Have Questions?

We try to answer our most common questions here, but if you don’t see your question answered below just call us! We’ll be happy to help.

This is a tougher question to answer than you’d think, but here’s the simple answer: we follow the guidelines of The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211, which says,

“Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

A good chimney sweeping will help, but it won’t usually solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results putting baking soda or even kitty litter in the fireplace to absorb the odor.

The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney – a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house to prevent air from being drawn down the chimney. A tight sealing top-mounted damper can also reduce airflow coming down the chimney, thus reducing issues with odor.

The fireplace in use exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for make-up air to enter the home is often through the unused fireplace chimney. As air is drawn down this unused flue, it picks up smoke that is exiting the fireplace in use and brings that smoke down into the living area.

The best solution is to provide make-up air to the house so that the negative pressure problem no longer exists – thus eliminating not only the smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide to be drawn back down the furnace chimney.

A secondary solution is to install a top-mount damper on the fireplace that is used the least and keep it closed.

Without a doubt! Although gas is generally a clean-burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also have many problems when they’re vented through average flues intended for older furnaces. So, it’s important that you schedule annual inspections for all your chimneys – gas furnaces included.

You should be able to easily tell if the sweep cleaned your chimney by noticing any visible buildup being removed allowing you to see your brick, noticing any foul smells are not longer present, or by seeing them actively inspect, repair, or replace certain parts of your appliance.

Flues are allowed to have offsets of up to 30-degree. In most cases, this will make a direct visual observation of the flue impossible. A video scan would be required to evaluate the flue condition in a situation like this. The height of the chimney flue is not a factor. Even in short flues, there’s a big difference in what can be observed during a visual inspection vs. during a video inspection.

Liners for gas- and oil-fired appliances do not require insulation to meet the manufacturers’ installation and warranty requirements. Why not? Because of the lower flue gas temperatures and lower heat transfer, they are less likely to catch surrounding combustible materials on fire.

Liners used with solid fuel-burning appliances, however, do need to be insulated.  If combustible materials are in contact with the chimney, there are provisions that allow the liner to be installed in what is defined as a zero/zero install. That means there may be zero clearance to the interior of the chimney and zero clearance to the exterior of the chimney. The insulation may be of the blanket type or an expanded mica or masonry insulation.

The answer is: Only well-seasoned wood. Nothing else should be burned in your fireplace. Other items even paper, holiday wrapping paper, cardboard, foam packaging, etc. will cause higher, out of control flames which can damage your property and result in a whole-home fire. Burning things other than wood will also cause carbon build up, unpleasant fumes which can be harmful if inhaled.

This is a common question. The damper is a hinged metal plate or valve used to seal the fireplace when it’s not in use, and it’s important to understand how to work your damper. Here’s why: If the damper is not functioning correctly or if it’s closed when you light a fire in your fireplace, you could have a smoky room at best and a fire hazard at worst.

You want the damper to be in the fully open position before you light your fire, for safety reasons. If you wait until you’ve lit a fire in your fireplace to check that the damper is open, it’ll be much more difficult to safely open the damper. So, always look up into your fireplace with a flashlight to check that the damper is open first. Once you’ve confirmed it’s open, then you can light your fire.