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The Best Ways to Remove Ashes from Your Fireplace or Stove

When you burn wood, ashes are a fact of life, and enjoying wood-burning fires does come with a few chores, including removing ashes from the fireplace or stove. For some people, the sensory experiences of wood-burning fires are worth these chores, but, of course, knowing the best ways to maintain your wood-burning fireplace or stove can make all of the difference. Ash removal can be tricky as it can lead to a couple of fire hazards, so it is important to know how to safely dispose of ashes. As fire safety is a top priority at Aelite Chimney Specialties, we would like to let you know the best ways to remove ashes from your fireplace or stove.

The Traditional MethodStove & Fireplace Ash Removal Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLC

Before you begin this task, you should ensure you have the proper tools: a metal ash bucket with a lid, a metal ash shovel, gloves, and a face mask if you do not want to inhale ashes. After you have gathered your tools, you will want to be sure to wait at least 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished. This gives the ashes time to cool, although there will likely still be a few hot embers and smoldering ashes. To begin this task, open the doors of your fireplace or stove and begin scooping out the ashes with the ash shovel into your metal bucket. If you come across any hot embers, you can push them to the back of the firebox with your shovel. Do not remove all of the ashes. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you leave a one-inch layer of ashes at the bottom of the firebox. This layer provides insulation that makes it easier to start and maintain a fire as well as protection to the firebox floor.
Once you have scooped up the ashes into the container, place the lid on it, and be sure the lid fits tightly to keep the ashes contained. There could be smoldering ashes inside, and the lid keeps oxygen from getting in to reignite those hot embers. Also, your container could be accidentally knocked over, which not only creates a big mess, but could also start an accidental fire. Place the container outside of your home on a non-combustible surface, such as concrete or brick. Any hot embers can heat up the container, and that heat could transfer to a combustible surface and ignite a fire. After three days, your ashes should be ready to place into a garbage bag to be disposed. You can always pour a little bit of water into the container to extinguish any smoldering ashes.

The Easy Method

If you have a wet/dry vacuum, you can simply vacuum up the ashes. For this method, Aelite Chimney Specialties recommends that you wait for four days after the fire has been extinguished to be sure no hot ashes end up inside your vacuum. All you will have to do after vacuuming the ashes is throw away the disposable bag. Remember to leave behind a thin layer of ashes for insulation and protection reasons, as mentioned above.
For more wood-burning fireplace and stove maintenance tips, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We are happy to help you take the best care of your wood-burning heating appliance.

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New Year, New Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert

Many of us like to start off the new year making improvements to our lives, and upgrading an older masonry fireplace by converting it to a new wood-burning fireplace insert is a great way to give your home a new look while providing supplemental heat to your house. You may be aware of how inefficient your old fireplace has become over the years, and you probably have also noticed your heating bills increasing as well. If you have been considering upgrading your fireplace, Aelite Chimney Specialties is the perfect place to find the best wood-burning inserts on the market. Not only can we help you pick out the perfect insert for your home, but our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians can safely install your new heating appliance. We would like to tell you more about wood-burning fireplace inserts and why you should consider starting off the new year with one of these inserts.New Year, New Wood Burning Fireplace Insert - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

Wood-burning fireplace inserts allow you to enjoy clean and warm heat.

With a new wood-burning fireplace insert, you will not have to worry about contributing as much pollution as you would have with those types of heating appliances in the past. New technology has led to the development of wood-burning inserts that are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to How Stuff Works, newer EPA-certified wood-burning fireplace inserts are guaranteed to efficiently and safely burn wood with less smoke.

Wood-burning fireplace inserts work efficiently when they are professionally installed.

In order to ensure your new heating appliance functions safely and efficiently, the chimney experts at Aelite Chimney Specialties will also install a stainless steel chimney liner that properly fits the insert. Since these new fireplace inserts are smaller than the older masonry fireplace, you will need a flue that fits the insert to prevent chimney draft problems and other costly issues. We will also make sure your new wood-burning fireplace insert is working as it should after installation.

Wood-burning fireplace inserts will save you money on heating costs.

Not only has new technology allowed for burning wood more cleanly, these new wood-burning fireplace inserts will reduce your consumption of wood. Fires burned in these inserts burn longer and produce more warmth to your home. Most models of these inserts are equipped with blowers that can evenly distribute the heat from the fire throughout the room. We know you will see a decrease in how much money you spent to heat your home after installing a new wood-burning fireplace insert.

Now is a perfect time to begin the new year with a new wood-burning fireplace insert. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to get started on updating your older masonry fireplace to a more efficient heating appliance.

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Why Install Glass Fireplace Doors?

If you have an older wood-burning fireplace, you may be considering upgrading its function and appearance. Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to tell you more about an easy and inexpensive option you have to improve your old fireplace: installing glass fireplace doors. We have years of experience with retrofitting glass fireplace doors, so you will not have to worry if you cannot find doors that fit your firebox. Not only do glass fireplace doors improve the looks of your fireplace and its heating efficiency, but installing these doors can make your fireplace much safer. We would like to tell you more about why you should install glass fireplace doors.Why Install Glass Fireplace Doors - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

Safety

If you have young children or pets in your home, you need to install glass fireplace doors to prevent them from getting too close to the fire and accidentally falling inside the firebox. Of course, the doors will get hot while a fire is burning, so Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you keep your kids from burning their fingers on the door by installing a screen in front of your fireplace. Glass fireplace doors also increase safety by not allowing hot sparks and embers to jump out of the fireplace where they can possibly ignite a house fire. And, according to This Old House, you will not have to wait for the fire to die down completely before you go to bed when you have the glass fireplace doors closed. This can be a big relief for those who enjoy relaxing by the fire at night.

Efficiency

Without glass fireplace doors, both heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer can easily escape your home through the fireplace. Closing these doors seals off this exit, which can save you money on your utility bills all through the year. Surprisingly, glass fireplace doors also improve the heating ability of your old fireplace. You might think that these doors will restrict the heat from the fire from entering your living space, but the opposite is true. Glass fireplace doors absorb the heat from the fire and radiate the heat into the room. Aelite Chimney Specialties guarantees you that you will see a reduction in your utility bills after installing glass fireplace doors.

Appearance

If you have been wanting to upgrade your fireplace but do not have the budget to install a new fireplace insert, glass fireplace doors are a perfect way to give your hearth a new look without spending a whole lot of money. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, you will find a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes of doors to fit any type of decor, and if you cannot find what you are looking for, we can help you with custom glass fireplace doors. Our technicians have the skills and experience to perfectly fit your older fireplace with a new set of doors. We would love to show you all of your options.

Considering upgrading your older wood-burning fireplace? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about our glass fireplace doors installation services.

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Protect Yourself from the Threat of Carbon Monoxide with a Chimney Inspection

Carbon monoxide is often called “the invisible killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas that can be deadly. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 150 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced when the combustion process is not completed, which makes your fireplace a possible source of this toxic gas. Several chimney issues, such as draft problems, lead to incomplete combustion. If your chimney is blocked by debris, carbon monoxide can get forced back into your home since it cannot escape through your chimney as it normally should. Since your safety is our top priority, Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share with you some information about carbon monoxide poisoning and how you can prevent it from happening to you and your household.

How do I know if I have carbon monoxide poisoning?

Diagnosing carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult for a couple of reasons. Since this gas is undetectable, you cannot tell when you are breathing in this toxic gas. Also, the symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to those of the common cold and flu: dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms for longer than three weeks without any signs of improvement, you should ask your doctor to test your blood for carbon monoxide. Without a diagnosis, you can continue breathing in this poisonous gas and quickly develop the high-level phase of this poisoning. Symptoms of high-level carbon monoxide poisoning include vomiting, mental confusion, loss of muscle coordination, loss of consciousness, and death.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide from leaking into my home?Carbon Monoxide - Aelite Chimney Specialists - Chicago IL

Your best way to prevent this toxic gas from coming into your living spaces from your fireplace is to have your chimney professionally inspected every year by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We will look for damage that could lead to the overproduction of carbon monoxide as well as flue blockages that could allow this gas to leak into your home. We also recommend that you install carbon monoxide alarm monitors throughout your home. You should ensure that these alarms are installed outside each bedroom, in the room of your fireplace, and on each level of your home.

What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm sounds?

You should never ignore your carbon monoxide detectors when they sound an alarm. Immediately move yourself and everyone else inside the home outside to breathe fresh air. Contact the appropriate local emergency services, and wait outside for their arrival. Check to make sure everyone has gotten out of the house, and remain outside until the emergency responders tell you it is safe to go back into your home. If the source of your carbon monoxide leak is your fireplace or chimney, contact us to make the necessary repairs that will allow you to safely use your fireplace again. Do not use your fireplace until we have given it our safety approval.

Need more carbon monoxide safety tips? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about preventing this toxic gas from entering your home and making you and your family seriously ill.

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Switching the Fuel Type of Your Fireplace Can Lead to Unintended Problems

A popular option to save money and energy, converting your old masonry fireplace to a more efficient heating appliance is simple to do with a new gas fireplace insert. However, it is very important that you have this insert professionally installed to prevent potential problems. Aelite Chimney Specialties has years of experience in helping customers pick out the best fireplace insert for their homes and in installing these inserts so that they work safely and efficiently. We would like to tell you more information about the unintended consequences that may occur when you switch your fireplace from wood-burning to gas.

What could cause problems from switching fuel types? Fuel Types - Aelite Chimney Specialties - Chicago IL

The main issue that occurs when converting an old wood-burning fireplace to gas is the flue will be too large. Old masonry chimneys are bigger than what an insert needs, and this size difference can cause problems. When you have your insert installed by a professional chimney technician from Aelite Chimney Specialties, we will also install a new flue constructed from a stainless steel chimney liner that has been made to use with gas fireplaces.

What are the problems that occur from an oversized flue?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), your new gas fireplace insert produces less heat into the chimney. Your chimney needs to be hot in order to complete the combustion process. When the chimney is not hot enough, water vapor that was produced during combustion remains inside the flue for longer than it should. This water contains corrosive acids that eat away at the bricks and mortar of your chimney as well as at chimney liners that are not made to handle gas fireplaces. Both the inside of your flue and the liner can deteriorate from this acidic corrosion and block the exit of your chimney. This could keep toxic gases like carbon monoxide from exiting and put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Another problem that occurs from having an oversized flue has to do with the chimney draft. When your chimney has draft problems, the efficiency and safety of your fireplace insert is reduced. In order for the combustion process to be complete, your chimney needs oxygen. Adequate draft ensures plenty of oxygen is sucked into the chimney, but inadequate draft has problems bringing in enough oxygen. When combustion cannot be completed, carbon monoxide is produced. As the CSIA says, the less complete the combustion, the greater the amount of carbon monoxide produced and the less heat delivered to the house. Chimney draft problems can also worsen the condensation issue.

Converting your older masonry fireplace to a new gas fireplace insert is a great idea, but you should be sure to have your new insert installed by a chimney professional. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about how you can save money and energy with a gas fireplace insert.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Switching the Fuel Type of Your Fireplace Can Lead to Unintended Problems