Our Company Blog

Does Your Chimney Need Relining? Do It Now in the Offseason!

Summer is the perfect time to take care of any necessary chimney repairs. When you wait to have these repairs done in the fall, you may not be able to use your fireplace as soon as you would like. Taking care of any problems in the summer is the best way to know you will be able to light a fire on the first cool fall day. One of the most common chimney repairs, chimney relining is essential to keep your chimney working safely. If you cannot remember the last time your chimney was relined, it may be time to take care of it now. Aelite Chimney Specialties can inspect the condition of your liner and make relining recommendations based on the condition and fuel type of your heating appliance, the age of your home, and your budget. We would like to tell you more about the importance of chimney liners and the options we provide and recommend.

Stainless Steel Chimney Liner - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyWhy does my chimney need a liner?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), chimney liners serve three important purposes to your chimney and venting system. You need a chimney liner to protect the combustible parts of your home from the extremely high temperatures that are produced when a fire is burning. Liners also protect the bricks and mortar joints from the corrosive and toxic combustion gases. You also need a chimney liner to provide a correctly sized flue for your heating appliance. The majority of new fireplace inserts are much smaller than masonry fireplace openings, so the flue will be too large for the heating appliance. This can cause condensation and chimney draft issues.

What kinds of liners does Aelite Chimney Specialties carry?

Chimney liners come in three types: clay tile, metal, and cast-in-place. While we can work with all types of liners, we recommend the Ventinox lining systems. We are proud to carry these stainless steel liners that are tested and listed for every fuel type. No matter if you have a wood, gas, or oil-fired heating appliance, a Ventinox liner can withstand extremely hot temperatures and will last you a lifetime.

Have your chimney relined during the offseason. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for an inspection of your chimney liner today.

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Are Odors Coming from Your Chimney?

As the weather becomes more humid over the summer, you may start to notice unpleasant odors coming from your fireplace through the chimney. Warmer temperatures tend to stir up certain chimney odor sources, and your air conditioner could be causing a draft problem in your chimney that makes it easy for stinky smells to enter your home. Our staff at Aelite Chimney Specialties has over 15 years of experience in dealing with bad chimney odors. We can identify the source and provide a solution that prevents smelly chimneys. We would like to tell you more about chimney odor sources, how we can stop them, and what you can do yourself to keep your home smelling its greatest this summer.

Chimney Odors - Chicago IL -  Aelite Chimney Specialties What causes my chimney to stink?

While several things can be the source of chimney odors, creosote and soot are the most common causes. After a long and cold winter, a lot of residue from these byproducts of combustion will be stuck to the walls of your chimney. The heat and humidity of summer will make the scent of creosote and soot even stronger. The odor can be compared to asphalt or bad barbecue. Another thing that could be stinking up the air in your chimney is water. Any water that has leaked into your chimney will give off an unpleasant musty odor. The worst-case scenario for a chimney odor is a dead bird, squirrel, or other wild animal inside the chimney.

How can Aelite Chimney Specialties prevent these stinky smells from invading my home?

We strongly recommend scheduling your annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection with us in the spring or summer to make sure all of the creosote and soot have been removed from your chimney. To prevent water leaks and wild animal invasions, we can help you select a chimney cap and professionally install it on top of your chimney. Both of these important chimney maintenance services will also keep your chimney working safely and efficiently.

What can I do to freshen up the smell in my home?

The smell of fireplace ash can linger, and SFGate advises a thorough spring cleaning of your fireplace and the room it is in after you have put out the last fire of the year.

 

Keep your home smelling sweet this summer! Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties today to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney sweeping and inspection services.

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Why Hiring a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep Is Important

Your chimney and fireplace system need regular maintenance in order to work efficiently and safely, and to be sure these maintenance services are done correctly, it is important to hire a chimney sweep who has been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Without this certification, a chimney sweep may not clean and inspect your chimney correctly, which means your chimney could still have hidden hazards after it has been swept and inspected. Aelite Chimney Specialties only hires CSIA-certified chimney sweeps because we know how important this certification is. We would like to tell you more about CSIA certification and why it is so essential for the best professional chimney services.

How does a chimney sweep get certified by the CSIA?Importance of CSIA Certification Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialites

The non-profit organization provides training sessions at its headquarters, the CSIA Technology Center in Indiana, as well as at various locations across the country. Chimney sweeps can also take these sessions online. At the end of the training sessions, the sweep must pass two exams based on the texts used in training. After successful completion of these exams, the sweep must pay his annual fees and sign the CSIA Code of Ethics.

What is covered in the training sessions?

Chimney sweeps learn how to maintain and repair chimneys attached to all types of fuel-burning appliances and how to install and service these heating appliances. They also are taught about the different codes and standards for chimneys from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Residential Codes (IRC). Chimney sweeps will learn how to repair common chimney performance problems, including improving chimney draft. Safety practices are also reinforced during this training.

What does the CSIA Code of Ethics include?

When chimney sweeps sign this code, they promise to follow all chimney and venting safety practices and techniques recommended by the CSIA as well as to continue their education by keeping up with the latest chimney industry technology. You can trust a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to comply with all applicable building and fire safety codes as well as to treat you honestly and fairly as a customer. These sweeps promise to never engage in deceptive business practices. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties will always be truthful with you about the condition of your chimney and the repairs it needs to work safely.

Aelite Chimney Specialties is proud to offer chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services to the Chicago area. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps today.

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Gas vs Wood-Burning Fireplaces

A lot of homeowners like to shop for new fireplaces in the spring and summer because of the deals found during the off-season months. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, our staff loves helping our clients find the most perfect fireplace for their homes, and we are often asked the following question: “Which fuel type is the best: gas or wood?” We feel both choices are excellent, but there are a few distinct differences between gas and wood-burning fireplaces that can determine the best fuel type for your home. Knowing these differences will help you make the fuel type decision for you, so we would like to give you a few questions to ask yourself about your dream fireplace.Gas & Wood Fireplaces Options Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

How important is convenience to you?

If you are looking for a fireplace that is easy to use, you might consider a gas fireplace. You will have very little trouble getting a fire started because you can turn on the fireplace by flipping a switch or pushing a button on a remote control from your couch. However, if you enjoy building a wood fire, you probably will not mind the igniting process involved with a wood-burning fireplace. This process includes getting firewood from your outdoor storage, arranging the wood in the fireplace, placing kindling on top, light the fire, and maintaining it.

How concerned are you about fuel costs?

If you are on a budget, wood is much less expensive than natural gas. You can even chop your own wood for free! While natural gas is typically lower in costs than electricity, its price fluctuates. You should also consider if you have an existing gas line to your home because it can be expensive to install a line for your fireplace.

How much maintenance are you willing to do?

When you have a wood-burning fireplace, you will have a list of chores you must do. This list includes properly storing your firewood, bringing the wood into your home for each fire, and sweeping up ashes after every fire. Burning wood also produces creosote, which is a natural compound that accumulates on the interior walls of your chimney. Since creosote is extremely flammable, you will need to have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year. If you are looking for a low-maintenance fireplace, you will want a gas fireplace because it requires no chores like the ones involved with a wood-burning fireplace. Even though gas burns much more cleanly, you still need to schedule an appointment for an annual chimney sweeping and inspection.

How important is the sensory experience of a fire to you?

If you love hearing the sounds, smelling the scents, and watching the beauty of a fire, you may not be satisfied with a gas fireplace. Even though you can find gas fireplaces with very natural looking fires, only a wood-burning fireplace will provide you with the sensory experiences that you want.

Considering updating your fireplace? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about the differences between gas and wood-burning fireplaces.

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Avoid Potential Fires by Having Your Dryer Vent Cleaned

Did you realize that, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), 5,100 clothes dryer fires were reported in 2012 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission? These fires resulted in 10 deaths, 180 injuries, and approximately $80 million in residential property losses. Why did thousands of clothes dryers catch on fire? The main reason for these fires is dirty and clogged dryer vents. Many homeowners are unaware that national fire safety organizations recommend having their dryer vents professionally cleaned annually, but this service is essential in reducing your risk of a clothes dryer fire. Aelite Chimney Specialties is proud to offer this maintenance service to the residents of the Chicago area, and you can trust our expert technicians to thoroughly clean your entire dryer vent. We would like to answer a couple of frequently asked questions about dirty dryer vents and the dangers they pose.

Why are dirty dryer vents so dangerous?Avoid Dryer Vent Fires & Have Your Vents Cleaned - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

Your clothes dryer produces a lot of lint, and this lint can end up accumulating inside the vent. Lint is so flammable that the Boy Scouts of America recommend using it to start campfires, so when you have a large accumulation of lint within your dryer vent, you have the risk of a fire igniting within the vent. Lint can build up to the point to where it clogs the vent, and this causes your dryer to overheat. If your dryer gets hot enough, the lint can easily ignite into a fire that could spread throughout your entire home. Aelite Chimney Specialties can reduce this fire hazard with our professional dryer vent cleaning services. After we have thoroughly cleaned the vent, you can rest easy and not worry about your clothes dryer catching on fire.

What are the other benefits of professional dryer vent cleaning?

Since accumulations of lint can block your dryer vent and cause your dryer to overheat, you can prolong the life of your clothes dryer by having its vent professionally cleaned every year. When your dryer overheats, it can make important parts in your dryer prematurely wear out. If your heating element breaks down, it can involve expensive repairs, and you may even have to buy a new clothes dryer. Additionally, a clogged and dirty dryer vent reduces the efficiency of your dryer by causing you to have to run your dryer for more than one cycle to fully dry one load of clothes. Running your dryer like this can be expensive and cause your utility bills to increase. A professional dryer vent service will save you both money and energy.

Avoid potentially devastating clothes dryer fires. If you live around Chicago, contact us today at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for our professional dryer vent cleaning services that will reduce your risk of experiencing a fire in your clothes dryer.

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