Chimney Cap Cleaning

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Chimney Cap Cleaning
This chimney cap needs to be cleaned because the creosote is preventing the fireplace from venting which could cause harmful gases to back up into the home. This is often the result of a chimney fire.

Each year before you begin to burn your fireplace, it is prudent to inspect your chimney cap. After a year, animals may have gotten debris stuck in the wire mesh that keeps animals out of the chimney in the first place or creosote may have clogged it up in extreme cases. You want to inspect it or have a professional inspect it because a clogged chimney cap will cause the chimney’s draft to drastically decrease. To inspect the chimney cap you will need to get up to the top of the chimney. A safe ladder set up is necessary, and it is wise to have a buddy hold the ladder for you just in case. If you do not feel safe climbing up to the top of your chimney to inspect the cap, do not have the proper tools to reach the cap, or are just generally unable to, your chimney professional who comes out to sweep your chimney will be able to inspect it for you.

You should clean your cap, especially after a long winter of frequent burning. Generally speaking you will save money by performing this service by yourself. It is not difficult; the most difficult part is safely accessing the chimney top. After you’ve reached the top of the chimney, use an appropriately sized wrench to unscrew the screws holding the cap to the top of the chimney. If you have a stainless steel cap,  detergent and water is the first

Stainless Steel Cap
If you do not have a cap on your chimney, it is very important to get one installed. This cap actually seals off the chimney at the top when the fireplace isn’t in use.

method of cleaning you should try. You can use a stiff bristle brush to try and scrub away any creosote buildup on the cap. Vinegar is another great cleaner that may come in handy if the detergent doesn’t work; while working on the ground soak a cloth in a vinegar and water mixture and let it sit on the cap so the vinegar can break down the creosote.

Some folks who actually do go through with the cleaning of their cap do so because they have a copper chimney cap which will turn greenish over time without proper maintenance. These caps are more expensive but really do look great on the home. To clean a copper chimney cap you can either pour vinegar on the cap and dump salt on it, rubbing the salt with a dry rag and rinsing dry with water or you can make a paste from salt, white vinegar, and flour. This paste should not run but be viscous enough to spread onto the cap. It will need to sit for about an hour on the cap, rinse with water and towel dry to prevent water marks from forming.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Types of Chimney Brushes

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

When you call a chimney sweep out to your home for your yearly cleaning you may be interested to know about what equipment he may use. Here in Cincinnati at American Chimney Company, we utilize a few main different kinds of brushes. Depending on what type of flue you have will tell us what type of brush material to use. There are two main kinds of material that chimney brushes can be made out

Sweep Tools
Copperfield Chimney Supply  . . . This chimney sweeping brush is a poly brush and is used primarily for sweeping stainless steel pipe.

 

of, metal bristles or a plastic material known in the sweeping world as polypropylene.

If you have a traditional masonry chimney that has a clay flue tile liner, the metal bristle brush is the ideal type to clean. The heavier bristles are appropriate for cleaning this type of chimney because they will not damage the flue tiles and are most efficient at removing creosote and debris that tends to build up in masonry chimneys more than a chimney lined with a stainless steel liner. There are heavier duty wire brushes made specifically for glazed creosote or stubborn creosote buildup but these are used sparingly. These are known as flat wire brushes.

A chimney lined with a stainless steel liner, so long as that stainless steel liner pipe is insulated, generally has less creosote buildup.

The insulation around the liner actually helps to keep the pipe warm making it a less conducive environment for creosote to build up. For a stainless steel chimney liner, we utilize the polypropylene brushes. These brushes are more gentle and will not damage the liner but are still effective at removing creosote.

The shape of the brush your service man uses may vary. We use mostly square brushes. These clean most any size and shape of flue efficiently and are generally capable of getting into the corners and crannies that some flues present. The way I train my servicemen is to pick a brush based on the size and shape of the flue they are out to clean. If you have a 6″ round stainless steel flue pipe, my service man will select a brush between 6″ and 7″ in diameter made from polypropylene.

Chimney Sweeping Tools
For heavily glazed creosote, we utilize glaze removal chains which can aid in removing stubborn creosote.

Some do-it-yourselfers may use a plastic or similar material rod for their brushes, but we use only high quality fiberglass rods for brushes. These rods are flexible enough to reach up in awkward chimneys but durable. After a chimney sweep we run a video inspection of the entire flue system. A video inspection entails the service man running a camera on a rod up into the chimney flue to check the now-clean flue tiles for missing mortar joints or cracked flue tiles. This provides the homeowner with picture documentation should we deem the damage in the flue as having been caused by a chimney fire; they will be able to submit a more thoroughly documented insurance claim.

Check out this “Ask The Chimney Sweep” video

Chimney Fires … stove Installation

https://youtu.be/c4UmhJV_OBA

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Flue Repair

HeatShield Chimney Liner Repair in Cincinnati

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Flue Repair
This is the actual HeatShield repair of a damaged flue system.

Here in Cincinnati, when a chimney liner is in need of repair HeatShield can sometimes be installed to resurface the chimney liner without having to install a stainless steel chimney liner which is more expensive. If there are missing mortar joints in the chimney, the HeatShield® Joint Repair System can be an option for repair. You of course must have a professional evaluate the integrity of the chimney to see if a HeatShield® repair is appropriate for your chimney.

Missing mortar joints are extremely dangerous and can cause chimney fires. It is not up to code to burn a fire in a fireplace with missing mortar joints. If there are loose or open mortar joints the extreme heat from fires int he fireplace can reach combustibles and cause a chimney fire to occur. It is very difficult to diagnose whether or not you have missing mortar joints if your chimney professional does not run a video inspection of the flue system. The video inspection will be able to spot missing mortar joints that a professional may miss by doing a visual inspection alone after cleaning.

Another use of the HeatShield® System is to resurface the entire flue system. Here at American Chimney and Masonry in Cincinnati,

Video Scan Chimneys
Video inspecting chimneys allows the sweep to examine the entire flue for missing mortar joints and cracked flue tiles.

if we are going to utilize the HeatShield® System we will resurface the entire flue system, not just the missing mortar joints. If there are widespread cracks in your flue system, multiple mortar joints are missing, or flue tiles are spalling, your chimney professional may deem HeatShield® resurfacing an appropriate repair.

The HeatShield® System works by attaching a custom-sized foam applicator is positioned at the bottom of the chimney so that it can be pulled up from the bottom to the top. A tie coat is the first coat to be applied to the flue system. It cleans any remaining dust or other debris and prepares the chimney surface for the HeatShield®. After this primer is applied, HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant is squeegied up the flue system as well. The foam insert smooths the material up through the flue system easily using the “slip cast” system. After the material has had a chance to dry another video inspection is run to ensure that the repair is complete and that there are no holes. The repair must be smoke tight.

Remember that not all chimney liner repairs are the same, and for very severe flue system damage often times a stainless steel liner is the more appropriate option. Chimney repair is not anything to mess around with and following professional and manufacturer instruction plus local building and fire codes is absolutely necessary. Please visit the Cecure Chimney website for further information and graphics on the Heatshield® System.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Outside Air Sources

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Outside Air Source
This air vent may alleviate smoking problems.

If you are having a problem either keeping your fire lit or having smoking problems, installing an outside airsource may be beneficial. Keeping a fire lit takes different factors including air and fuel for burning. The products of combustion include water vapor and carbon monoxide, so being sure that the fireplace will vent properly is very important to the safety of the home as a whole. One way to improve air flow is to install an outside airsource. An outside air source is a vent that provides fresh air to feed the fire.

For years building codes in most parts of the country have required these to be installed during new construction and most homes already  have them.They look like a small rectangle iron grate, and most often located on the back wall of the firebox , these normally slide to the right and left to open or close Their is a verity of styles found  around the country some being round in shape. They to supply air from the outside so as not to rob  air from the living space of the home. My experience is that many don’t open as they have been rusted shut or the homeowner is not familiar with how and when to open or close them. We have all  sealed our homes up as tight as an envelope with air tight windows, doors, weather stripping, and attic insulation and our appliances are air starved.  That is why building codes require outside air to be supplied to all  gas  fire appliance including fireplaces, hot water heaters, and furnace equipment

A fire that burns well will actually increase draft. In order for a chimney to draft properly, there must be a good air flow from the firebox to the top of the chimney. The fire in the firebox warms the flue system so that the products of combustion will flow up and

Fireplace Smoking Problems
Installing a SmokeGuard is simple.

out of the chimney. If the flue system is too cold the outside air coming down the chimney may be heavier than the products of combustion coming up the chimney which can cause a smoking problem. If installing an outside air vent does not solve your problem, a less intrusive repair would be to install a SmokeGuard which makes the size of the firebox smaller so that the products of combustion may be vented more efficiently.

An outside air source can make getting a fire started in your chimney easy even for beginners. With ample outside air and a good set up of kindling and good, seasoned wood, anyone can get a nice fire burning. One thing I will caution you about when it comes to outside air sources is to watch them being painted over. Whether the vent is an outside air source or simply a vent on the front of a wood stove feeding the fire in the stove with air from the room, if you get the area painted be sure that the air vents are not painted or sealed shut. This can cause problems, especially if it is a vent on the front of a wood burning stove that requires the air in order for the wood to fully combust.

Having an outside air source installed is generally not a costly process, but consulting a professional over where to systematically place the vent is recommended. The professional The professional should  discuss with you both indoor and  outdoor variables such as other competing appliances in the home, large hills, trees, or other obstructions that possibly may be a factor for a sluggish draft.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

How to Diagnose Chimney Leaks

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Peeling Paint on a Chimney
Painted chimneys almost always cause problems because the paint holds in vapor, promoting water problems.

A leaky chimney can be difficult to diagnose. It can be frustrating to pinpoint exactly where the water is entering your home because there are so many possible points of entry. Water can enter the home through the flashing which seals the connection between the roof and the chimney, through cracks in the chimney, through cracks in the crown, or via the roof itself. With all of these factors, I recommend starting with the least expensive repair first because the first repair may not always resolve the issue.What may appear as a fireplace leak may actually be entering the home through a number of different places.

Chimney Water Problem
Looking at your chimney after rainfall may help indicate where water is entering.

One good way to try and pinpoint a general area through which the water is entering is to do a water test. It is very simple to conduct a water test on your chimney on your own. Taking your garden hose start soaking the chimney from the bottom of the chimney to the top, stopping every few feet to let the water soak in for about fifteen minutes. Journal about times and whether you are soaking the left or right side of the chimney. By using this method you will be able to see about how high above the ground the water is entering your home. If there is not further water damage that occurs by this test you may be able to rule out the chimney as the point of entry for the water.

Cracks in the crown must be sealed to prevent further damage from occurring through freeze-thaw damage. Similarly, cracks in the

brick of the chimney itself must be sealed also. Apply a sealant to the cracks in the crown and then apply water repellent over the repair to attempt to arrest chimney crown leaks. I recommend ChimneySaver Water Repellent which is great for use over their crack repair products.

Cracks in a Brick Chimney
Cracks in masonry structures may allow water to enter the home.

If sealing cracks and waterproofing the chimney and crown does not resolve the issue you’ll want to evaluate your flashing. If the flashing is rusted or has pulled away from the roof or the side of the chimney you will need to replace it. This is the most durable repair and it is fairly inexpensive. If you see no visible points of entry for water you may still try to arrest the problem by sealing the flashing using FlashSeal. This product is painted on and you can use the reinforcement fabric for extra protection. Although the most durable repair is to replace the flashing completely sealing your flashing is less expensive and more easy to do by yourself.

If you are really having trouble diagnosing your water problem you may want to have a professional come out to evaluate the job for you. Diagnosing chimney leaks is always a process of elimination and I always recommend going with the least expensive repair first to see if that will arrest the issue. If a chimney company comes out and suggests rebuilding the chimney without bothering to try any less expensive repairs I would be wary.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

CrackMagik Repairs Chimney Cracks

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Chimney cracks are very dangerous. What starts out as a hairline crack will continue to grow from freeze and thaw damage and deepen and widen until what you are left with is a very serious masonry problem. Whether the cracks appear on your brick chimney or on other parts of your home, CrackMagik is a product that has been tested and true. CrackMagik is unique in that it can be used to waterproof cracks up to 1/8″ wide. Cracks much larger than that are probably going to require some rebuilding or tuckpointing of the chimney or other brick area. This chimney crack repair product is what I send my masonry crew out with.

Over the years I have found that using CrackMagik directly over the cracks on the masonry surface, allowing it to cure, and using

Applying crack magic vertically or horizontally with a stiff bristle brush (included) is a cinch!
Applying crack magic vertically or horizontally with a stiff bristle brush (included) is a cinch!

ChimneySaver Water Repellent over the crack and the surrounding area produces a very water tight

CrackMagik is available in 1/2 gallon containers and recommended for use with ChimneySaver Water Repellent.
CrackMagik is available in 1/2 gallon containers and recommended for use with ChimneySaver Water Repellent.

seal. This type of repair is ideal if you are having a leak and are trying to solve the water issue. Instead of rebuilding the entire suspected masonry area, this less expensive repair (CrackMagik and ChimneySaver Water Repellent Application) can help you identify if a crack in the masonry is indeed the offending part of the home or if you need to dig deeper for an answer by assessing the roof or the flashing on the chimney. Brick chimney repair is expensive and going with the least expensive repair first is encouraged.

When applied by a professional the CrackMagik product comes with a 10 year warranty. The product carries no warranty if you make it a do it yourself job. This breathable formula will not trap water that is found naturally in the masonry but will prevent water from actually entering the masonry. CrackMagik is applied with a small brush directly on the crack to seal it and takes a few hours to dry. This product is a paintable caulk and it dries to a milky white color but does not significantly change the color of the chimney or other masonry surface. Each half gallon container of CrackMagik covers approximately 100 sq. ft. of wall space and should be applied in temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

How to Clean Mold off Brick Surfaces

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Mold needs something organic, like dirt, leather, cardboard, or food in order to grow. It takes a lot of moisture for some types of

Folks will have false flue tiles installed but the water that pools in them will often cause moss to grow and cracks to form in the crown.
Folks will have false flue tiles installed but the water that pools in them will often cause moss to grow and cracks to form in the crown.

mold to grow where others need very little. There are tens of thousands of molds that have been discovered. Not all of them are toxic but some can produce lethal allergic reactions in people who have weakened immune systems or have other compromising health factors. Some molds are just plain molds. There are mold spores in the air we breathe and mold in some of the foods we eat.  Mold is a part of life as we know it but at the same time mold on your brick surfaces can be very unsettling and unsightly.

Removing mold is not difficult. Safety is key; you will want to wear goggles that do not allow air in for ventilation and rubber gloves to prevent the mold from getting on your skin. Black mold, dark green mold, and virtually every other type of mold is able to grow on brick surfaces. Brick patios, which will

Moss is growing on this crown and down into the brick below it. It can be removed by the ChimneyRx Safer Brick and Masonry Cleaner.
Moss is growing on this crown and down into the brick below it. It can be removed by the ChimneyRx Safer Brick and Masonry Cleaner.

have a thin layer of dirt on them even if it cannot be seen, are especially prone to mold growth. The mold is not actually growing on the brick but on the dirt. If there is moisture that sits on a particular part of your home, especially after rain, you may get mold growing on the actual brick on your home.

One cleaner I recommend for cleaning brick in general whether you have dirt stains, rust, mold, or mildew is the ChimneyRx Safer Brick and Masonry Cleaner. Muriatic acid was once recommended for cleaning brick but that can bleach the brick and stain it in other ways. If you would prefer you can go to your local Home Depot or garden store and get a weed killer. You’ll want to saturate the mold and let it sit for a period of time to allow the formula to work. Scrub the area with stiff bristle brush and rinse. You may have to repeat this process many times especially if the mold is very developed. Be cautious by not getting any chemicals on your skin or in your eyes.

If you have more than ten square feet of area covered in mold you may want to consider bringing in a professional who will be able to assess why the mold is growing there and help you prevent it from coming back. If you have mold growing inside your home, especially in your bathroom you want to take care of that as quickly as possible for health reasons.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

How to Remove Rust Stains from Masonry Chimneys

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you installed a cap on your chimney that was not stainless steel there is a likelihood that you have rust stains on on the top of your chimney which are very unsightly.

Removing rust stains and removing the source of the rust are both very important because if the rust is not remove it can deteriorate your brick over time. Removing rust is not difficult but you also want to avoid staining the brick with a strong acid or even eating away at the face of the brick. If the stain is at the very top of your chimney and your chimney is very tall you may want to call a professional to clean it.

Your safety is the number one priority in an endeavor such as this and if you do not have a ladder that will safely reach the top of your chimney or you don’t have any safe way to access it then you should have the stains professionally removed. Do not power wash your brick to get rust stains off, especially if the brick is old or crumbling because that will not only further destroy your brick but more than likely “will not” remove all of the stains.

brick-mortar-cleaner__02200.1413907696.600.600 SaverSystems “Brick and Mortar Cleaner” can be purchased at —-> www.FireplaceAndChimneySupply.com

images-1images

                                                                                             Before       &          After    

There are products on the market that are specifically designed to remove rust stains. The SaverSystems  . . . “Brick and Mortar Cleaner” is a Professional grade cleaner that removes rust, mildew, algae, dirt, mortar splatter, and creosote stains. This product can also be used for removing rust stains from concrete. It is safer to use than muriatic acid which was once recommended for cleaning rust off of masonry surfaces.

Muriatic acid can burn the and could eat away at the face of the brick as well. While protective eye wear and gloves should be worn whenever handling any masonry cleaners.

SaverSystems  . . . “Brick and Mortar Cleaner”product is safer than muriatic acid and will help in rust stain removal.

If the rust stains were caused by a chimney cap that was painted black or was of poor quality metal it may have caused this rusting .scan0005 (2)

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                                                      Before       &          After  

stainless steel chimney cap is key to preventing rust stains from occurring again. Remove the offending cap immediately and replace it with a top mounted stainless steel cap, which sits on top of the flue, or a top sealing damper and chimney cap combination, like the LockTop system which not only keeps birds and other critters out of the chimney it also seals off the chimney at the top forming an air tight seal when the damper is closed to keep warm air in the home and cold air out when the chimney is not in use.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Gas Fireplace Basics

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

If you are looking to enjoy fires in your fireplace but dread the thought of hauling and storing wood or keeping a fire burning, a gas log set may be the route for you. Starting a fire with a gas log set is a simple as flipping a switch or pressing a button on a remote control. You save yourself quite a bit of work by burning gas as opposed to wood or even pellets.

When it comes to gas fireplaces there are two kinds; vented and vent free or unvented gas log sets. There are a few primary differences between these two types of gas logs. Vented gas

This gas fireplace is a vented model. The flames it produces look very real.
This gas fireplace is a vented model. The flames it produces look very real.

logs use a chimney or other flue system to allow the products of combustion to go up and out of the home. Not all gas log sets require ventilation. Vent free gas log sets have manufacturer specifications stating that their products can be installed without a chimney or other flue system.

Gas burns clean, so as long as you have a cap at the top of your flue system (if you select vented gas logs) you shouldn’t have to have it swept out each year, only inspected. If you do not have a cap on the top of the flue system you should; birds, raccoons, and other animals can bring nesting material into the flue system create a dangerous situation. Gas logs should only be installed in an existing masonry fireplace if it has been cleared to vent the products of combustion by a chimney professional.

A chimney flue that cannot vent the products of combustion from burning wood cannot vent the products of combustion from gas logs. If you have used the chimney to burn wood in the past it should

A chimney cap prevents debris from being brought into your flue system; with a cap a properly working gas log set should never require the flue to be cleaned.
A chimney cap prevents debris from being brought into your flue system; with a cap a properly working gas log set should never require the flue to be cleaned.

be cleaned to remove creosote and any other debris before installing gas logs. Direct venting is also an option for vented gas logs. This entails using a double walled pipe to vent the products of combustion. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to directly venting as with any process of installing a gas log set. Vented gas logs usually have a more natural looking flame than vent free gas logs. Since vent free gas logs burn the natural gas more completely it generally burns hotter. This hotter flame will usually be blue. Vented gas logs can burn less efficiently, create a natural orange or yellow looking flame, but do not put out as much heat.

There are concerns about whether or not using vent free gas logs compromises air quality in a home. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using gas log sets, vented or vent free. If you have a family member that is elderly or has a breathing problem you may not want to install a vent free gas log set.

Gas fireplaces that have a pilot light that is always on costs more each month than a pilot light that you can turn on and off. By switching to this more efficient pilot you can save around $9.00 a month on your energy bill based on your location. Propane is an option for burning as well as natural gas. Propane fire places operate a lot like gas fireplaces and have similar options for vent free models if space constraints or other concerns bar you from venting your fireplace.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb

Pellet Stove Basics

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb
Pellet stoves burn very efficiently, but wood pellets generally produce less ash than pellets from agricultural waste.
Pellet stoves burn very efficiently, but wood pellets generally produce less ash than pellets from agricultural waste.

The first questions that many people have when it comes to dialogue on pellet stoves is what exactly is a pellet? A pellet actually saves space in landfills by recycling sawdust, agricultural waste, bark, and wood chips and compressing it all into little pellets. The sawdust that is recycled in order to make these pellets would otherwise have been sent to a landfill. These stoves are extremely efficient, more so than regular wood burning stoves. There is very little creosote that is produced by the burning of these pellets, and very little smoke for that matter. There are more advantages to pellet stoves. You purchase pellets in bags like you purchase mulch. They can be stored much more easily than cord wood can be stored. Also, you have many more options when installing a pellet burning stove than you do a wood burning stove in terms of location.

There are pellet stove inserts that fit into an existing fireplace and use a masonry chimney to vent and there are free standing pellet stoves that stand on legs. These two types of installation are similar to the way you install wood burning appliances. There are, however, pellet burning stoves that can be installed in the corner of the room or on a blank wall even. The possibilities are almost endless. Be sure to read carefully exactly what type of installation the manufacturer of your stove recommends before you purchase it, especially if you are looking to install it in a specific area in your home. Following the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter is crucial because if you don’t, manufacturer’s warranties may become void. If you install the stove yourself you may also void coverage by insurance; some agencies only insure stoves installed professionally.

Pellet stoves can be up to 85% efficient! This outstanding number provides you with more heat output for what you put in than wood burning stoves. A pellet stove has a hopper that operates like a screw permitting so many pellets to hit the flames per hour. The faster the pellets hit the flame the greater the heat output for the appliance. A fan to induce draft is used to fuel the fire with air for

This pellet stove should be installed in an open area for best heat dispersion.
This pellet stove should be installed in an open area for best heat dispersion.

combustion and increase efficiency. You can install a pellet stove in a condominium or apartment because of its limited emissions. They are ideal for urban settings because you do not need to build a chimney in order for it to draft. To vent a pellet burning stove you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions but, generally speaking, double walled pipe is used. These can route out a side wall or up through the roof but must be in compliance with local building and fire codes as well as follow manufacturer’s instructions.

For best results, install free standing pellet stoves in a wide open area so that the heat can be dispersed evenly throughout the area it is heating. Similarly, it is important to use only the type of pipe that is UL listed for the stove that you have purchased. Using a different kind of pipe than recommended, say using a dryer vent pipe or otherwise, will create a dangerous situation that will almost always void the manufacturer’s warranty. You can vent your pellet stove either directly through a wall, up through the ceiling, or in an existing fireplace. If you vent the appliance through the wall the pipe must continue outside until it reaches above the roof line so that proper draft can occur.

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Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

AsktheChimneySweep.com….Educational Videos
FireplaceandChimneySupply.com….Chimney products
AmChimney.com….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb