ELEGANT FIRESIDE and PATIO: FAQs

How do birds get into my chimney and how do you get them out?


Answer;
The best solution is prevention. Chimney Swifts are notorious for nesting down inside chimneys, arriving in the spring they are a Federally Protected Migratory bird that CANNOT be disturbed until the nests is empty. Swifts are known to have up to 3 sets of babies so they become your constant and annoying summer guests. To prevent these unwanted guests from building in your chimney you need to have a properly fitted chimney cap installed. Ok so what if the birds are already there? Sadly you will have to wait until they are gone and then have your chimney cleaned to remove the nests and have a cap installed before they return.

How can I get more heat out of my fireplace?


Answer;
The best solution to get heat out of your fireplace is a wood burning or gas burning insert. These are highly efficient airtight heaters that fit into an existing fireplace. Inserts can act as a primary or secondary source of heat for your home.

Why should I have my chimney swept?


Answer;
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1996, there were over 23,600 residential fires of these 5,500 fires were attributed to chimneys and fireplaces. As a result of these fires 130 people died, 230 people were injured, and total property losses were set at more than $184.4 million.

In addition there were a minimum of 119 deaths from carbon monoxide and at least 4,700 "injuries" reported for the same time frame, though most estimates range much higher.

The threat of chimney fires and unsafe indoor air quality conditions can be greatly reduced, perhaps even eliminated, if homeowners only understood that chimneys are active home operation systems which require regular maintenance and cleaning.

How often should I have my chimney cleaned/swept?


Answer;
After every cord of wood according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

What is a cord of wood?


Answer;
A cord of wood is a stack 4' high by 4' wide by 8' long (128 cubic feet). A "face" cord is split wood stacked the same as a full cord but the log lengths are generally in the neighborhood of 16" - 20" long (rather than 24" as in the case of a full cord). This is due to the fact that smaller fireplaces and many wood-burning stoves cannot accommodate logs 24" long.

Is it OK to use chimney cleaning logs instead of paying someone to sweep my chimney?


Answer;
The following is a section from Chimney Cleaning Logs Position Paper with support from Hearth Education Foundation.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a non-profit, educational institution focused on the prevention of chimney and venting hazards, is concerned about the consumer use of chemical chimney cleaning products to the exclusion of conventional chimney inspections and cleaning. These products often are promoted for their ability to remove a portion of the creosote from a masonry or metal chimney interior through catalytic action when burned in a fireplace or wood stove. The CSIA believes that the use of these products alone is not an adequate substitute for mechanical chimney cleaning and inspection because it does not provide the same level of protection to the chimney system. Current promotional claims for some of the products may be creating a false sense of security among consumers.

It is the consensus of qualified experts that chimney maintenance is best achieved through annual inspections, and mechanical sweeping, by trained professional chimney sweeps as frequently as needed. Chimney inspections often reveal hidden problems with a chimney structure that could be potentially hazardous. Mechanical sweeping of chimneys not only removes layers of creosote from the chimney surface, it removes the resulting loose soot and creosote from the chimney, fireplace, or wood stove.

CSIA believes that the optimal method for cleaning a chimney is by a mechanical brushing of the chimney in conjunction with a complete evaluation of the system by a qualified chimney professional. The CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend annual inspections.

Ive heard that dryer vents need regular cleaning just like chimneys, is this true?


Answer;
Yes, dryer vents need regular cleaning to be safe and perform properly. They should be cleaned yearly and there are two primary reasons why.

Reason #1: According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission there is an average of 16,700 dryer vent fires a year. And the number continues to rise. Why? Most people don't know their dryer vents need to be cleaned. They clean out their lint filter now and then and think that's it. But the dryer vent duct is where lint can really build up and get clogged. And lint is highly flammable, accounting for dryer vent fires.

In addition to lint buildup, improper installation of your dryer vent system can also pose a serious danger to you. A dryer vent cleaning professional will detect potential hazards such as the presence of flammable vinyl duct or a duct run that is improperly routed. So, ensure your family's safety with a professional inspection.

Reason #2: Lint buildup takes more energy (and money) to dry your clothes. If your dryer isn't drying your clothes like it used to, you may not need a new dryer! A dryer vent clogged with lint reduces airflow so your dryer doesn't dry as efficiently as it used to. An inefficient dryer also uses more energy, thereby costing you more money.

Why does my fireplace smoke?

Answer;
There are numerous reasons why a fireplace smokes:

  • the damper is not wide open
  • the chimney system is not high enough
  • the chimney is too small
  • there is a blockage or restriction in the chimney
  • the wood is too wet, not properly seasoned
  • the chimney is on an exterior wall and presents a cooling effect which will reduce the draft
  • trees or buildings surrounding the chimney can affect the wind, so back drafting can occur
  • tightly sealed and well-insulated homes can create a negative pressure within the home causing smoke problems due to insufficient "make up" air supply.

What can be done to stop my fireplace from smoking?


Answer;
There is only one guaranteed fix for a fireplace smoking problem: a chimney exhaust fan. This type of device sits on top of your chimney and when turned on creates a negative pressure within the chimney chamber pulling smoke out of the fireplace and up the chimney. Other possible solutions are: raising the height of a chimney, installing a smoke guard, opening a door or window to allow more air into your home, use a gas fire starter pipe for a few minutes to heat up the chimney, or installing a set of gas logs or a modern highly efficient fireplace insert which will provide a great deal more heat.

How to light my pilot light?

Please reference video below

What is creosote and why is it dangerous?


Answer;
Creosote is a highly flammable oily substance produced by tars during the burning of wood. Some of the unburnt wood particles will go up the chimney and accumulate on the sides of the chimney along with the carbon contained in the smoke. Water vapor is a by-product of fire and the combination of carbon, unburnt wood particles, water vapor and heat creates creosote.

What is seasoned wood?


Answer;
Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut, split and sitting outside in a dry area for a full year preferably covered off of the ground and stacked so there is a lot of air flow. Dry wood burns hot and emits less smoke and creates less creosote. Wet wood, when burned must release water stored within the wood. This cools the fire, creates creosote and hampers a complete burn.

Why should I buy a gas BBQ grill from a specialty store like Elegant Fireside & Patio?


Answer;
Warranty, on-going customer service, repair and parts, various makes and models, high quality units and availability for obtaining grills for propane or natural gas. When you're in the market for a grill, you owe it to yourself to stop in and talk with us and experience the friendly expertise available at Elegant Fireside & Patio. Our highly knowledgeable and experienced staff is available to answer your questions, regardless if you purchase a grill from us or not.