Most of our customers come to us asking the same questions about their chimneys. A homeowner in Howard County recently asked what is a chimney crown, and how does it work? It’s vital to understand chimney crowns, as it can be the source of various problems down the road. Chimney crowns repairs are one of the most common repairs. Luckily for you, we are here to explain everything you need to know about chimney crowns.
What is a chimney crown?
Sometimes referred to as a chimney wash, a chimney crown is a large slab of brick or concrete that covers the top opening of the chimney. Finding the Chimney Crown is relatively easy, as its name suggests the rest on top of your chimney on its last layer of brick. It is typically about three to four inches thick and slopes down at the edge of the bricks. Most chimney crowns are concrete, but they can also be metal or stone. They are not to be mistaken for the chimney caps, which are metal and cover the chimney flue. If you wish to know more about what chimney caps, read this article.
There are a few types of crowns:
- Cast-in-place: Suitable for large chimneys and made of concrete. Cast in place chimneys involves using steel forms to construct the chimney crown on-site.
- Precast: Ideal for chimneys that are 16×16 or smaller or new construction. Precast crowns are not suitable for chimney jobs involving large chimneys. The weight of the concrete makes this solution impractical for larger chimneys.
- Floating crown: Floating cast crowns are built with an overhang that is approximately 1 1/2″ to 2″ above the chimney. Floating cast chimney crowns require more time to install than the other options. As a result, the service cost may be slightly higher. In most cases floating cast crowns last twice as long. In most cases, longevity makes it worth the minor increase in cost.
Why do chimneys have crowns?
The primary role of the chimney crown is to keep water from entering the stack. It is considered the first line of defense for the overall masonry. If the crown should fail, it can cause your chimney to leak. Chimney leaks can cause the masonry to crumbing, leading to severe structural damage. By keeping the chimney crown in good condition, you can keep your chimney and the rest of your fireplace in good shape. You will avoid costly, time-consuming chimney repairs.
What are the common chimney problems?
There are several problems that can arise with your chimney crown. Be aware of issues such as:
- Sealant problems
- Cracked crowns
- Masonry degradation
Scheduling a chimney service company like ours to inspect your chimney will help identify chimney problems. You may encounter all sorts of issues based on many factors such as the age of your chimney, its construction quality, and how often is it inspected. Annual inspections catch problems in their early stages. Chimney crown problems can also lead to issues with cracks in the flue. Chimney crowns or one of the many common causes of chimney leaks.
What maintenance is required for chimney crowns?
Just as you should schedule roof inspections periodically, you want to have a chimney sweep inspect your entire chimney inside and out. They can identify if there are issues so that you can schedule a chimney repair. You may also be able to conduct a visual inspection on your own to see if the chimney crown is cracked or damaged in some way. However, your visual inspection is not a suitable replacement for professional service. Annual inspections are the best way to catch problems in their early stages.
Chimney crowns are one of the most critical parts of your chimney system. They are often made of concrete, and there are several options for structuring them. The best way to prevent chimney crown problems is by hiring a professional chimney service company to inspect our chimney every year. Annual inspections will not prevent problems. However, it will result in catching issues before they become costly.
During a recent chimney inspection at a home in Rockville, MD, we discovered that chimney liner needed to be replaced. The homeowner quickly asked, “So, what’s a flue?” We were glad that the homeowner asked that question. It shows that the homeowner cared enough to want to know everything that is happening with their chimney. Most people don’t give much thought to their chimneys, thinking of them as simply a low-tech invention which funnels smoke out of their homes. But in reality, a chimney is an evolved structure with several essential components that work together to move smoke and heat safely and efficiently out of your house, and one of the most important of these parts is the flue, or liner. Your chimney integrity and maintenance is critical to fire safety, that is why you should always have your chimney professionally inspected and clean by your local fireplace services company.
What Is A Chimney Flue, And What Does It Do?
At one time, most chimneys were constructed without a flue liner, but because of safety concerns, most local building codes now require one to be installed. Various tests conducted in the mid-20th century showed that unlined chimneys did a poor job of protecting a structure from fires and damage. Without a flue, the heat was transferred rapidly to the surrounding wooden structure, setting them aflame in as little as a few hours. The chemicals released by combustion can act directly on the brick, stone, and mortar, causing rapid deterioration and failure of the chimney, and possibly releasing deadly carbon monoxide into the home. A flue liner also allows for the correct sizing of the chimney configuration and a proper draft, which is necessary for efficient combustion and prevention of the buildup of creosote in the chimney, which can lead to fires.
Types Of Chimney Flue Liners
There are three basic types of flue liners used today:
- Clay Tile Liners – This is the most common type because it’s inexpensive and easily available and works well in a properly maintained chimney and open fireplace. Most older homes with liners will have this type. With regular cleaning and maintenance, they can last for decades. They aren’t as effective at containing chimney fires or the chemical by-products of gas fireplaces, and they are susceptible to cracks. When significant cracking has been detected by a professional Chimney inspection, it is usually recommended that a new liner be installed rather than attempting repairs.
- Metal Liners – Usually made of either aluminum or, more commonly, stainless steel. They are very safe and durable and do a good job of protecting a chimney and lessening the need for expensive repairs. Metal liners can be constructed for almost any type of chimney, and can be flexible or rigid, making for easier and less costly installation. They sometimes need to be used with an insulating material for higher temperatures.
- Cast Liners – Commonly made out of cement or a like material, these work well for their intended function and also contribute greatly to the structural integrity of the chimney, and are especially recommended for older chimneys that need support. They can be poured directly into the chimney creating a seamless and leak-proof lining. These can also handle higher temperatures than other liner types, something around to 2,100 degrees. That makes them a better protection against chimney fires and creosote buildup. The drawback is that if they are somehow damaged, which is unlikely, it requires a complete removal and replacement.
Your chimney flue is very important to the safety of your home and family, and to the useful life of your chimney. It’s a good idea to have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once per year, especially before cold weather arrives. That way if any damage is found, you can get it repaired in order to start using your fireplace or woodstove immediately. If you are concerned if your fireplace needs to be repaired or not, here are 6 Signs that you need chimney repair.
All Pro Chimney Services operates in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Contact us today for consultation and an estimate.
A chimney mantel is a shelf-like structure above a fireplace. Its main function is to catch the smoke of your fireplace in order to keep it out of the room. Homeowners hire companies like ours to make keep their fireplaces working properly. However, homeowners take it upon themselves to decorate their mantels. Decorating your mantel is a good way to set the look and feel of your living room. The structure of the mantel may not change much but the way you decorate it can reflect the seasons, an event, or even one of your passions. The change of seasons is a great motivation to change the decoration on your mantel but it does not have to be an expensive activity. We have seen many homes in Montgomery County, MD add a touch of autumn to their home by decorating their mantel. This is also an opportunity to express your personality through your fireplace. There are many DIY ways to add a touch of autumn to your fireplace decor.
Make Sure Your Fireplace Is Ready To Go
There is no point in decorating a mantel that is dirty or will need work before winter. Do this prep work first:
- Get in touch with your local fireplace service company and have your chimney inspected.
- Clean and declutter the mantel and hearth so you can start the season fresh.
Plan The Feeling You Want Your Room To Have
Planning for the feeling you want your room to have, that gives you a guideline for selecting the things that will express your goal. For example, do you want a serene feeling in your room or do you like to be in energetic spaces?
- A serene feeling is usually expressed with some empty spaces, repetitive objects, and few focus points.
- An energetic feeling is usually expressed with filled spaces, a variety of different objects, and many focus points on your mantle decor.
- The same items can express different feelings depending on how they are arranged, so experiment and have fun.
Shop Your Home First
You have many potential decorations in your home already. Adding a fall touch is a matter of adding fall colors with a few details like purchased autumn leaves, branches, and things found on nature walks. Gourds, fruit, and nuts are popular autumn decorations but if you use the real ones, check them regularly to make sure they remain intact. Here are some ideas:
- Canning jars with tealights are safe ways to enjoy the flame of a candle. Group various sizes or make a row in front of a favorite picture.
- The same idea with wine glasses or fancy crystal turns a rustic look into an elegant statement.
- Do you collect anything? Curate your collection and display the best items that have autumn colors for a unique decoration.
- Are you fond of family photos? Create a family “tree” with branches, names on cut-out leaves, and faces you love grouped across the mantel.
- The same idea with wine glasses or fancy crystal turns a rustic look into an elegant statement.
- Use a florist frog to secure some pretty branches inside a pumpkin, teapot or favorite coffee mug.
- Fabric or scarves artfully rumpled across the mantle will make colorful backdrops for treasured items. Try propping a book open to a pretty picture so all can enjoy a favorite illustration.
- Buy leaves from a dollar store and string them together to create fall garland. You can then drape it above or on your mantle. Drape it high so there is no danger of combustion.
- If you have some hurricane vases, use them to make vertical piles of leaves. This same idea can be done with inexpensive fall leaves from a dollar store.
Need more ideas for taking your mantel decor to the next level? Read this previous article.
Enjoy Your Masterpiece
Decorating your mantel is a never-ending process. As you enjoy your fireplace, you may decide you want to change something. Your home is your place to express your passion and your hearth is the perfect place to create many looks. A mantel that shows what you love will be a mantel you enjoy. If you wish to know more about how to get your fireplace fully ready for the fall season, here is an article that will help you.
At this time of the year, it has probably been more than a few months since you last used your chimney. Under those circumstances, it’s best to prepare your fireplace for the upcoming cold season. You might be wondering about how to get your fireplace ready for the fall. Should you get your chimney cleaned? How is your chimney cap? Are there any other concerns? With that in mind, here are some tips for you to get your fireplace ready for the fall.
Focus on a Cleaning and Inspection
Annual cleanings and inspections are an important part of getting your fireplace ready for the fall. Every chimney and fireplace must be inspected every year regardless of whether the fuel type. Contrary to popular belief, even gas fireplaces should be inspected and may need cleaning. It is important to make sure that there are no gas leaks or other areas in need of repair. In the case of wood burning units, it is important to make sure that there is no creosote build-up or other chimney problems. Yes, you can do some cleaning on your own, but it’s important to hire a professional chimney service company to do make sure that you can safely enjoy your fireplace.
Make any Necessary Chimney Repairs
- Masonry repairs
- Installing new chimney caps
- Replacing gaskets, dampers and ash dumps
- Chimney relining
- Replacing the blower
- Installing brick or stone veneers
- Chimney repairs
Replace carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarm batteries
Every homeowner should replace the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms every year. This is especially important for homes with gas fireplaces. You want to make sure that you will be alerted if you have a gas leak. There are many things that can cause house fires. Many of them have are not related to fireplaces. Replacing your batteries is an important task that should be done every year even if you do not have a fireplace. Use your annual chimney inspection as a reminder.
The best way to enjoy your fireplace is to know that it is fully prepped and ready to use. Scheduling a fireplace inspection only takes a few minutes. It is time well spent. Call us at All Pro Chimney today to help you get your fireplace ready for the fall.
Regency is one of the most popular gas fireplace manufacturers. Their embrace of the use of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and their commitment to quality and customer service, their hearth products are in high demand throughout the world. We find that our fireplace installation customers in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area are very happy with their Regency gas fireplaces. This article is a guide that homeowners can use to help in the process of selecting the Regency gas fireplace that is the best fit for their home and energy needs.
Regency Gas Fireplace Products
Regency offers direct vent gas fireplaces in a variety of styles that will fit into and complement your home regardless of your decor, including modern, contemporary, traditional, and classic styles. Their optional accessories allow you to customize them to your requirements further. There is something for everyone’s tastes and needs. They can be installed in any room in the house without significant renovations. Some models can be installed in homes that do not currently have chimneys. Here’s a quick overview of what Regency gas product lines.
City Series Modern Gas Fireplaces – This unique lineup of styles feature the state-of-the-art in contemporary design and quality. Regency’s exclusive Cool Wall System technology allows you the freedom to use any type of finishing materials right up to the edge of the fireplace. Finishing the fireplace in this manner creates a clean and elegant finished appearance. Cool Wall System technology opens up a whole new world of fireplace design and decorating possibilities. Heat is transferred from the fire away from the surrounding walls. Transferring the heat away enables homeowners to even use flammable decorating finishes such as wood and wallpaper flush with the fireplace, creating a seamless and blended look. It also allows for other items such as pictures and artwork, televisions, and other electronics and accents to be displayed directly above or beside the fire viewing area without the use of a mantelpiece or a heat barrier. City Series Fireplaces are available in single-sided, two-sided, and three-sided viewing perspectives to integrate into any space and to disseminate the warming and comforting atmosphere throughout more than one room.
Regency offers an online Fireplace Idea Gallery and a Fireplace Design Center that will help you to choose your preferred style of gas fireplace. You can also try out different custom designs until you get exactly the look that you want. You can also view galleries of the fireplaces that other satisfied customers have chosen for their homes. Then you can download and print your designs to bring it to us, your local licensed Regency dealer so we will know exactly what you want. The only step left for you to do is to book a Fireplace installation service with our team of professionals, call us now.
Regency Fireplace Products Accessories
Fireplaces add value to your home. If you wish to increase the value of your house further, installing some Regency Fireplace accessories will help you. The reason behind this is that Regency Fireplace accessories provide enhanced convenience and safety. With that in mind, here are some of the preferred accessories that are available with all of their direct vent gas fireplaces and inserts. Fireplace accessories increase the performance of your chimney and add to the value of your home.
Variable Speed Blowers – Fireplace blowers help to distribute heat throughout the room and to the far corners of your home. Having multiple speeds to choose from provides the best in comfort because the blower can be set to move the warm air faster or slower, depending on your need. These blowers are designed for quiet operation and to provide an immediate heat boost.
Safety Screens – Regency makes the safety of their products a number one priority. Their high-quality safety screens are made to keep the flames inside the fireplace, away from kids and pets. Safety screens are included with every fireplace model.
Conversion Kits – Functional accessories such as heat distribution kits and propane gas conversion kits are available to customize your fireplace further.
Remote Control Heating – You can optimize your climate to your own unique needs with a highly versatile and user-friendly remote control. The remote control can program your fireplace to come on or turn off at the time you want and at the temperature you need. Your rooms will be warm and comfy whenever you’re ready to use them.
Full Manufacturer’s Warranty – Regency builds all of its products from the ground up using the best premium raw grade materials. They know their fireplaces and accessories meet the highest standards of quality, and they stand behind every unit that they sell. As a result, Regency Gas Fireplaces are protected by a lifetime limited warranty widely recognized as one of the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. Regency stands behind their products.
Benefits Of Gas Fireplaces
Many people enjoy the traditional feel and the rituals involved in using a wood-burning fireplace. From cutting and stacking the logs on a chilly Autumn day, to building and lighting the fire and enjoying the aura and aroma of a crackling hardwood blaze, an old-fashioned fireplace can be a great source of pleasure and comfort. However, they have a downside. They can be messy, they take a while to get going and start putting out heat, require supervision, and can even be a hazard if they are not kept clean and maintained.
Gas fireplaces can provide the same atmosphere and heat without the mess and the fuss, and they have many other benefits besides. Direct vent gas fireplaces can be used in homes without chimneys because they don’t produce the particulates and smoke that a wood fireplace does, and they can also be installed as inserts in traditional fireplaces. In some states, a homeowner who wants a fireplace has no other option but gas due to local and state ordinances against air pollution.
Here are just a few of the great benefits provided by gas fireplaces.
- Simplicity of operation. No need to cut or haul logs into the house or use kindling and paper to light a gas fireplace, simply push a button or use the remote control that many models are equipped with. Many also have timers that can be set to turn off or on at a certain time, and most have blower fans to efficiently distribute the air throughout the room and home.
- Constant heat source. Wood fires need to be tended and stoked and as they burn down they put out less heat. Gas fireplaces begin heating the room as soon as they’re turned on and maintain a constant source of heat throughout their operation. Many also have thermostats to regulate the heat output and keep the room at the desired temperature.
- Very low maintenance. Gas fireplaces require no cleaning as they produce no ash or smoke to cause a dangerous creosote buildup. They serve as another element of your home’s heating system. All that’s required is a yearly inspection to ensure everything is hooked up correctly and that the gas valves are clean.
- Safe operation. Gas fires don’t emit sparks or cause hot embers to pop out on the floor, and they create no emissions that can pollute the atmosphere within your home or outdoors, making them the most environmentally-friendly option. You don’t have to worry about children or pets playing in or accidentally falling into a hot fire.
- Heat when the power’s out. Regency gas fireplaces can be easily started and safely used even when there’s no electricity to power the igniter, so you and your family will always be warm and secure no matter what.
Traditional wood fireplaces have their place and will always be with us, but the advantages of gas fireplaces make them the best choice for many homeowners.
Designer and entrepreneur Robert Little started out by designing and building his own woodstoves inside his garage, producing well-made products that quickly rose in demand. He launched Regency Fireplace Products in 1979 in an outlying area of the city of Vancouver, Canada.
From the beginning, Robert Little believed in utilizing the latest in manufacturing and design technologies and techniques. Borrowing ideas from the popular and effective Lean Manufacturing philosophy, he and his team developed their own in-house program called EXCITE – Exercising Continuous Improvement Towards Excellence. This allows them to streamline the manufacturing and marketing processes throughout every facet of the company from the drawing board to the finished piece to maintain the strictest standards of quality in their products as well as their affordable prices.
Their design teams are continually striving for innovation in a competitive industry through extensive research and development, and their engineers utilize the latest 3D CAD technology and certified in-house testing laboratories to ensure they meet regulatory changes and consumer demands, producing some of the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing fireplaces on the market. The company’s manufacturing facilities use state-of-the-art robotic technologies to ensure build quality and to lower final costs to the consumer.
One more reason why Regency is the best brand for fireplace products is that they practice environmental responsibility. They do it by ensuring that all of their woodstove and insert designs are fully compliant with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. They achieve this by designing fireboxes that more efficiently distribute airflow around the wood so that it burns completely with very little ash or air-polluting smoke.
Regency Fireplace Products has a major presence in the industry through their dedication to quality, innovation, and excellent customer service. If you choose to have one of their products installed in your home, you’ll be glad you did, guaranteed.
Ready To Buy A Regency Gas Fireplace?
Contact a local fireplace installer like our company. A professional installer will help you through the final stages of selecting the right Regency gas fireplace model for your home. They will discuss the best BTU output for the size of your rooms and how important it will be to use the fireplace for a supplemental heat source. They can help you to ensure that you’ll have the maximum radiant heat and controllable turndown for your particular needs. A professional will also schedule the best time for delivery and installation of your unit. The installation should be completed quickly and smoothly with a minimum of disruption and inconvenience to you.
All Pro Chimney Services has been installing and repairing fireplaces and chimneys in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. region for many years. We’ve earned a reputation for quality work and excellent customer service that has gained the trust of our many customers. When you’re ready to purchase a Regency fireplace or a product from one of our other top manufacturers, just give us a call at 1-844-257-9848 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.