Our Company Blog

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!

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Fall Will Be Here Soon! Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Appointment Today

Believe it or not – summer is almost over, and fall will be here before we know it. Fall is such a busy season for our customers with school starting back and vacation time ending. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, we also have a packed calendar every fall as our chimney sweeps are preparing chimneys for cooler temperatures across the Chicago area. Fall is so busy for us because so many national fire safety groups like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that you have your fireplace and chimney swept and inspected each year before you light your first fire. Hesitating on scheduling your appointment with our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps is a big mistake because if you wait for too long to make this arrangement, you will end up waiting even longer before you can safely burn a fire in your fireplace. We strongly recommend to our customers to go ahead and schedule this important maintenance appointment in the late summer to be sure they can get the date and time that is most convenient for them way before the temperature drops. We would like to tell you more about our chimney sweeping and inspection services.

Pre-Fall Chimney Insepction - Chicago IL - Aelite

Why is it so important to have my chimney swept and inspected before lighting the first fire for the year?

The main reason the CSIA, the NFPA, and other fire safety organizations make this recommendation has to do with the dangers of creosote. Formed naturally during the condensation process of burning wood, creosote is the residue of the byproducts of combustion, and it sticks to the walls of your chimney and accumulates into deposits. Creosote is highly flammable and is the leading cause of chimney fires. When Aelite Chimney Specialties sweeps your chimney, we will get rid of all of the creosote accumulations from the inside of your chimney to protect you from the possibility of a devastating chimney fire. We will also look for any possible damage to your chimney, like a blockage or loose bricks, that could also cause your chimney to be unsafe to use. Safety is our top priority when performing these services.

What can I expect from a chimney sweeping and inspection from Aelite Chimney Specialties?

Before we start to sweep your chimney, we will put down drop cloths around the area surrounding your fireplace and seal off the area around your chimney to keep your home clean. We will then use special tools like rotating brushes, rods, and vacuums to clean your chimney from bottom to top. Before we finish, we will inspect the easily accessible parts of your fireplace and chimney to make sure you do not need any necessary repairs before you can use your chimney.

Do not wait until fall to schedule your chimney sweeping appointment! Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties today to arrange this important chimney maintenance task.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Prepare Your Chimney for Winter Before the Fall Rush

Don't wait until it's cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Don’t wait until it’s cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Trying to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection in the fall can be quite difficult as everyone is thinking about getting his chimney ready for the cold winter months. Contacting a CSIA-certified company like Aelite Chimney Specialties before the fall rush to arrange a visit from our chimney sweeps is a smart decision. If you put this call off for too long, you will have to wait for weeks for an available appointment, and, by that time, it may have already been cool enough to use your fireplace. Strongly recommended by many fire safety organizations, your chimney should be cleaned and examined before lighting the first fire of the season. We at Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share what our experienced technicians will be doing to prepare your chimney for winter.

CHIMNEY SWEEPING

Aelite Chimney Specialties cannot stress the importance enough of having your chimney cleaned before the weather turns cooler. Before the first fire is lit, our chimney sweeps will ensure your chimney is free of soot and creosote deposits. Both are highly combustible and could possibly cause a chimney fire, especially if the deposits are large. Cleaning out all of the debris in your chimney also protects you and your family from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CHIMNEY INSPECTING

Checking out your chimney for damages that need repairing is just as important as having your chimney cleaned. You may have some serious repairs needed before you can safely use your fireplace over the winter, and scheduling a chimney inspection before the fall rush is the best way to be sure these repairs can be completed in time. What exactly will Aelite Chimney Specialties be looking for during an inspection? According to the article “Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter” on the real estate website, Zillow, certain parts of your chimney need more scrutiny, including:

Exterior Masonry — We will be looking for loose bricks, chipped mortar, and other signs of water penetration damage. If we find any deterioration, our certified masons will make the needed repairs.
Chimney Cap — One of the best ways to keep water out of your chimney, a chimney cap also does the job of preventing animals and birds from entering your chimney to nest for the winter. If your chimney cap is cracked or damaged, we can either repair this damage, or, if it is beyond repairing, we can install a new chimney cap to ensure your chimney is protected.
Flue Liner — If you have cracks or holes in your chimney flue liner, we can also repair this damage as well as install a new liner if your old one cannot be saved. Your liner provides protection from toxic gases like carbon monoxide from leaking into your home and causing health problems for you and your family.

Do not delay in scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection! Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties today to arrange a visit from our experienced technicians.

Help! My Fireplace Stinks!

Don't let your family suffer the unbearable smell that's coming from your fireplace. Do something about it.

Don’t let your family suffer the unbearable smell that’s coming from your fireplace. Do something about it.

Your home is a place of comfort, safety, relaxation and enjoyment. But how can you possibly feel and experience this when there’s an annoying and unpleasant stench lingering in your humble abode? From its smell, you trace its origins back to the fireplace. What can you do about it? How can you get rid of that horrible smell?

We from Aelite Chimney Specialties Incorporated are more than willing to help you solve that problem. We are professionals duly certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America or the CSIA and the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). We will discuss with you what we can do about your stinky fireplace.

What causes a stinky fireplace?

A stinky fireplace is caused mainly by water that leaks inside your chimney during rainy days and after winter when the snow starts to melt. Water can come in from all sorts of places like the brick walls and the chimney opening. According to the CSIA, water is the number one enemy of chimneys. Why? This is because it can create numerous problems that have such a big effect on the structure of your fireplace and chimney as well as the health of everyone in the house. For example, water that is already inside the chimney will create mold that can compromise your health. Aside from mold, when your fireplace becomes stinky, it’s likely that the water and the toxic chemicals from inside have already mixed.

Another cause for a stinky fireplace is a drafty chimney. This occurs due to obstructions (creosote, animals, debris) negative air pressure, and burning unseasoned wood. Instead of letting the smoke out via the chimney flue, the smoke stays inside.

A stinky fireplace can also be caused by obstructions. A common reason for blockages is the presence of animals. They could be leaving their dirt in your chimney, or perhaps an animal could have died in there. Another reason for blockages could be debris, branches, leaves and other objects.

How can I prevent it?

The best way to prevent this is to first have your fireplace and chimney inspected so that necessary repairs and cleaning can be done. Also, it’s good to have your chimney waterproofed. This is done by putting a waterproofing sealant in between the bricks especially those that are starting to have cracks so that water cannot enter in. Lastly, have a chimney cap installed. This is placed in the chimney opening. It will protect the inside thus preventing water to enter your chimney and your fireplace. Having a chimney cap is the ultimate solution to this since that it’s the number one defense system against any kind of intrusion.

We have been working in this industry for over fifteen years now and we would really like you to be part of our big family. We want you to experience the best kind of service that you deserve. Say goodbye to your stinky fireplace and say hello to a toxic-free, good-smelling fireplace!

5 Most Common Chimney Repairs

Knowing what the common chimney repairs are can help homeowners be more mindful of the care their chimney should have in order to prevent such damages.

Knowing what the common chimney repairs are can help homeowners be more mindful of the care their chimney should have in order to prevent such damages.

In Northern Illinois no one wants to be caught in the fall without a chimney or fireplace that’s anything other than ready to fire up. That’s why we suggest tackling chimney maintenance and any needed chimney repairs during the spring or summer months. If you take care of it now, you won’t have to wait to get an appointment with a chimney technician in the fall.

Outside of chimney sweepings and inspections, the team members at Aelite Chimney Specialties are tasked most often with chimney repairs. Father Time and Mother Nature are to blame for many of the things that go wrong with chimneys, though poor installations and faulty connections can certainly cause problems, too. We recommend that you use a CSIA certified chimney technician to handle chimney installation and maintenance work. Besides safety concerns, a chimney that is connected and serviced properly will perform more efficiently.

Most of the chimney repairs we undertake are in the interest of keeping water out of the chimney and preventing chimney fires. Here are five of the issues we find most often:

1. Loose or Rusted Flashing

The No. 1 cause of leaky chimneys is loose flashing. Flashing is the band of sheet metal that is woven together around the chimney where the chimney meets the roof. Read about why flashing leaks here.

2. Cracked Tile Chimney Liners

Your chimney liner runs the length of your chimney flue, protecting your chimney from heat transfer and creating a smooth tunnel through which smoke and toxic gases can safely vent. Liners can be made out of stainless steel and ceramic tile. Most older liners are made of tile, which tends to crack over time. Luckily, tile liners can usually be repaired with a product called HeatShield, which we use often with great success. Read about our relining services here.

3. Cracked Chimney Crowns

A chimney crown is designed to slope downward to direct water away from the chimney flue and on to the roof. (The flue liner is allowed to project above the crown, and should be protected by a chimney cap or damper.) Over time, crowns can crack or decay. An Aelite Chimney Specialties technician will be able to repair or replace your crown.

4. Damaged Chimney Caps or Chimney Dampers

These two chimney parts serve similar purposes—keeping water, debris, and small animals out of your chimney, though the damper takes its usefulness one step further and also helps you save energy dollars, as you can completely close it when your chimney is not in use. If your chimney cap or damper is broken, leaking, or inefficient, a professional can determine whether it needs to be replaced or just repaired.

5. Masonry Repairs

If your chimney masonry has never been waterproofed, we are willing to bet that it has seen better days. Read about what goes wrong with masonry and how we can fix it and shore it up against future damage.

Spring time is the right time to address your chimney’s problems. Call Aelite Chimney Specialties today to schedule an assessment with one of our CSIA certified technicians.