Top 5 Fireplace Myths You Need to Know
There’s nothing like a fireplace to take the chill off winter evenings and serve as a centerpiece in the home for relaxation, gatherings and entertainment. Lots of homes have fireplaces, and lots of homeowners may be wondering about some of the things they’ve heard about the longevity, upkeep and repair of chimneys and the performance of their fireplaces. We’d like to sort some of that out by debunking five fireplace myths you may have been wondering about.
Myth #1: Chimneys that are never used or rarely used don’t need inspections.
This would be true – if smoke, gasses and their byproducts were the only issues. Of just as much concern is the structural integrity of your chimney. It may take decades, but eventually the bricks and masonry that were used to build the chimney will begin to deteriorate. For this reason, regular chimney inspections are very important.
Myth #2: Fireplaces make a room cooler, not hotter.
This is partially true but fixable. Fires need oxygen to burn, and that oxygen comes from the surrounding air. When that air moves into the fire area, it is often replaced with cooler air from somewhere else in the home. A fireback is a great device that is fitted against the back wall of the fireplace and radiates heat back out into the room. A good fireplace insert will also cause fires to burn hotter and more efficiently.
Myth #3: Excess creosote in the chimney is the result of burning pine and other soft woods.
The truth is, studies have found that it’s not actually the type of wood you burn that causes damage to the chimney, rather it’s the temperature of the fire. Fires that burn at lower temperatures are responsible for adding excess creosote to the walls of the chimney. To reduce creosote buildup, make sure your firewood is dry, which will cause it to burn hotter.
Myth #4: Homeowners can save money by cleaning their chimneys themselves.
It’s true that if you do your own chimney maintenance, you don’t have to pay someone else to do it. But are you really prepared for what the jobs of inspection and cleaning require? Creosote, which is a byproduct of wood fires, is very difficult to clean from the chimney walls if you don’t have the proper tools and experience. Also, an untrained eye may overlook areas of damage to the fireplace or chimney. It’s always safest to have this work performed by a skilled professional.
Myth #5: The best chimney sweep is cheap and fast.
Some people are so interested in saving money that they forget the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Any so-called chimney sweep who says he’ll charge you $35 for a cleaning that will take about 20 minutes won’t be delivering a thorough chimney cleaning. And more than likely, this person isn’t a professional or certified to perform chimney cleanings or inspections. Expect to pay between $150 and $300 for a thorough cleaning and inspection, and expect it to take an hour or longer.
For information about our products and services for chimneys and fireplaces, visit our website or call (262) 763-3522.