Why You Should Upgrade Your Fireplace This Fall

Whether you already have a fireplace in your home or are having a home built, you will probably wonder how you can upgrade your fireplace. We are going to explain why upgrading your fireplace is important.

 
 You Are Having A Home Built With A Fireplace
 
  • First off, congratulations on having your home built to your liking. Chances are the builder will attempt to sell you some upgrades for your fireplace, and you are going to want to pay close attention to what they are installing in the fireplace. The goal is to keep the cool air inside during the summer, and warm air inside during the winter. Upgrading your fireplace on average cost between two and three thousand dollars, and your typical home mortgage is for thirty years, which breaks down to just about five dollars per month. Making it affordable and worth every penny!
You Already Have A Fireplace In Your Home
 
  • Just like if you are having a home built, you do not want a builder’s grade fireplace in your home, and the materials are usually cheaper and not the best. In fact, a builders grade fireplace is more like a decoration rather than an alternative heat source for your home. Upgrading the components on your fireplace is crucial to the efficiency of your fireplace and even keeping animals outside of your home entering through the fireplace.

 

Appearance
 
  • More than likely if you have a fireplace, it is in your family room, and the fireplace is the focal point of that room. A builder’s grade fireplace will often have basic building materials on the outside and some sort of fabricated stone attempting to give it a certain look. However, after time, these inexpensive materials will begin to wear and not look appealing. Just like your kitchen, your fireplace could use some natural stone, and some woodwork that is professional. This will help set off your main room, and most likely be a conversation starter every time someone new views your fireplace.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today if you are interested in upgrading your fireplace, inside or outside, at 770.884.6475 or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Fireplace Upgrade, Upgrade

Tips For You & Your Fireplace This Summer

Fireplaces are wonderful and can provide much-needed warmth for your family on a chilly summer night. It can also be around an area where you and your family use to socialize after a busy day. As wonderful as a fireplace can be, it can also be the source of some problems as fireplaces can be complicated and difficult to maintain. With that being said, we have made a list of essential tips to use that relate to the use of your fireplace.

The Wood

Choosing the right wood to burn can be more important than you may realize. Here are some tips for choosing the correct wood for your fireplace.

  • Make sure to not use wood that is wet or damp. A good tip to make sure that your wood is properly dried is that when you buy wood, store it in a dry place for use the following year. Properly dried wood will burn more evenly in your fireplace.
  • Do not use chemicals to start your fire. Only use wood, newspaper or maybe a pinecone. Make sure to refrain from using lighter fluid or gasoline to start your fire as they can let harmful toxins enter the living space of your home.

Check Your Chimney Cap

Your chimney cap is located on top of your chimney and needs to be checked on a regular basis.

  • The first thing to check is that your chimney cap is still on your chimney and secured tightly and centered over your chimney. Make sure that there is not enough room for debris or an animal to get in there.
  • Next, make sure to clear any branches or debris away from your chimney cap as it is an obvious fire hazard due to your chimney cap getting hot when a fire is lit.

Always Keep A Fire Extinguisher Handy

We hope that you never need to use it, but it is important to make sure that you have a non-expired fire extinguisher near your fireplace in case of an emergency.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today for a free chimney estimate on damages that may have occurred or if you have any questions about keeping your fireplace safe for you and your loved ones at 770.884.6475or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Chimney Cap, fireplace safety, Fireplace Wood

What To Know About A Chimney Swift

What you need to know about chimney sweeps Advanced Chimney SweepsIf you have a chimney at your home, then you are probably aware of chimney swift, and why they choose chimneys as a preferred nesting spot. You are also probably aware of what to do and what not to do when you hear birds chirping inside your chimney walls. 

What Is  A Chimney Swift?

  • A chimney swift is a small bird that is rather oddly shaped, with a rounded wings and small round head. The head is so small that the beak is barely visible. Both males and females are of the same size and weight.

What Is The Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

  •  Way back in 1918, the USA decided to federally protect this bird from becoming an endangered species by placing the chimney swift under this act. What this does for the chimney swift is punishes anyone that is caught moving, disturbing or destroying a chimney swift or their nest that contains eggs with hefty fines.

Why Do They Choose My Chimney For Their Nest?

  • The chimney swift is actually looking for a nice quiet hollowed out tree for their nest. However, as our trees become more limited due to new construction and growth, these birds will be forced to settle for your man-made chimney. Your man-made chimney resembles a hollow tree as it is dim and enclosed.

What Can I Do Once I Hear Them Chirping or Is It Too Late?

  • Unfortunately, due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, you will not be able to do anything about the Chimney Swift’s until they have their babies, and leave your chimney for the winter-time. Then you can act by giving us a call, and we can come in to remove the nest, and any bird mites or fecal matter that they may have left behind. We can also prevent them from returning next summer by installing preventative items on your chimney, such as a new chimney cap.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today for a free chimney estimate on damages that may have occurred if you have been paid a visit by some Chimney Sweep’s, at 770.884.6475 or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Bird, Chimney Bird, Chimney Swift

What Not To Burn In Your Fireplace

While it may seem logical that you can burn just about anything in your fireplace, that is not the case! Burning certain items in your fireplace can result in damaging your fireplace and even releasing certain chemicals and toxins into your home harming you and your loved one. We have made a list of common items that you may have in your home that should never be burned in your fireplace.

Certain Paper & Cardboard Products

  • While it may be very convenient to toss last night’s pizza box in the fireplace, it is not a wise decision as the colored print on the box may actually be painted on and upon burning could release toxic gas or chemicals into your household. The same goes for paper towels with colored print, soda can box, and any other paper or cardboard that has colored print on them.

Anything Plastic

  • It does not matter if your plastic bottle is made of recycled material or not, do not burn plastic anything in your fireplace. This goes for bottles, plastic cartons, or even the plastic bags from the grocery store. Burning plastic will release chemicals that can be dangerous to your health if you breathe them in.

Tree’s & Brush

  • Depending on where you live, it can be a hassle to bag up every small pile of leaves or brush that compile in your yard. However, it is well worth the extra trouble and you may not know everything that you are burning and some plants such as poison ivy, sumac or oak can cause the same allergic reactions when burned as if you were to touch it. The last thing you want in the air in your home is that of a poison brush that can contaminate the air you and your family are breathing.

Painted or Treated Wood

  • This is similar to why you should not burn painted or printed cardboard or paper. Depending on what your wood is painted or treated with, burning it will release toxic chemicals into the air that you and you’re loved will breathe while inside your home.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today for a free chimney estimate on damages that may have occurred if you have burned materials that are on the above list at 770.884.6475or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Burning Plastic, Painted Wood, What Not To Burn In Your Fireplace

How To Know If My Chimney Has An Airflow Issue

A fireplace is great for your home for several different reasons such as entertaining guests, a centerpiece for your holiday decorations, and even a way to cut your energy cost due to rising electricity and gas costs. However, like with almost everything, with positives, there are sure to be some negatives. We have listed some possible reasons that could be wrong with your chimney if you are experiencing a smokey living room or living space around your chimney.

Blockage

  • If you have smoke coming back into your living area from the chimney, and your chimney is existing for some time, and this is a new problem, the chances are that there is a blockage somewhere within your chimney preventing the smoke from traveling up the chimney. A blockage can be a pretty simple fix such as a bird’s nest, or just a build-up of creosote that needs to be cleaned.

How & What You Burn

  • There may not even be a blockage causing your chimney not to pass the smoke through your chimney as designed. It may actually be what you are burning and how you are burning it.  For example, if you burn paper or pine wood, this will cause more smoke that your chimney has been designed to handle causing a smokey living area inside your home. Also, burning green or unseasoned firewood will also give you a very similar effect.

Poor Draft

  • If you have made it passed the above two concerns, then we may have a more serious issue. If there is no blockage and you are burning your materials within your fireplace, then you may have a design flaw with your chimney. For example, your fireplace may be too short, your flue maybe too small for your fireplace, or you may even need a chimney fan. If you think that you may have a design flaw with your chimney, the best option would be to give us a call as soon as possible.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today for a free chimney estimate on damages that may have occurred during the winter months at 770.884.6475or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Chimney Damage, Creosote Build Up, Drafty Chimney, seasoned firewood

Make Sure Your Chimney Is Ready For Summer

Wow, what a winter we just had here in Georgia with record-breaking winds and rainfalls. We made it through, and we are hoping that your chimney did as well. However, if it has not made it through and you suffered from a crack or leak, now is the time to give us a call to get your chimney repaired!

If your chimney did make it through the winter time, then guess what? With the summer about to be upon us, now you get to add heat to a mix up of high winds and heavy rains.

We have listed a few things that can go wrong with your chimney during winter weather and winter storms. 

Flue Damage

  • If any protective material is damaged or broken during a storm, this will lead water to the Flue Liner. This can cause your flue liner to rust and deteriorate. As this deterioration progresses, this will cause moisture, heat, smoke and other gases to enter your home. This can cause serious damage to the people inside your home and is a potential fire hazard.

Cap Damage

  • The cap of your chimney is a cover that sits on top of your chimney and is designed to help prevent water, debris, and animals from damaging your chimney. Severe storms and high winds can damage your cap or even remove it completely. Caps are also subject to rusting which can allow for water damage to your chimney.

Flash Damage

  • Flash material is installed where your chimney meets your roof. This material is designed to prevent water and debris from damaging your chimney and the masonry on your chimney. Just like your cap, high winds and heavy rain can damage the flash leaving your chimney open to moisture and erosion. 

Your house is an investment and safe place for you and your family to live, and your chimney is apart of your house, making your chimney a priority when it comes to protecting the value of your home and family.

Free Chimney Estimate

Contact us today for a free chimney estimate on damages that may have occurred during the winter months at 770.884.6475or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Chimney Damage, Chimney Preparation, Summer Time Chimney Prep

Time for a New Fire Place?

Most fireplaces in homes built before 1970 are masonry and will probably last as long as the house still stands. But homes built after 1970 usually contain prefabricated fireplaces. Prefabricated fireplaces were (and still are) less expensive than building a masonry fireplace. The downside of prefabricated fireplaces is their lifespan. According to industry standards, prefabricated fireplaces have a lifespan of only 10 to 30 years. Not to mention that some manufacturers use cheap “tin” materials to construct the fireplaces. Even if installed properly they are not built to sustain wear and tear for numerous decades.

Types of Prefabricated Fireplaces

Here are some options when considering a new prefabricated fireplace:

  • Woodburning fireplaces:  For those who enjoy wood fires. These prefabricated models are made with energy efficient combustion designs with upgraded chimney systems that can withstand higher temperatures and provide substantial heat when needed.
  • Gas fireplaces:  Prefabricated gas fireplaces are easier to maintain and won’t leave you with the messy cleanup that wood burning fireplaces do. They have a modern, contemporary look and still give off real flames as the woodburning fireplaces. What’s more, they work during power outages, and you’ll always get the same consistent amount of heat whereas the heat output on the woodburning fireplaces depends on the amount, condition and type of wood being used. Another great feature of the gas fireplace is that they are designed for maximum heat production, so there is no chance of overfiring. Some of the higher end models come with thermostat control to regulate the flame to adjust the heat so that you are always comfortable. Direct vent models use outdoor air for combustion and provide venting options that a woodburning fireplace wouldn’t.

Fireplace Safety Concerns

Whether you have a masonry fireplace or a prefabricated fireplace, you must have your chimney inspected and swept every year.  If it’s time for you to replace your prefabricated fireplace, make sure you have a certified professional install your fireplace. Improper installation can result in fires and damages to your home.

If your fireplace needs maintenance or replacing, contact us today for a free estimate.

 

Posted in: fireplace safety, Gas fireplace, Gas Fireplaces, Prefabricated Fireplaces, Uncategorized, Woodburning Fireplaces

Can A Wet & Cold Winter Ruin My Chimney?

We rarely ever see snow in the Atlanta area. However, this winter has been colder and wetter than normal. Our close to freezing temperatures this winter, mixed with all the rain that we have received will cause your chimney to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction will create cracks, gaps and even deteriorate your mortar. Prolonged exposure to water/moisture like we have had this winter will cause water to seep in your bricks, which will weaken them.

When these bricks weaken, water will leak down your chimney and can cause many different types of damage including: 

  • Your interior walls can be stained
  • Your chimney exterior can be stained
  • Your entire chimney stack can become crooked or even collapse
  • Bad odors from water mixing with creosote from your chimney

What Can I Do?

  • Have A Chimney Cap Installed
    • A chimney cap is the most inexpensive method for preventing water from saturating your chimney. Without a chimney cap, much larger amounts of water will enter your chimney than with a chimney cap. Also, chimney caps have multiple purposes such as keeping animals and other wildlife from entering your chimney as they include a mesh wall around them.
  • Have A Cricket Installed
    • Cricket is an excellent tool that will keep water that lands on your roof away from your chimney. Of course, it all depends on where your chimney is located, but sometimes a chimney may be found in a place where water steadily hits your chimney structure. A cricket will help ensure your chimney is not bombarded with water year round.
  • Have Your Chimney Waterproofed
    • Chimney materials are very porous and tend to absorb large amounts of water, so waterproofing depending on the location of your chimney and the amount of water that your chimney structure comes in contact with will depend if waterproofing will be effective or is the right decision for your chimney. We will be happy to discuss waterproofing options with you.

Schedule An Inspection

If you are concerned about your chimney due to the wet and cold weather that we have been experiencing this winter, ADVANCED CHIMNEY SWEEPS OF MARIETTA, GA can provide the service you need. As certified chimney specialists, we provide complete repair services for chimneys suffering from cracks, gaps or crumbling mortar.

CONTACT US TODAY for a chimney inspection. Call 770.884.6475 or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: Chimney Caps, Chimney Cricket, Chimney Inspection, Chimney Inspection and Natural Disaster

Do You Need A Chimney Liner?

If you have drafting problems with your chimney or wood burning stove, you may want to consider getting or replacing your chimney liner. Not many people are aware of how important a chimney liner is to keep the fireplace hearth safe. The liner is responsible for helping combustion material from the fires in the hearth escape up the chimney and prevents the development of dangerous residue such as creosote.

Not all chimneys have liners. If you live in an older home, the chimney may have originally been constructed without a liner, or you may have a damaged liner that needs replacing. If this is the case, you should definitely contact Advanced Chimney Sweeps and have us help you choose and install a chimney liner.

Chimney Liner Benefits

Having a chimney liner will increase your home’s energy efficiency. Liners form a layer of insulation inside a chimney that reduces the downdrafts during times when there is no fire in the hearth. This means less cold air getting into your home and forcing you to run your heater or furnace more often. It also means more efficient burning of fuel inside the fireplace.

Chimney liners prevent creosote and moisture. Creosote is the shiny black substance that forms from unburned wood energy that gathers due to poor venting or wood that is not burned thoroughly. Creosote is highly combustible and the leading cause of chimney fires. A liner prevents creosote from building up by helping with proper venting. The liner also stops water moisture from becoming trapped in the chimney, which is a significant danger because it will cause cracking when it freezes during winter.

Most importantly, chimney liners protect your home from fire damage. One of the most important functions of a chimney liner is to keep the heat inside the chimney from reaching the combustible material outside. For older chimneys with cracks in their masonry, it’s easy for heat to escape to areas such as the second floor or the roof and start a fire. In fact, the majority of house fires in the U.S. start this way. A liner keeps the heat inside the chimney where it belongs.

Whether you need to line an old, unlined chimney or reline a chimney with a damaged or failing system, Advanced Chimney Sweeps of Marietta, GA can provide the service you need. As certified chimney specialists, we provide complete installation and service for chimney liners and flue repair. We offer several types of chimney liners including stainless steel and cast in place systems.

Contact us today for a free chimney liner installation estimate. Call 770.884.6475 or REQUEST AN ESTIMATE ONLINE.

Posted in: chimney liner, Chimney Services, Drafty Chimney, fireplace safety, Hearth Safety

Choosing the Right Firewood

Newer homes come with gas fireplaces. That’s because they are cheaper to build, easier to install and don’t require firewood. All you have to do is turn on a switch. But if you live in an older home with a built-in fireplace, you can only use real wood. Nothing compares to the atmosphere traditional fireplaces bring to any room.

So when it comes to building a wood fire, what type of firewood should you use? Each wood species has its own set of burning characteristics, and there are a lot of choices out there. Here are some of the most popular and available firewood types.

SOFTWOODS

Pine is widely available and extremely sustainable in northern climates. Pine seasons faster than hardwood varieties, is easy to split, and easy to start. The downside of pine is that burns very quickly and doesn’t produce the heat of hardwoods. Also, burning pine will cause the sap pockets to explode which causes sparking; this is a safety issue because the sparking will cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Many people like to use softwood like pine to get a fire started before switching over hardwoods once the fire is hot.

Fir, particularly Douglas Fir has a medium heating value and does not produce too much ash. Older trees are easy to split and easy to start. Fire does produce a moderate amount of sparking.

HARDWOODS

Oak is abundant in the United States and is considered one of the best species for firewood. When properly dried, it can produce a very slow-burning and hot fire. Oak needs to be seasoned and aged in a dry area for at least one year to ensure proper burning.

Hard Maple is available in the Northern US and Canada. It is extremely dense and heavy, which allows it to burn very slowly, even in comparison to other hardwoods like oak and hickory.

Birch gives off a lot of heat, but it burns fairly quickly. While it’s easier to find and cheaper than other hardwoods, it burns rather quickly. Birch is best mixed and used in combination with other types.

What to look for and how to store your firewood

Most any wood that has been seasoned properly will burn well. However, even the best firewood will not burn well if it has not been seasoned. If the moisture level in wood is too high, energy is consumed evaporating water instead of throwing heat out. Wood that has been seasoned properly will appear grayish in color on the outside and weigh less than a new piece of wood of the same species. If you split it in half, it should be white on the inside.

Whatever firewood you choose to burn, make sure to store your wood in a well-ventilated outdoor area that is protected from the elements. Indoor temperatures can encourage any bugs in the wood to become active. Bring in only as much firewood as you plan to use in your fire.

Posted in: firewood, seasoned firewood, types of firewood, Woodburning Fireplaces