Our Company Blog

Water Leaks Destroy Masonry Chimneys

If you have a masonry chimney, you may already know how badly water can damage the bricks and mortar. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) even states that water is the greatest enemy of masonry chimneys. Aelite Chimney Specialties understands how and why water leaks destroy the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Prolonged exposure to water speeds up the deterioration of masonry materials, but the worst damage is caused in the winter during the freeze/thaw process. When water leaks into the bricks and mortar of your chimney, it freezes and expands when the temperature drops. As that water thaws, it causes the masonry materials to crack from the cavity left by the expanded ice. If this type of damage is not repaired, your chimney Water Leaks Destroy Masonry Chimneys - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimineycould tilt and even collapse. Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians have years of experience with repairing water leaks as well as preventing these leaks from ever occurring. We would like to tell you about a couple of ways we can help stop water from penetrating into your masonry chimney to protect your chimney from destruction.


According to the CSIA, flashing keeps the water from rain and melted snow out of your chimney to stop it from leaking into the bricks and mortar as well as from getting into your home and damaging ceilings and walls. What exactly is flashing? The seal between the chimney and the roof, flashing consists of layers of sheet metal that overlap around your chimney where it meets with your roof. To work successfully, flashing should be professionally installed so that it can be custom-fitted to ensure an airtight seal. You can trust the chimney technicians at Aelite Chimney Specialties to do an expert flashing job that will protect the bricks and mortar of your chimney from damaging water leaks. Our technicians weave custom metal sheet work together, fold it against the chimney, and embed part of it into the mortar joints to create a superior flashing job. If you have noticed that your flashing has rusted, become loose, or if you have no flashing, contact us to learn more about our flashing services.


To prolong the life of your masonry chimney, waterproofing is recommended by the CSIA as a preventive measure against the damage done by water from rain, snow, and ice. When Aelite Chimney Specialties arrives at your home to waterproof your chimney, you can expect our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps to begin by cleaning your chimney. Our sweeps then apply a 100% vapor permeable formula to the entire length of your chimney. This formula allows your chimney to breathe so that vapors do not become trapped inside the bricks and mortar of your chimney to cause further damage. After the application, your chimney will be watertight with a professional grade water repellent treatment that has been proven to reduce water leaks by 99.9%. Waterproofing is a smart investment that can save you money in costly masonry repairs due to water damage.

Want to know more about how Aelite Chimney Specialties can prevent water leaks from destroying your masonry chimney? Contact us at 815-363-1242 to talk to our expert staff about flashing and waterproofing.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Water Leaks Destroy Masonry Chimneys

The Anatomy of a Masonry Chimney

Image courtesy of Rudi Oosting of Oosting Masonry Construction

Image courtesy of Rudi Oosting of Oosting Masonry Construction

If you have a masonry fireplace, many important parts make up the anatomy of its chimney. Many homeowners are unfamiliar with these parts and their functions, and when something goes wrong, it can be invaluable to know the names of each part and what these parts do. As part of our duties as Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps, we at Aelite Chimney Specialties enjoy educating our customers about their fireplace and chimney systems. We would like to tell you the names of each part of the anatomy of a masonry chimney and explain what exactly each part does to keep your fireplace working safely.

As identified by the CSIA, the anatomy of a masonry fireplace and chimney system includes the following parts:

MORTAR CROWN — Also called a chimney crown, this part sits on top of the chimney to prevent water penetration of the bricks and mortar as well as water leaking down the flue and into your home.

FLUE — Available in different shapes and sizes, the flue is a chamber that vents out the corrosive byproducts of combustion from the fireplace. A single chimney can have multiple flues if several fireplaces or stoves are connected to the same chimney.

SMOKE CHAMBER — The area above the firebox and below the flue, the smoke chamber allows smoke to mix and rise up the flue. Most smoke chambers are made from terracotta tiles. This part is also known as the chimney throat.

SMOKE SHELF — The smoke shelf functions with the smoke chamber to push smoke out the flue. This area is behind the damper and is the bottom of the chimney.

DAMPER — Usually located in the same area as the smoke chamber and smoke shelf, the damper seals your chimney shut when the fireplace is not in use. A very important part of your chimney, the damper needs to function properly to keep heated air from escaping out the chimney when there is no fire.

LINTEL — A heavy piece of angle iron that holds up the bricks over the center of the fireplace, the lintel is embedded into the brick.

FIREBOX — An extremely crucial component of your fireplace and chimney system, the firebox is a two- or three-walled structure that contains the direct heat of the fire and guides the smoke into the smoke chamber. Since the firebox is exposed to such high temperatures, this part tends to deteriorate more quickly than other parts of the anatomy of your chimney. It is crucial that the firebox is constructed with the right materials and kept in good repair.

ASH DUMP — Equipped with a door, the ash dump is located directly below the center of the firebox. When the ash dump door is open, ashes from the fire fall into the ash dump. The ash dump makes it simple to remove ashes from the firebox.

CLEAN OUT DOOR– Most often located in the basement of your home, the clean out door allows you to clean out the ash dump more easily.

Have questions about your chimney’s anatomy? Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to ask our staff whatever you need to know about the parts of your chimney.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Anatomy of a Masonry Chimney

Let Us Answer Your Vent-Free Gas Logs FAQ

An increasingly popular, economical, and environmentally-friendly way to enjoy a fire, gas logs are available from Aelite Chimney Specialties in two different types: vented and vent-free (also known as ventless or unvented). If you are shopping for gas logs, you may hesitate from choosing vent-free gas logs because you have heard they are are not safe to use because they can leak poisonous gases like carbon monoxide into your home. However, this information is not completely true. Recently, The VentFree Organization, discovered in a study of vent-free gas logs that their emissions are well within the recommended standards for good indoor air quality. Our staff at Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you decide which type of gas logs are best for you, and we would like to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about vent-free gas logs to put your mind at ease.


What are the dangers of carbon monoxide leaking into my house from vent-free logs?

Including households with the elderly, pregnant women, and small children, vent-free gas logs passed every test comparing their carbon monoxide levels with the recommended maximum levels as set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Vent-free gas logs passed all of the tests with flying colors and are well within the CPSC indoor air quality guidelines. Of course, for safety reasons, your home should have several carbon monoxide detection alarms installed on each level of your home and outside every bedroom because the toxic gas is odorless and tasteless.

Can I heat my entire house with vent-free gas logs?

No, all major building codes recommend that a primary heat source, like a furnace, be functional in the home before installing vent-less gas logs. These gas logs are only approved as a strictly supplemental heat source.

Can I use vent-free gas logs in every state?

No, vent-free gas logs are illegal to use in California. However, in the other 49 states, the International Residential Code (IRC) accepted the use of vent-free gas logs as a supplemental heating source in January 2006.

Will vent-free gas logs produce too much heat in tightly constricted homes?

This issue is solved by controlling the heat output of your vent-free gas logs and setting the heat to your desired temperature. Although, if your home is tightly constricted without much ventilation, Aelite Chimney Specialties will follow the manufacturer’s instructions and all building code requirements to provide the needed ventilation and combustion air. In some cases, however, we may also have to install additional mechanical ventilation.

Will I be able to use my ceiling fan in the same room as my vent-free gas logs?

Yes, a ceiling fan can be used to distribute the heat around the room, but you must be sure that the fan does not blow directly into the fireplace or cause drafts that alter the burner’s flame patterns, or you could end up with soot inside your house.

How should I maintain my vent-free gas logs?

Once a year, you should have your vent-free gas logs professionally cleaned and serviced. Aelite Chimney Specialties can inspect and adjust the oxygen and carbon monoxide monitors for safe and efficient performance.

Do you have more questions about vent-free gas logs? Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to ask us more about this safe and efficient supplemental heating source.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let Us Answer Your Vent-Free Gas Logs FAQ