Misconceptions About Chimneys
A fireplace is often a coveted feature that homeowners look for when purchasing a new house. While many imagine the joy and comfort a burning fire provides, some homeowners may be misled by myths and misconceptions regarding their chimney system. Here’s a look at some common myths about chimney ownership and maintenance that every homeowner should know:
Chimney Myth #1- Fireplaces are inefficient.
Many people believe that fireplaces are inefficient and often leave the room colder than it was before the fire was lit. While old opening burning fireplaces can be inefficient and suck heat up and out of the chimney instead of reflecting it back in to the room, modern designed fireplaces and fireplace inserts actually offer great heat efficiency and can help cut heating bills during cold winter months. In order for a fire to burn, it requires oxygen. Your fire sucks up the warm oxygen in the surrounding room which then gets replaced by cooler oxygen, either from outside or from other unheated spaces. If you notice this happening in your living area, consider installing a Fireback. Firebacks are placed against the back wall of your fireplace and are used to help radiate heat from the fire out into the room, making them a great option for older fireplaces.
Chimney Myth #2- I don’t use my fireplace often enough that it needs to be inspected or cleaned.
In reality, there are a number of reasons a chimney may need service or repairs. Even if you haven’t used your fireplace in years, cracks could form in the masonry causing structural damage, moisture could enter your chimney system leading to a number of issues and expensive repairs, and animals could enter your chimney flue and build nests creating dangerous blockages. Whether you just moved in or haven’t used your fireplace in months, it’s still extremely important to have your chimney system inspected and serviced before you burn another fire to ensure your safety. Many chimney fires happen when a homeowner decides to build a fire after years of not using the fireplace! Remember that preventative maintenance is A LOT less expensive than severe repairs needed due to lack of attention.
Chimney Myth #3- My chimney has a metal liner so I won’t need yearly maintenance.
Chimney liners are great at increasing efficiency, dealing with common chimney issues, and extending the life of your chimney, but they do not make your chimney system invincible to regular maintenance and inspections. Your chimney liner is still susceptible to creosote buildup and other blockages which are leading causes of chimney fires. Annual inspections are still recommended and many liner warranties will be voided if annual inspections are not kept up with.
Chimney Myth #4- I don’t need a professional chimney sweep to clean my chimney. I’ve found DIY tips to help me do it myself.
With the age of internet, many homeowners have turned to online sources to find tips on performing home maintenance on their own. While fixing a squeaky door or installing some kitchen cabinets maybe easily be done by non-professionals, there are some tasks that need the expertise of qualified and trained individuals. Chimney sweeping is one of these tasks. The chimney system performs a number of vital tasks and the malfunction of your chimney or fireplace can leave your home and life in danger. While cleaning techniques such as dropping a burlap sack filled with bricks down your chimney flue may seem like a creative and inexpensive solution, the end result will not be as thorough or as reliable as using a trained professional.
These are just a few chimney myths and misconceptions you may have heard regarding your chimney and fireplace. If you ever have any questions about the performance of your chimney, contact our chimney sweep specialists and we’ll get you on the right track.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004
Office 770-255-1300 / Toll Free 877-697-9337