750-3149.