Our Company Blog

Gas Logs vs Wood-Burning Inserts

Gas Logs vs Wood-Burning Inserts Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLCIf you were disappointed with the heating efficiency of your old masonry fireplace last winter, you may be thinking of how to improve its performance. Unfortunately, traditional fireplaces do not provide a lot of heat to your home because a lot of the hot air exits out of the chimney. This can make your heating bills very expensive as you try to compensate for the loss of heat. Aelite Chimney Specialties has several options that can increase your home’s heating efficiency by updating your masonry fireplace, and two of the most popular of these options are gas logs and wood-burning fireplace inserts. While both of these heating appliances will lower your heating costs and provide more heat to your home, they each have their own pros and cons. We would like to tell you more about gas logs and wood-burning inserts to help you decide which one would work better in your home.

Gas Logs

If you are on a tight budget, gas logs can be your best option to increase the heating efficiency in your home. Not only are gas logs economical, they are also more convenient than wood-burning fireplace inserts. You will not have to worry about bringing in firewood or sweeping up ashes after every fire. All you have to do to start a fire is turn the gas logs on by flipping a switch or pressing a button on a remote control. Gas logs are available in two types – vented and vent-free. According to SF Gate, a set of vented gas logs requires a chimney, while a set of vent-free gas logs can be installed wherever you choose. You may have heard that vent-free gas logs can be unsafe, but Aelite Chimney Specialties will tell you exactly how to use this type of gas logs and enjoy safe fires. Although newer sets of gas logs look very realistic, one of the biggest drawbacks of this heating appliance is the absence of the sensory experiences of burning wood.

Wood-Burning Inserts

For those who prefer the scents, sounds, and sights of a wood fire, a wood-burning fireplace insert can be the best option to increase the heating efficiency of your home. Aelite Chimney Specialties can install one of these inserts into your existing masonry fireplace opening so that you can enjoy safe, clean, and warm wood fires. If you have access to cutting your own firewood, this option can be very budget friendly. Using the latest technology, this type of heating appliance burns wood very efficiently so that fewer amounts of smoke and other pollutants are produced with each fire. One of our favorite things about wood-burning fireplace inserts is the ability to provide heat even if the electricity and gas are out because of a winter storm.

To learn more about these heating appliances, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We can help you decide whether gas logs or a wood-burning insert would be the best choice for your home.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Gas Logs vs Wood-Burning Inserts

Be Ready to Light Your First Fire!

Light Your First Fire Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLCWhile it may seem hard to believe, cooler weather will be here before we know it. This time of the year is the best time to get your home ready for winter, and one of the most important things you can do is to schedule an appointment to have your chimney professionally swept and inspected. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national fire safety groups all recommend having these professional chimney maintenance tasks done before you light the first fire of the year. You can trust Aelite Chimney Specialties to make sure your chimney will work efficiently and safely this fall and winter. We would like to tell you why it is so important to have your chimney checked out by our CSIA-certified chimney professionals before the temperature drops.

Prevent chimney fires

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, your chimney may have quite a bit of creosote accumulation on its interior walls. Creosote develops naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, and this residue sticks to the walls of the flue. These deposits can be very hazardous as creosote is extremely flammable. The CSIA even names creosote as a leading cause of chimney fires. When Aelite Chimney Specialties sweeps your chimney, we take great care to remove every bit of creosote from the flue. We make sure that your risk of a chimney fire is greatly reduced.

Prevent carbon monoxide leaks

When Aelite Chimney Specialties inspects your chimney, we look for damage and problems that could cause your chimney to be unsafe. One of the hazards we look for is a flue blockage that could force the byproducts of combustion, including smoke and toxic gases like carbon monoxide, back into your home. If we find debris blocking the chimney, we will remove it so that it will exhaust properly. We also look for other possible things that could cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home, such as a cracked chimney liner. If we find this type of damage, we will provide you with photographic evidence and a written estimate of the repair work needed to make your chimney safe again.

Make sure your chimney is safe to use this fall. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection today.

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Make Sure Your Chimney Is Ready for Fall with a Video Inspection

Inside your chimney, dangerous hazards can be lurking that could lead to serious situations. To be sure your chimney and fireplace system is safe to operate before you light your first fire this fall, a professional chimney sweeping and inspection is recommended by national fire safety organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). You need certified and experienced chimney technicians to look closely at the condition of your chimney, and you can count on Aelite Chimney Specialties because we have been taking care of the chimneys in the Chicago area for over 15 years. Our chimney sweeps have been trained and certified by the CSIA to properly maintain chimney and venting systems, and we provide video chimney inspections to guarantee every inch of the inside of your chimney has gotten a close up look. In order to be able to enjoy your fireplace on the first cool day this fall, we suggest you make your appointment with us for this essential maintenance service before summer ends. Once September arrives, our sweeps are booked through December to sweep and inspect chimneys, so you could have a difficult time scheduling our services on the date that is the most convenient for you. The longer you wait to contact us, the longer you will have to wait to safely use your fireplace. We would like to tell you about a couple of the biggest dangers that could be hiding inside your chimney and how we can reduce your risk so that you can enjoy safe and warm fires this fall and winter.

Chimney FiresAll About Chimney Fires - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

You may think that if there were a fire inside your chimney, you would obviously know. However, not every chimney fire is dramatic enough to have smoke and flames coming out of the top of the chimney. The CSIA warns that slow-burning chimney fires can cause just as much damage as a visible one. Just because the lack of air and fuel keep these flames from being seen, the temperatures can become hot enough to spread to the combustible parts of your home that surround the chimney. To reduce your risk of a chimney fire, you need to have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year to remove all of the accumulated creosote from the inner chimney walls. Creosote develops naturally during the combustion process of burning wood and can build up as large deposits that are very hazardous. This residue is so extremely flammable that it can easily ignite a fire when the internal temperature of your chimney reaches a high enough point. In fact, the CSIA has named creosote as the leading cause of chimney fires. You can count on Aelite Chimney Specialties to get rid of every bit of creosote when we sweep your chimney because we use video cameras to be sure every inch has been scrubbed clean.

Carbon Monoxide Leaks

When Aelite Chimney Specialties inspects your chimney, we look closely to ensure nothing could cause toxic combustion gases like carbon monoxide to be able to get into your home. We make sure the flue contains no blockages from debris that could force this poisonous gas back into your living space, and, by using the video camera, we can get a close look at the condition of the liner to be sure there are no cracks or gaps that could allow leaks. If we do find damage, we will provide you with video evidence, along with a written evaluation and an estimate of necessary repairs.
Ensure the safety of your home and family this fall. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and video inspection.

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Consider Installing Glass Fireplace Doors

When you have kids and pets, it is important to make the area around your fireplace as safe as possible. One of the best safety measures you can take is installing glass fireplace doors. Glass fireplace doors are also an economical way to update the look of your fireplace. Aelite Chimney Specialties offers a wide variety of glass fireplace doors in all sorts of styles. We can even create custom doors to perfectly fit your fireplace. You can trust us to install these doors as safely as possible, and we can also install other safety components such as screen gates. We would like to tell you more about the benefits of glass fireplace doors.

Keep hot sparks and embers in the fireplacekeep sparks inside your fireplace - Chicago IL - Aelite

Glass fireplace doors will completely seal the fireplace opening from your home, and this means you will not have to worry about hot sparks and embers jumping out of the fireplace to land on your floor, curtains, or furniture. You will be reducing your risk of an accidental fire caused by hot sparks and embers.

Improve energy efficiency

According to Step By Step, glass fireplace doors will help to keep your home warmer because they keep air from escaping out of the chimney during the cold winter months. Your home will also stay cooler in the summer as these glass doors will keep hot air from coming through the fireplace through your chimney.

Reduce smoke in your home

Downdrafts can be inevitable at times due to a sudden rush of air down the chimney. If you have a fire burning during a downdraft, smoke will be pushed into your home. With glass fireplace doors, you can enjoy your fires without having to worry about any downdrafts making your home smoky.

Childproof your fireplace

As we mentioned earlier, glass fireplace doors can keep your kids and pets away from a blazing fire. However, these glass doors can get very hot, so you need to teach your children to not touch the doors. Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you with this issue by also installing screen gates that will keep your kids from getting to the glass fireplace doors.
Aelite Chimney Specialties has the experience and eye to know exactly what size of glass fireplace doors you need to fit your fireplace opening perfectly. Contact us to find out more about your glass fireplace door options.

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Waterproofing Your Chimney

To be sure your chimney does not suffer from spalling damage during the winter, it is important to have your chimney waterproofed. Water can cause so much damage and deterioration to masonry chimneys that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends protecting your chimney with various water penetration preventive measures, including waterproofing. The summer is the perfect time to waterproof your chimney, and Aelite Chimney Specialties can take care of this preventive task for you. We would like to tell you more about how water damages your chimney and how waterproofing can protect your chimney from deterioration.

What is spalling damage?Waterproofing and Spalling Damage - Chicago IL - Aelite

The bricks and mortar of your chimney are naturally porous, which means they absorb water from rain, ice, and snow. In the winter, any water that is trapped inside the masonry materials will freeze and expand whenever the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather warms back up, the water thaws out, and its force can cause the bricks and mortar to crack and break apart. This is spalling damage, and if this damage is left unrepaired, you could end up with serious structural issues, including the collapse of your chimney. Aelite Chimney Specialties has years of experience in masonry repairs, and we can replace any damaged or missing bricks and mortar joints to restore the soundness of your chimney’s structure.

How does waterproofing protect my chimney from spalling damage?

Waterproofing creates a barrier against water penetration and absorption. Aelite Chimney Specialties uses a waterproofing formula that is 100 percent vapor permeable, which means vapors can escape from the bricks and mortar. When we waterproof your chimney, we clean the exterior of the chimney by scrubbing away any mold, loose dirt, and debris and washing off any stains. We then apply the waterproofing formula to your entire chimney to protect it from water penetration. Waterproofing prolongs the life of your chimney and saves you the expense of masonry repairs. Your chimney will also be protected from efflorescence and other stains, and waterproofing also discourages the growth of mold, mildew, and other types of fungus.
Waterproofing your chimney is a good investment to keep your chimney working safely and efficiently. Aelite Chimney Specialties also provides other types of water penetration preventive services, including chimney cap and flashing repair and installation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to prolong the life of your chimney by preventing water damage.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Waterproofing Your Chimney