Common Fireplace Questions
By Doug Hetsch
November 7, 2019
Common Fireplace Questions
Since 2006, All American Chimney Service has provided the highest quality of professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services to the Louisville area, and we have become known as the best source of expert knowledge on fireplaces in the region. Our team has been certified by industry leaders, such as the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). Because of this, you can trust us to take care of your professional hearth needs. We want your chimney and fireplace system to work as safely and efficiently as possible, and if you need to make any updates, we can help you find the perfect appliance for your home. Over our years of providing professional chimney services, we have been asked many questions by our customers about their fireplaces, and we would like to take this opportunity to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we have received.
What fuel type is the best fireplace for my home?
When you are considering a new fireplace, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the different options you will find. All American Chimney Service is here to guide you towards the best fireplace choice for your home. If you are looking for a convenient and economical way to efficiently heat your home, we recommend Valor direct vent gas fireplace inserts. Not only are these fireplaces easy to operate, but they have high energy efficiency ratings, which means they provide more heat for less money. We can show you how to use your insert for zone heating, which will significantly reduce your utility bills because you are only heating the area of your home that is being used. Although gas fireplaces are very popular because they are so highly efficient, some homeowners could never imagine not having the sensory experience of a wood fire. Fortunately, you do not have to sacrifice the scents and sounds of burning wood to heat your home efficiently. We are proud to sell wood-burning fireplace inserts from Regency and Enviro, two of the highest quality brands in the industry. With energy efficiency ratings as high as 80 percent, these appliances provide more heat with longer burn times and are certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as clean-burning heating appliances. No matter what your tastes and preferences may be, you can count on us to help you find the right fireplace for your needs.
How much value does my fireplace add to my home?
For many homebuyers, a fireplace is an essential amenity. According toSF Gate Home Guides, a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 46 percent of home buyers would pay more for a house that had at least one fireplace. Although the average additional amount that they would pay was $1,200, the actual value of your fireplace can vary greatly based on the type and location of your home. A fireplace is expected in high-end homes, and buyers will typically pay more money for homes with this amenity. Location can have the most influence on how much value a fireplace can be. In colder climates, a fireplace can add as much as $12,000 to the value of a home.
What do I need to know when shopping for firewood?
The most important thing to always remember when you are buying your firewood supply each winter is to only buy wood that has been properly seasoned. This means that the wood has been allowed to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. Seasoned firewood will give you long-lasting, clean-burning, hot fires. When you try to burn wood with a high moisture content, you can have issues with low heat, smoke, and accelerated creosote buildup. If you do not have a trusted firewood dealer, you can use a moisture gauge to ensure the wood has been seasoned before purchasing. You can also tell how seasoned the wood is from its appearance. Properly seasoned firewood will be lightweight and grayish in color. If you tap two pieces of seasoned wood together, you should hear a hollow sound. Wet wood will typically make a dull thudding sound when struck together.
What is the best way to start a fire?
One of the secrets to easily starting fires in your fireplace is using the top-down, or upside down, method when building your fire. You begin by placing the largest logs across the fireplace grate and then layering rows of firewood on top of that base. Each row should consist of smaller logs than the last row, and you should end with a top layer of kindling, which you will light to start the fire. As the kindling burns, its hot embers will ignite the larger logs underneath each layer. This method creates a stronger chimney draft, which gives you longer-lasting fires that produce more heat.
What do I need to do to take care of my chimney?
The most important and easiest thing you can do to take care of your chimney system is to schedule an annual sweep and inspection of the system by a certified professional. An annual sweep will prevent flammable creosote from building up on the inside of your system. An annual inspection will keep you informed on any changes to your system so repairs can be done before they become hazards. Other than these two things, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your system is as efficient as possible.
Make sure your chimney has a chimney cap or top-sealing damper. A chimney cap does a lot of work towards keeping the inside of your chimney protected from rain, debris, and animals. If you have a top-sealing damper, be sure to keep it closed during the warmer months. A top-sealing damper can act as a cap for your chimney when it is closed. During your annual inspections, your chimney technician will inspect your cap for signs of deterioration.
Keep a close eye on the outside of your chimney in between annual appointments. Especially in the winter months, the outside of your chimney system is exposed to harsh rains, sub-freezing temperatures, and other factors that can cause masonry and mortar deterioration over time. Sometimes this damage can be visible to the naked eye. If you see crumbling masonry or mortar, loose or fallen bricks, or a white powdery buildup on the outside of your chimney, you should call your local chimney sweep right away. These are signs of serious structural damage and should be repaired quickly.
All American Chimney Service is here for all of your professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs. If you have any other fireplace questions,contact ustoday. Our team of certified professionals is always happy to help you find the best solutions.