Fireplace Advice

  1. How to Fix the 5 Most Common Chimney Problems

    Your chimney isn't something to simply ignore. Just like your hot water heater or your HVAC unit, it does its job without an issue...most of the time. But then, there's a problem. The sooner you recognize the issue, the more likely it is to be a simple DIY fix. For this reason, it's important to not only know what the most common chimney problems are, but also how to fix them. Here's a great list to get you started:

    #1 Obstruction or blockage

    Animals like birds, raccoons, rats, mice, and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. After all, it's pretty warm and cozy! These animals can enter and block a chimney without a cap. A chimney cap plays an important role in your home’s chimney system. If your home doesn't already have one, now is the time to order one. 

    #2 Masonry damage

    You don't always have a fire going. Water can enter the surface of your chimney, freeze and expand. This leads to damage to the masonry structure. Left unrepaired, this damaged masonry will further deteriorate, leading to serious structural problems for your home. Thankfully, this is easy to prevent with certain measures, like installing a chimney cap and waterproofing the structure. Major masonry issues, such as cracks or damaged mortar, can be repaired by a professional in order to prevent added problems down the line.

    #3 Flue damage

    A flue is the channel or pipe through which gases and smoke travel from your fireplace to the outside environment. It's easy to see why the chimney flue would undergo a lot of stress. High temperatures and creosote deposits can eventually cause damage. Too much stress can lead to cracking o

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  2. How to Fix Your Chimney’s Nasty Odor

    How to Fix Your Chimney’s Nasty Odor

    One of the biggest complaints about fireplaces from homeowners is that from time to time, an odor can be smelled coming from the chimney. Not only does this bad smell fill up your fireplace but also the rest of your house. Closing the windows and turning your AC on is often a solution most people opt for. However, without a doubt, that won't work. In fact, it makes the stench even worse!  For you to eliminate this smell, you will have to start at the source. For a fact, all chimneys produce a little odor that is unnoticeable due to the air that eliminates the odor on the top side of the stack, but when something smells out of place, here's what to do.





    Hiring a professional is the easiest way to deal with the stench that comes from the fireplace. The professional will conduct an annual chimney cleaning and safety inspection. Of course, this isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s the most effective. If you try to go the DIY route, you may end up spreading the stench throughout your house.


    Nonetheless, if you’re experienced, there are a couple of things you may do to ensure that the odor is eliminated. The first thing would be to remove the excess creosote and debris. Not only does this protect your home but it also keeps it safe from burning. Secondly, you may close the damper to ensure it’s sealed while cleaning up the chimney.




    Carcasses of dead animals such as bats or owls can lead to a smelly fireplace. Removing any dead animal inside removes the odor. However, once you remove the dead animal, there will be some bad smell coming from the chimney, but it will certainly end.


    Note that Chimneys are warm and dry so small animals may take advantage of living there. Leaving the stench to spread without removing the animal may be toxic for you and your

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  3. How Much Does It Cost To Reline A Chimney?

    How Much Does It Cost To Reline A Chimney?


    The cost of relining a chimney varies. Typically, the cost can be anything between $2,500 and $7,000. Ultimately the cost will be determined by the type of lining you would want to have installed. Knowing what lining is can help you understand the cost involved.


    Types of Chimney Liners


    Surprisingly, if you live in an old home, the chimney might not have a lining of any kind! For several decades, liners have been a constant requirement for operating fireplaces. This is attributed to the fact that they do a better job of channeling gases up through the chimney top. Houses that lack a liner will not be able to do this effectively. The liners also help in fire prevention by blocking heat from getting to materials that are combustible. The types of liners are:


    Clay Tile Liners

    The least costly liners are clay tile flues. Maybe that is why they are a traditional favorite. If it is installed properly, this particular type of lining may last for more than five decades! The only maintenance required in this case is regular cleaning. Their advantage is withstanding deposits and heat of corrosive byproducts when you burn all types of fuel.



    Poured-cement processes causing cast-in-place liners can create a new flue. Such flues will be able to withstand all harmful effects of acids, condensation, and heat. Cast-in-place flues offer excellent insulation properties while helping the fireplace burn cleaner. This in turn reduces accumulation of creosote.


    Metal Flue

    Preferred by many installers and recommended by fire-protection experts are stainless steel flue liners. One of the reasons they are popular is their durability. There are other types of metal liners in this category.

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  4. What is a Napoleon Wood Burning Stove?

    napoleon wood burning stove


    The warmth and comfort delivered by a wood burning stove is a comfort for many. Napoleon Wood Burning Stoves are the gold standard when it comes to bringing this technology into the 21st century.

    Napoleon Wood Burning Stoves – The Story

    Founded in 1976 in Ontario, Canada, Napoleon designed their first wood burning stove and quickly became a leader in the market space, eventually branching out into gas stoves and other fireplace products.

    Types of Napoleon Stoves

    There are a number of types of napoleon wood burning stoves for heating your home. Beyond the obvious heating features supplied by the stove, many are equipped with a reliable cook top surface, ideal for those times when power failure is an issue.

    There are models to match any décor, both with steel legs or pedestal styles. There are numerous door options and finishes to help match your style.

    Napoleon stoves are ideal for heating homes from 1,500 to 3,500 square feet with ease, taking the bite out of a cold winter night.

    There are also a number of complementary products such as chimney liners and clay chimney pots to enhance the operation of your wood burning stove.

    Napoleon Stoves are Proven Environmentally Friendly

    Exceeding all standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Napoleon stoves set the bar when it comes to efficient and safe wood burning products, consistently producing low emissions. This clean burn helps keep our environment safe.

    Industry-Leading Technology

    Napoleon wood burning stoves have taken the id

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  5. What Damage Can Creosote Cause?

    creosote fireplace


    One byproduct of wood burning fireplaces and stoves is the creation of a chemical compound called creosote. A fireplace or stove with even a modest accumulation of creosote can result in a highly dangerous chimney fire, which can burn at around 2,000 degrees, seriously endangering your home and any occupants.


    Exactly What is Creosote?

    Any wood burning fire produces byproducts of combustion, in short, the residue that is left over when the wood burns. Some of these include seemingly innocuous smoke water vapor, particles of wood and assorted minerals or other substances found in the wood.


    The chimney is there to help expel these from the house, but what happens is that when these flow up the (relatively) cool chimney, and condensation rears its head and a residue is produced that will cling to the chimney walls. This is known as creosote.


    Creosote is seen as a shiny black or brown substance, sometimes flaky, but can be tar-like. Creosote is highly combustible, and when present in sufficient quantities creosote can lead to disastrous chimney fires. Creosote buildup is usually the result of incomplete combustion of the wood.


    Sooty creosote is the most easily handled. When it appears in a hard, glazed tar-like version it can be most dangerous and requires professional help to make your chimney safe to use again.


    Health Problems Related to Creosote Exposure

    There are a number of legitimate health concerns when it comes to the inhalation of creosote. Some known maladies attributed to  creosote exposure include:


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  6. Do I Need a Chimney Damper?

    chimney damper


    There is very little that is more disconcerting than noticing that your house is beginning to fill with smoke, and you have no idea why. What began as a roaring fire designed to keep you warm, has taken on a more ominous face. After securing your loved ones, your quest to find out what went wrong begins. Upon careful investigation, you come to the conclusion that your chimney damper isn’t operating efficiently. The good news is that this can be easily corrected.

    What is a Chimney Damper?

    You need to understand the role of a chimney damper to understand what it is supposed to do and how to help make that happen. Many confuse the chimney damper with the flue, when in fact the damper is a part of the flue. The flue is the air shaft that enables air to circulate both in and out of your chimney. The chimney damper is very much like a lid above the firebox that regulates the flow of air in and out of your home through the chimney.

    When your Fireplace is in Use

    When you have a roaring fire in your fireplace, the chimney damper must remain open to allow smoke to exit the chimney. An inadvertently closed chimney damper (especially at night when the fire is usually unattended) could lead to instances of smoke inhalation, which is a serious medical issue. An open chimney damper will vent the smoke outdoors easily and thus prevent any discomfort or danger while keeping warmth within.

    When Your Fireplace is Not in Use

    When you don’t have a fire going, the chimney damper still plays a role. If you happen to notice air circulating, or a change in temperature, such as on a very cold night, you may want to ensure that

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  7. How to Make Sure your Chimney is Properly Insulated

    chimney liner inspection


    Winter is a time for scarves, warm boots, and toasty gloves. So making sure that your chimney is properly insulated makes sense right?

    If you are preparing your home for the wonders that are a home winter fire, then taking the time to check your fireplace for proper insulation will not only guarantee a warm winter fire but also provide you with the confidence you deserve when burning an open fire.

    Protect your Home and Your Passion for Fire

    Your home's first defense in an unwanted disaster is the chimney liner. Liners are not just for decoration; they serve a real purpose. They are used to redirect unwanted fumes, smoke, and potential hazardous gas from your home into the open environment. Never underestimate the importance of routine checks when it comes to your chimney liner.

    Types of Chimney Liner Insulation

    To get started, you have to know what kind of liner you have. There are three basic types of chimney liners on the market.

    • Metal Flue Liner-  comes in many shapes and sizes, making it one of the most popular choices in chimney liners.
    • Cast-In-Place Liner- Think of your road construction guys pouring concrete. That's what makes up this type of coating. Pouring a concrete type substance within a form, creating an insulation barrier.
    • Clay Tile Liner – old fashioned and built to last, these puppies are a dying breed. But if you do have one, the chances are that normal wear and tear will need to be addressed every so often.

    Have a Professional Check Your Liner Insulation

    Now that we know what type of liner you have installed checking each type for po

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  8. Prepping your Fireplace for Winter

    fireplace safety


    Old man winter is just around the corner. Is your fireplace ready to get to work? If you own a fireplace and want to make sure your home gets the most out of the heat output, you must make sure your fireplace is properly prepped.

    Inspect your Fireplace

    The first step in any fire is to prep the area and make sure it is safe. Sweep the chimney out, check your chimney chase cover, update your fire alarms, and take the time to thoroughly go through your fireplace before winter. This will give you the best fire and maintain a safe environment.

    Use a Chimney Sweep

    Never underestimate the power of a broom. Well, in this case, a professional chimney sweeper, but you get the idea. Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association advises you have your chimney swept once a year? How long has it been since you've had a good cleaning?

    Check Your Chimney Chase Cover

    If you have a chimney then you probably have a stack chase cover. You know, those metal box looking things sitting on top of your chimney stack. Chimney chase covers serve to protect your home from back draft, preventing unwanted smoke and potential gas fumes from billowing back into your home. Signs that you need a new chimney chase cover include rusted portions, areas of pooling water, missing mortar or other parts not name a few.

    Inspect your Chimney Liner

    Once you've checked the inside and out, it's time to pay a little more close attention to your chimney liner. Chimney liners are an important part of fireplace safety. These little guys keep combustibles safe and provide optimum air flow efficiency. The Chimney Safety Institute o

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  9. What Are Chimney Dampers and Why Do I Need One?

    What Are Chimney Dampers and Why Do I Need One?

    Picture this: you’re home on a cold winter night and you decide to build a roaring fire to keep you and your family warm.  After preparing your wood and fostering a strong flame, the house begins to fill with smoke.  Panicked, you have the family stay outside while you see to the issue, only to realize that no smoke is coming through your chimney.  This is most likely due to a faulty chimney damper.  You can think of a chimney damper like a lid for your fireplace.  It is located in the flue (the air shaft through which smoke and air can travel in and out of your chimney) above the firebox (where the fire is made) and is in use both when fireplace is active and inactive.  We commonly think of chimneys as avenues for smoke to escape from your home, but they are also a way for air to come in.  Knowing exactly what your chimney damper is, what it does, and how to control it will ensure better, safer, and more enjoyable fireside chats.

    An Inactive Fireplace

    Like we said before, when your fireplace isn’t in use, your chimney damper still has a job to do.  An open chimney damper will allow air into your home, so if it’s a cold night and you just can’t seem to warm up, make sure that your chimney damper is closed.  A closed chimney damper will prevent unwanted air of any temperature from making its way into your home.

    An Active Fireplace

    When starting a fire in your fireplace, making sure that your ch

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  10. What is A Chimney Liner Used For?

    What is A Chimney Liner Used For?

    A chimney liner is used to extend the life of your chimney while reducing the risk of any combustion within your home.

    Chimney liners are used to provide a smooth surface which carries the products of combustion outside the home. The liner can be made of clay, ceramic, or even metal conduit. The liner protects the chimney from heat and soot build up. The type of liner you need varies based on your chimney.

    Better Air Quality

    A lot of people do not use their fireplaces because of the impact it has on air quality in the home.  A chimney liner significantly increases how well your chimney vents combustibles to the outside. The improved air quality will have you wanting to use your chimney more than ever.

    Getting Your Chimney Assessed

    If you don't have much experience with chimneys or wood burning fireplaces, then you definitely want to consult with an an expert from the very beginning. For safety reasons, getting your chimney inspected when you first move into an older home is a good idea. In fact, if you are considering purchasing a home then be sure to ask about the condition of the chimney because you may be able to get repairs included in your offer price.

    A UL Listed or UL Standard Chimney Liner is an Investment

    Chimney liners should be UL listed or at least made to UL standards. This ensures that your liner is safe and up to modern standards.

     Stainless Steel Liners

     Stainless steel liners are usually made of 316Ti grade because it can stand up to the combustion byproducts and associated corrosion. This helps your chimney liner last longer.

    Insulated Liners are Best

    An insulated chimney liner is best for any fireplace or heating system although it is not required for gas or oil. Different grades of

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