Our Company Blog

Which Insert Is Right For Me – Wood or Gas?

Have you noticed that your heating costs have been increasing each winter? If so, are you ready to do something to make your home more energy efficient in order to lower your utility bills? If you have a traditional wood-burning fireplace, you should consider updating it with a new insert. Those older fireplaces typically have efficiency ratings of only 15 percent. This is because most of the heat produced by the fire goes out the chimney. This makes you have to turn up your furnace to compensate for that heat loss, which is why you are seeing your bills increase.

Which Insert Is Right For Me - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesSo, how can you reduce these bills? Convert your older wood-burning fireplace into a more energy efficient heating appliance. Install a new fireplace insert into the existing opening! Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you select the best insert for your home. Afterwards, we also install it so that it works safely and efficiently. However, there is one choice you will need to make. Do you want a wood or gas insert? To help with this decision, we would like to tell you more about the different fuel types.

WOOD-BURNING

If you love the smells, sights, and sounds of your traditional wood-burning fireplace, you will probably be leaning towards this type of insert. New technology has made burning wood much more energy efficient. According to HouseLogic, a wood-burning fireplace insert will have an energy efficiency rating of anywhere between 60 to 80 percent. This is enough for the US Environmental Protection Agency to certify certain models. These inserts will burn longer without as much firewood, which will also save you money. Most models are equipped with fans that circulate the heated air throughout the room. This way you will not have to worry about heated air escaping out of the chimney. However, if you are tired of doing the chores involved with your wood-burning fireplace, you may not be interested in this type of insert.

GAS

Are you ready for convenience and ease while you reduce your heating costs? If so, you will want to consider a gas fireplace insert. You will be able to start a fire from your couch with a remote control! You will not have to bring in firewood from outside anymore; nor will you have to sweep up ashes after a fire. When you are ready to leave your home or go to sleep, you will not have to wait for the fire to die down. You just have to push a button on the remote control to turn off the flames. Gas fireplace inserts burn clean with efficiency ratings of 58 to 85 percent and provide warm, cozy heat. Really, the only drawback is that you do not get the sensory experiences you have with wood fires.

Improve the energy efficiency in your home with a new fireplace insert. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to find out more about whether wood or gas is best for you!

Converting Your Fireplace to Gas

More and more of our chimney customers are opting to convert their old wood-burning fireplace or stove into a gas-burning unit. For homeowners who still want the charm of a fireplace but no longer want to scoop ashes or deal with the hassle or expense of chopping, hauling, or purchasing logs, there are several cost-effective options available to you.

Have questions about gas logs? We’re the people to ask! Call Aelite Chimney at (815) 363-1242 now!

Have questions about gas logs? We’re the people to ask! Call Aelite Chimney at (815) 363-1242 now!

Aelite Chimney Specialties is happy to inspect your current unit and to outline your options. Owners of old homes usually opt to convert their existing fireplace opening into a gas burning unit so that they won’t have to make any structural changes, meaning their home’s original fireplace will be preserved. Also, it is often the case that older fireplaces require a lot of expensive repair work to bring them up to code. Converting to gas is often the least expensive way to get a safe working fireplace once more.

3 Options for Converting Fireplace to Gas

Every year the technology of gas-burning heating appliances evolves so that there are now more options than ever—options that produce more realistic flame patterns and that provide very real warmth. In all of the following scenarios, you’ll need to have a gas installer run a gas line to your fireplace. Each of the following options comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. To get exactly the fire you want, it’s important that you discuss with one of our technicians what your wishes are for a fireplace, whether they be for aesthetics or warmth. Your budget will also figure into the decision.

Vent-free Gas Fireplace Kit: This type of system—also known as “room vented” or “unvented”—operates with the chimney flue closed, which keeps all the heat generated inside your home.

Vented Gas Fireplace Kit: This kit uses your chimney to vent your fire’s byproducts and will most closely mimic the experience of a wood-burning fire.

Gas Log Kit: Gas logs can be used for both vented and vent-free applications.

A professional, who can ensure that your fireplace is connected properly to maximize safety, efficiency, and enjoyment, should only undertake installation of any of these systems. Do you have additional questions? Contact us here. Following installation of your gas insert or gas logs, you will be able to count on our team to maintain and service your gas fireplace throughout its life.

Time to Clean Your Dryer Vents

Clean dryer vents are more cost-efficient, safe, and time saving. Make sure your dryer vents are cleaned.

Clean dryer vents are more cost-efficient, safe, and time saving. Make sure your dryer vents are cleaned.

If you have a multiple person family or a love of clothes, you know the laundry can pile up quickly. What can be even worse is that in the midst of doing the laundry, the washer or dryer breaks. It is important to make sure that you take care of your appliances and that you have any preventative maintenance that comes along with them.

Inside of your dryer, there is a small vent that collects lint from every load of laundry. This should be cleaned out frequently, and will help reduce how many cycles the clothes take to dry. The vents in the back of the dryer are harder to clean out. For your safety, cleaning should only be done by an experienced technician. Call today to schedule an appointment with Aelite Chimney Specialties.

How do you know when the vents need to be cleaned out?

Dirty dryer vents are one of the leading causes of fires inside of the home because lint is so flammable.  The first warning sign is that you will have to run multiple cycles to dry a load of clothes. Other than lint, many things can block vents such as bird and squirrel nests, and beehives. Even if you think your vents are clear, you should still have them checked. Your dryer’s hose should also be checked once a year, so typically technicians will go ahead and check both while they are there. Clean vents will also help save on energy costs, as they will work better. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also points out that not having to run the dryer for multiple cycles will lengthen its life span.

The cleaning process is usually simple. When the technicians arrive, they will move the dryer away from the wall and remove the dryer vent. This will take up a little space so make sure you have left them enough room to work. Next, they will scrub the inside of the vent tube and clean the vent that leads to the outside of the home. After they clean up the lint and replace your dryer, they will pack up and be on their way.

 

How to Increase Energy Efficiency at Home

Make your home one that is energy efficient. Don't allow your electric bill to consume all your hard-earned money.

Make your home one that is energy efficient. Don’t allow your electric bill to consume all your hard-earned money.

During the warmer months, it’s somehow easier to ignore the importance of increasing energy efficiency in our homes. But there’s something about winter in northern Illinois—brutal and seemingly ceaseless—and the fact that we need to constantly run our heat at full blast that make us and our customers painfully aware of poor energy efficiency. If we’re not aware, our energy bill will serve as a reminder of how many of our hard-earned dollars we may be hemorrhaging from leaky windows and doors, uninsulated or poorly insulated attics and basements, and an uncapped chimney flue. Aelite Chimney Specialties can help you make improvements to your fireplace, stove, and/or chimney so that your heating appliance will not be to blame for so much of your energy loss.

4 Quick Facts About Energy Efficiency in Illinois

  1. The graph showing electricity price history in Illinois over the past 10 years shows a steady increase, meaning that if pricing continues to increase at the same rate your electricity bill will only get worse every year—unless you take matters into your own hands.
  2. In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was passed. This Act includes the Energy Efficiency Tax Credit Extension. By implementing eligible measures in your home, you can receive a 10% tax credit up to $500.
  3. Luckily for you, because we live in a state that must endure frigid temperatures each year, we have lots of organizations devoted to helping residents reduce their electricity bill, improve their energy efficiency, and find rebates, incentives, and financing. For instance, Energy Impact Illinois will come to your home to conduct a free home energy assessment (valued at $400).
  4. According to Power2Switch.com, only .8 percent of Illinois residents are completely green, while 16.4 percent are partially green and 82.8% rely on traditional energy. However, it’s now possible to power your home entirely with electricity that’s been created by wind farms and solar panels. For information about how to lower your energy bill in Illinois, you may want to look into Power 2 Switch, which enables you to compare electricity providers and choose the best rate and plan for you—for free.

How Aelite Chimney Can Help Your Energy Efficiency

Fireplaces and stoves have a not-always-accurate reputation of saving homeowners money. In fact, these appliances and their chimneys can allow enormous amounts of energy to escape from the home. This doesn’t have to be so, however. There are a number of different ways that Aelite Chimney can help you make your heating appliance more efficient and save you money on your energy bill each month, including:

  • Install a Damper on Your Chimney. The most surefire to keep your conditioned air from escaping your chimney is to install a top-sealing damper at the very top of your chimney. This damper will remain tightly closed anytime your chimney is not in use. You can read all about chimney dampers on our dedicated page, where we explain just how dampers work.
  • Replace Your Old Wood Stove or Fireplace with an Energy Efficient Unit. Did you know that a new model stove or fireplace can be as much as 50 percent more energy efficient than your old model and uses 1/3 less wood for the same heat? According to the EPA, “ Older stoves that were manufactured before 1990 burn wood inefficiently which wastes firewood, pollutes the air in your neighborhood and creates dust inside your home. Newer stoves can reduce smoke and dust, as well as cut heating expenses. There are many cleaner, energy saving options, ranging from gas to high-tech wood stoves certified by the EPA.” If you’re interested in a replacement appliance, we’ll be able to help you assess what type of appliance will work best for your home and family.
  • Repair and Sealing Cracks in Your Chimney, Fireplace, or Stove. Even older model appliances can be made to be more efficient with some simple weatherproofing. However, the fact that the chimney is enclosed and hard to access can make even simple weatherproofing far more complex. Our chimney technicians are happy to take care of it for you, and we can show you the results of our work with a closed circuit camera. You can read all about our chimney repair and restoration services here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Aelite Chimney with questions about how to have a more energy efficient Illinois home. Reach us by calling (815) 363-1242.

 

 

Hire a Professional to Clean Your Dryer Vents

The Importance of Using Certified Dryer Vent Technicians

When the time comes to have work done around the house, there are many different places that homeowners can find contractors. It can be tempting to simply go to an online classified page and find someone who is willing to do the job at a very low price. However, when it comes to having work done on the dryer vents, taking the time to find a certified technician is well worth the effort. It can go a long way to prevent future problems.

Many homeowners do not understand why it is important to have their dryer vents cleaned in the first place. One of the most important reasons is that a dirty dryer vent can be a serious fire hazard. When the dryer is in use, the material clogging up the vents becomes extremely hot. If the material in question happens to be flammable, this could be the beginning of a very dangerous blaze.

Picture of: flame

Lint can become flammable if not cleaned from the vents.

In addition to creating a fire hazard, dirty dryer vents are the cause of a significant waste in energy. When the vents are dirty or clogged, the dryer has to work even harder to complete its job. This means that it has to run longer and use even more energy to complete a cycle that should only take a fraction of the time. This is not only an inconvenience for the person using the dryer, but it will quickly take its toll on the monthly energy bill, adding up to a big waste of resources.

When someone goes on a site such as Craig’s List to find a dryer technician, they really have no idea with whom they are dealing. Anyone can post on this type of site and it can be difficult to verify any claims that they make about training or past experience. When all is said and done, these people could be very inexperienced and just looking to make a quick buck. In the best case, the person who hires them will have to find a professional to get the job done properly. In the worst cases, the untrained person will actually create even more damage to the dryer.

Even if an uncertified technician has some idea as to what they are doing, they do not have the same accountability as a certified technician. A person who is certified in dryer vent cleaning and maintenance most likely makes a career out of this type of work and is not just hoping to make a few extra dollars. They will take greater pride in their work and will be more concerned with developing a good reputation. Someone who has taken the time to receive the proper training is much more likely to get the job done right the first time.

Some people may wonder why they need to hire someone else to clean their dryer vents at all when they can do it themselves. Although it seems like an easy job, proper care of dryer vents requires specific training and tools. If an untrained homeowner tries to save money by doing it on their own, they may end up damaging the machine further or, even worse, hurting themselves.

A local, uncertified handyman may be the right choice for any number of household tasks but dryer vent maintenance should always be left to a certified professional. These people will take pride in their work and hold themselves accountable for its quality. They will also have the know-how and proper tools to get the job done as it should be without causing any further harm.