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How Does a Chimney Cap Help My Chimney?

How Chimney Caps Help My Chimney Photo - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLCYou may wonder why you need a chimney cap, but in order to work efficiently and safely, your chimney needs several important components, including a high-quality chimney cap. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney cap is the most economical way to prevent water penetration of your masonry chimney. This essential chimney component helps in other ways as well. Aelite Chimney Specialties offers chimney cap sales and professional installation services to the Chicago area, and we would like to tell you more about the functions of a chimney cap.

Prevents water leaks

Sitting at the top of your chimney, the chimney cap covers the opening to keep water from rain and snow from getting into your home through the flue. This water will run off the cap away from the chimney and roof to help you avoid water damage that can be extensive and expensive.

Keeps wild animals out

Many types of chimney caps come equipped with mesh metal sides that serve to stop birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals from getting inside your chimney. These wild animals can confuse chimneys with hollow trees and choose one to make a nest for the winter. This can lead to damage, insect infestation, and possibly even the animal becoming trapped and dying inside your chimney. You need a good chimney cap to prevent these critters from entering.

Avoids accidental fires

The mesh metal sides that keep out birds and animals can also help prevent accidental fires. Also known as spark arrestors, the meshing stops hot sparks and embers from jumping out of the top of the chimney to land on your roof or your yard.

Improves the draft in your chimney

You can find certain types of chimney caps that have special vents that direct the wind to pull smoke, gases, and the other byproducts of combustion out of your chimney as the draft is supposed to do. If you are having trouble lighting a fire or having smoke fill the room when you do light a fire, this type of chimney cap can be very helpful.

Aelite Chimney Specialties carries a wide variety of chimney caps in various shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer copper, stainless steel, or another metal, we can help you find the perfect cap for your chimney. Contact us to find out more about which type of chimney cap will work best for your home.

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Which Insert Is Right For Me – Wood or Gas?

Have you noticed that your heating costs have been increasing each winter? If so, are you ready to do something to make your home more energy efficient in order to lower your utility bills? If you have a traditional wood-burning fireplace, you should consider updating it with a new insert. Those older fireplaces typically have efficiency ratings of only 15 percent. This is because most of the heat produced by the fire goes out the chimney. This makes you have to turn up your furnace to compensate for that heat loss, which is why you are seeing your bills increase.

Which Insert Is Right For Me - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesSo, how can you reduce these bills? Convert your older wood-burning fireplace into a more energy efficient heating appliance. Install a new fireplace insert into the existing opening! Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you select the best insert for your home. Afterwards, we also install it so that it works safely and efficiently. However, there is one choice you will need to make. Do you want a wood or gas insert? To help with this decision, we would like to tell you more about the different fuel types.

WOOD-BURNING

If you love the smells, sights, and sounds of your traditional wood-burning fireplace, you will probably be leaning towards this type of insert. New technology has made burning wood much more energy efficient. According to HouseLogic, a wood-burning fireplace insert will have an energy efficiency rating of anywhere between 60 to 80 percent. This is enough for the US Environmental Protection Agency to certify certain models. These inserts will burn longer without as much firewood, which will also save you money. Most models are equipped with fans that circulate the heated air throughout the room. This way you will not have to worry about heated air escaping out of the chimney. However, if you are tired of doing the chores involved with your wood-burning fireplace, you may not be interested in this type of insert.

GAS

Are you ready for convenience and ease while you reduce your heating costs? If so, you will want to consider a gas fireplace insert. You will be able to start a fire from your couch with a remote control! You will not have to bring in firewood from outside anymore; nor will you have to sweep up ashes after a fire. When you are ready to leave your home or go to sleep, you will not have to wait for the fire to die down. You just have to push a button on the remote control to turn off the flames. Gas fireplace inserts burn clean with efficiency ratings of 58 to 85 percent and provide warm, cozy heat. Really, the only drawback is that you do not get the sensory experiences you have with wood fires.

Improve the energy efficiency in your home with a new fireplace insert. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to find out more about whether wood or gas is best for you!

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Why Is My Fireplace Smoking?

When colder temperatures start moving into the Chicago area, one of the first things you want to do is light a fire in your fireplace. However, every time you try to start a fire, you end up creating a toxic atmosphere of smoke instead of cozy warmth. You may feel like giving up on your fireplace, but Aelite Chimney Specialties are here to help you solve this common problem. One of the most common questions we are asked by our customers is “Why is my fireplace smoking?” We would like to share with you some of the most typical reasons why this problem occurs.

Why Is My Fireplace Smoking Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Blocked Chimney

Debris such as leaves, sticks, or pieces of damaged bricks and mortar joints fall into your chimney. This causes smoke to be forced back into your home, because that debris has blocked the exit path it should take. The chimney sweeps from Aelite Chimney Specialties can remove this blockage from your chimney. By doing this, allowing smoke to exhaust instead of blowing back into your living space.

Incorrect Chimney Dimensions

You could be experiencing smoke issues because your chimney is not tall enough. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney must be three feet taller than the shortest part of the roof. Plus, its top should be two feet higher than any part of the building within 10 feet. If your chimney is too short, the draft may not work properly. This can cause smoking issues. Another dimension issue involves the fireplace opening being too large.

Negative Air Pressure

Many homeowners try to increase energy efficiency by weatherizing their homes, which includes sealing every window and door. While this prevents drafts, it can also negatively affect the air pressure when the sealing is extra tight. Not only will a fire not be able to get enough make up air, but the chimney will also be unable to draw our air properly. To alleviate this issue, simply crack open a window in the same room as the fireplace before lighting a fire.

Sometimes the solution to a smoky fireplace be as simple as opening the damper completely. However, if that does not correct the issue, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We can inspect your chimney to take care of the problem, so you can enjoy your fireplace this winter!

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Why Is My Fireplace Smoking?

Stay Safe This Holiday Season with These 5 Fireplace Tips

Holiday Fireplace Safety Suggestions Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties The holiday season is one of the busiest and happiest times of the year. One of the most popular holiday activities is sitting around the fireplace with your family and friends. The fireplace is a great place for catching up with guests and celebrating the holidays, so you want to be sure this area is prepared. Safety should be on the top of the list of things to do when you are getting ready for the holidays. According to HouseLogic, the US Fire Administration has reported that more residential fires occur on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day than any other day of the year, and, even more serious, the number of fatalities and the amount of property damage from holiday fires increases as well. Aelite Chimney Specialties wants our customers to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season, so we would like to share these five fireplace safety tips.

Schedule a professional chimney sweeping and inspection.

To be sure your chimney and fireplace system is safe to use, you should get a professional opinion by scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection before the holiday season begins. Aelite Chimney Specialties provides this maintenance service from our chimney sweeps who have been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), so you can trust us to do the best job.

Be careful of what you put on your mantel.

Although it is traditional to hang Christmas stockings from the mantel, this is a fire hazard whenever the fireplace is in use. Of course, you can always remove the stockings when you light a fire, but it can be less of a hassle to find another spot to hang them, especially if you use your fireplace frequently. You should also keep decorations made from combustible materials, such as greenery and ribbons, off the mantel to avoid an accidental fire.

Choose your Christmas tree location wisely.

One of the most common causes of holiday fires has to do with Christmas trees. You should make sure your tree is placed at least three feet away from your fireplace and other heating appliances. Live trees can be so flammable that they can engulf an entire room in flames in just 30 seconds.

Check your holiday lights before putting them on the tree.

Another reason why Christmas trees cause so many fires involves the decorative lights. Check each strand of lights to be sure there are no broken sockets or frayed wires. If you find a damaged string of lights, you should replace it. Also, be careful of overloading your lights. Never run more than three strands of lights together from end to end.

Only burn seasoned firewood in your fireplace.

Never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace. Although it may seem easier to toss used paper into the fireplace instead of the trash, the dye on wrapping paper can cause flash fires that can become large and out of control very quickly.

Aelite Chimney Specialties wishes you and your family a happy and safe holiday season. Contact us for all of your fireplace and chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

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Be Ready to Host Your Family This Holiday Season with Warmth

Family Holiday Hosting Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesTime flies when you are busy, and the season of fall can be of the busiest times of the year. It may be hard to believe, but the holidays are just around the corner. If you have not had time to get your home ready for visits from friends and family during the holidays, you need to get started as soon as possible. One of the most important things you should do is make sure your fireplace and chimney are working efficiently and safely. Many fire safety organizations, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected before you light the first fire of the season. Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you get your fireplace ready before the holidays, and you can trust us to make sure everything is safe because we have been taking care of chimneys in the Chicago area for over 15 years. We would like to tell you what to expect from our professional chimney maintenance services.

Chimney Sweeping

Avoiding chimney fires is one of the most important reasons why you need to have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year. You need this maintenance service to have the creosote removed from the inside of your chimney. Creosote is produced naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, and it is so flammable that the CSIA has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. When Aelite Chimney Specialties arrives to your home to sweep your chimney, we begin by protecting your home from soot and dirt by laying down drop cloths and sealing off the area around your chimney. To make sure that we remove all of the creosote from your chimney, we use special rotating brushes and rods to scrub the entire inside of your chimney. After about an hour, your chimney will be less of a chimney fire hazard.

Chimney Inspection

You need to have your chimney professionally inspected annually to make sure there is no damage or other problems that could lead to hazardous situations. We check to see if anything is blocking your flue and can remove any debris that could force toxic gases like carbon monoxide back into your home. We also look for damage to parts of the chimney, including the liner, that could also lead to carbon monoxide leaks. The exterior of your chimney is also inspected to check for any masonry damage that could allow water penetration or could jeopardize the structure of your chimney. If our CSIA-certified chimney technicians find any problems, we will provide you with a written estimate of the repairs that are needed to make your chimney safe to use.

Are you ready to host your family with warmth this holiday season? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney swept and inspected.

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