Our Company Blog

What We Look For in a Chimney Inspection

Many national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that homeowners have their chimneys professionally inspected. The most important reason for this recommendation has to do with your safety. For over 15 years, Aelite Chimney Specialties has provided professional chimney inspection services to residents in the Chicago area. We follow the guidelines set by the NFPA in their three levels of chimney inspections when performing this service. You can trust us to look for anything that could cause your chimney to be unsafe. We would like to tell you more about some of the things we check for in a chimney inspection.

Water DamageChimney Inspection Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

Masonry chimneys are tough and durable, but they can suffer extensive and expensive damage from water penetration. One example of water damage that we look for in a chimney inspection is deteriorating or missing bricks and mortar joints. Cracks and gaps in the masonry work of a chimney allow even more water to get into the chimney, and if neglected, the entire structure of your chimney could be in serious jeopardy.

Carbon Monoxide Risks

During a chimney inspection, our CSIA-certified chimney technicians will carefully check to be sure there is nothing present in your chimney that could possibly lead to the toxic gas, carbon monoxide, leaking into your home. We will look to see that nothing is blocking the flue that could force carbon monoxide back into your living spaces. We will also take a close look at the chimney liner to see if there are any cracks, gaps, or other damage that could allow this poisonous gas to get into your home.

Chimney Fire Risks

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, your chimney most likely has creosote deposits stuck to the inner walls. Creosote develops 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. During our inspection process, we will look for any excessive creosote buildup that could cause your chimney to have a dangerous fire hazard present. We will also look for signs of any chimney fires that may have previously occurred.

If we do find any type of damage during our chimney inspection, we will provide you with photos of the damage and a written estimate of the necessary repairs to make your chimney safe again. Beat the fall rush, and contact us today at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney inspection services.

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Why Fireplace Insert Installation Is Not a DIY Job

You love your traditional wood-burning masonry fireplace. This is because it provides a cozy atmosphere in your home. However, you have been disappointed in its low heating efficiency. Each winter, your heating costs have been increasing. Why? Because you have to turn up the thermostat to compensate for the heat loss! This happens when air escapes out of the chimney whenever you light a fire in the fireplace. If you are looking for a way to improve the energy efficiency in your home, Aelite Chimney Specialties can help.

Fireplace Insert Not A DIY Job Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesWe sell and install a wide variety of fireplace inserts. These inserts allow you to heat your home more efficiently, without sacrificing the experience of sitting around the fireplace. You can choose from several different fuel options: gas, wood, and pellet. Our expert staff can assist you in selecting the best fuel type for your home and then set up an appointment with one of our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified technicians to professionally install your new insert to ensure it will work safely and efficiently. We would like to tell you why it is so important to have a fireplace insert professionally installed.

Aelite Chimney Specialties will make sure the size of your insert matches the size of your flue.

The most important reason why you need to have your new fireplace insert professionally installed? It is to ensure there is a proper match between the sizes of the insert and the flue. According to the CSIA, a correct size match of the heating appliance and the venting system is essential for proper drafting. Most masonry chimneys are too large for newer fireplace inserts. This can cause drafting issues, such as incomplete combustion which can lead to the overproduction of carbon monoxide. This toxic gas can be forced back into your home and create a serious health hazard to you and your family. When our technicians install new fireplace inserts, we begin by inspecting the chimney to see if we need to install a stainless steel chimney liner. In addition, provide a correctly sized flue to match the insert.

Aelite Chimney Specialties will make sure the insert is able to vent properly.

You can trust our technicians to ensure that your new fireplace insert will be correctly installed.  Also, that it is able to take in needed air for combustion as well as exhaust the byproducts of combustion out through the chimney. Venting problems can lead to an excess of water vapors inside the flue. The combination of this moisture with the acidic gases from combustion is a highly corrosive liquid. This liquid can quickly deteriorate the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney. The cracks and gaps that result from this corrosion damage are safety hazards. This is because they expose the combustible parts of your home to extremely high temperatures! Plus, also allow toxic gases to escape into your living spaces.

Considering updating your masonry fireplace into a more efficient heating appliance? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about our fireplace insert sales and professional installation services.

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Why an Annual Chimney Inspection Is Necessary

Annual Chimney Inspection Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesHaving a fireplace comes with some important responsibilities to ensure your home is free from dangerous safety hazards. Not only do you have the obvious risks involved with fire to think about, but you must also consider the potential problems that could be hiding inside the chimney. Before you light your first fire of the year, national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that you have your chimney professionally inspected and swept. These annual professional chimney maintenance services are necessary to make sure your fireplace and chimney system will work safely, efficiently, and effectively all winter long. Aelite Chimney Specialties is proud to offer these services to the residents of the Chicago area from our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps who have years of experience and training in inspecting and sweeping chimneys. You can trust us to make sure your fireplace and chimney do not pose any safety hazards. To help you understand the importance of an annual chimney inspection, we would like to tell you a bit more about the hazards that can occur from damage to your chimney.

Chimney Fires

One of the most important reasons why you need your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year is to remove all of the creosote deposits from the inside of your chimney. When you burn wood, creosote develops naturally during the condensation process that occurs as the byproducts of combustion exit out of the cooler walls of the upper chimney. This residue sticks to the inner walls of the chimney and can accumulate into large deposits, which create an increased risk for chimney fires. If the internal temperature of your chimney gets hot enough, those creosote deposits can quickly and easily ignite into flames. Creosote is so highly flammable that the CSIA has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. After our chimney technicians sweep your chimney, Aelite Chimney Specialties will inspect the inner walls to be sure all of the creosote deposits have been removed. If we find stubborn creosote accumulations, we will recommend a more thorough mechanical cleaning that will be sure to get all the creosote deposits out of your chimney to reduce your risk of a chimney fire.

Carbon Monoxide Leaks

When Aelite Chimney Specialties inspects chimneys, we take great care to examine every component to look for any damage that could allow toxic combustion gases like carbon monoxide to leak into your home. One of the most common causes of these leaks is a damaged chimney liner. Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians will be looking for any cracks or gaps in the chimney liner where these gases can escape into your home. We also check for flue blockages that could force carbon monoxide back into your living space. If we find a blockage, we will remove the debris from the flue to open it up to allow poisonous combustion gases to be exhausted through the chimney.

Our experienced chimney sweeps will also inspect the exterior of your chimney to look for damaged bricks and mortar that can be prime spots for water leaks. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for this essential annual chimney maintenance service. We can get your chimney ready now before cold weather arrives to the Chicago area.

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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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The Silent Killer

Understanding the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning is important for everyone; prevention is the key to avoiding this tragic but preventable fate.  Nearly one thousand people die accidentally from non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

A large percentage of the accidental deaths are directly linked to fuel-burning appliances that are faulty, improperly used, or incorrectly vented.  Aelite Chimney Specialties is here to help you provide everyone in your household with the protection they deserve from these dangers.

Make Some Noise: The Silent Killer

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home helps to keep your family safe.

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home helps to keep your family safe.

You cannot see, taste, or smell carbon monoxide, hence the reason it has earned a rather befitting nickname: the silent killer.  At high enough levels, carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes.  It is created whenever a fuel is burned.

When fuel-burning appliances are maintained and used properly, the amount of carbon monoxide produced doesn’t typically reach hazardous levels; however, if these same appliances aren’t properly maintained or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced.

As a precautionary measure, having your heating equipment cleaned and inspected by a professional annually is an absolute must.

Listen to Your Body: Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Learning the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure are an integral part to keeping you and your loved ones safe.

  • Moderate levels of carbon monoxide exposure can cause severe headaches, dizziness or disorientation, confusion, nausea, and/or fainting.
  • It’s possible to die if these levels persist for an extended period of time.
  • Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea and headaches, and may have longer-term effects on overall health.

Because many of these symptoms are similar to those of more common ailments — e.g. the flu and food poisoning — many people don’t even think of carbon monoxide poisoning as a possibility.  This is their first mistake.  If these symptoms only appear when you’re in the house and then get better when you leave home, carbon monoxide poisoning could very likely be the reason.  Getting fresh air as soon as any of these symptoms surface is key.

An Investment you shouldn’t Live Without: Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Another key precautionary measure is installing at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, especially near sleeping quarters.  If you install a battery-powered unit, plan to check the batteries regularly to ensure your home is still being monitored.

Upgrading each of these units every 5-7 years is also strongly recommended, as it will help to ensure that you have the most up-to-date technology monitoring the air quality conditions within your home.  You can never be too careful when it comes to life-or-death issues.

As a quick refresher, make sure to have your fuel-burning appliances inspected and cleaned by a certified professional prior to the beginning of every heating season.  Ensure that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good working condition, and unobstructed.

If you or anyone in your home notices symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, go outside to get fresh air right away, and seek medical attention immediately thereafter.  Lastly, install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.  Remember, carbon monoxide cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled; the only defense against this silent killer is forethought, knowledge, and prevention.  It’s never too late to make the right decision!

At Aelite Chimney Specialties, we know how important your family’s health and safety is to you.  That’s why we do our best to provide you with the highest level of comprehensive chimney and venting services.  Our experience and dedication to customer care is sure to exceed your expectations!  Call us today at (815) 363-1242, and experience a whole new level of service.  You’ll be glad that you did!