Chimney Myths and Misconceptions

Besides the urban legend about the jolly old man in the red suit, there are many commonly believed myths surrounding chimneys and fireplaces. Don’t fall for tall tales anymore. Check out the facts!

Myth #1: Once I install a metal liner, I no longer need regular chimney inspections.

While metal liners may be a solution for other existing problems, the installation of these pre-fabricated liners do not guarantee further problems will not develop. Chimneys with metal liners still must be kept clean and up to date with regular chimney inspections. Some liner warranties may even be void if inspections are not continued after the installation. For this reason and to ensure the safety of your home, chimney inspections should always be kept up with regardless of your liner type and condition. This will ensure minor repairs are caught early and costly problems do not come up down the road.

Myth #2: Fireplaces burn inefficiently and make the room cold.

For a fire to burn, it needs to have oxygen and this oxygen comes from the atmosphere inside your home. When the fire takes in this oxygen gas, it also takes the warmth of that room with it and therefore makes cooler air come in from the outdoors or anywhere it can. This replacement air is typically cooler than the air from the room which then makes the room with the fireplace colder rather than warmer. But every fire does not have to have an end result like this. To compensate for this heat loss, a fireback can be installed in the fireplace. This metal plate installed behind the fire plate in the back of the fireplace and will serve to put more heat back into the room from the fire to warm the home rather than let all the heat escape into the outside. Firebacks come in many decorative designs and can improve the look of your firebox too.

Myth #3: Burning certain soft woods (such as pine) will cause creosote damage to your chimney.

While this myth has been around for ages, studies conducted by the University of Georgia found that the amount of damage wood left on the chimney was a result of low-temperature fires rather than a resin rich fuel source. While pine does contain more sap than other types of wood, this is no longer considered to be cause of creosote buildup in chimneys. Wood that does cause problems though is burning green wood or burning fires at low-temperatures. Regardless of your choice of wood, it is very important to only use dry and seasoned wood to burn in your fireplace. Always remember that properly seasoned wood takes about one year for wood to properly dry out. Dry wood is more of a concern than hard versus soft wood when choosing what to burn.

Myth #4: Do-It-Yourself Websites Make it Easy to Clean Your Own Chimney.

Before you start that one, we suggest watching this video of one of our techs emptying the vacuum from cleaning a chimney in Glastonbury, CT. This filled the first of two 5 gallon containers with soot and creosote. Don’t forget your respirator. And our advice is to do this when your wife is not home, then figure out a way to explain the mess before she gets home. Chimney explosion perhaps? Early visit from Santa? Or you could make it easy on yourself and call us for your Chimney Cleaning in CT.

Myth #5: If I don’t use my fireplace regularly (or at all), I don’t need annual chimney inspections.

The thing about chimney problems is that they can happen at any time and if left unnoticed can amount to needing huge sums of money to fix. During the year between inspections, many problems can occur, such as animals building nests in the structure, cracks forming in the masonry or chimney structure or water and moisture issues may arise. These problems, among others, can happen whether or not your chimney has been in use. It is better to be safe than sorry when costly chimney repairs are concerned, especially when the inspections are very inexpensive compared with the costs associated with a typical chimney repair once the problem has developed. Many chimney fires happen when a homeowner decides to build a fire after years of not using the fireplace.

Myth #6: Every Christmas Eve Santa climbs down the chimney of every little boy and girl’s home to leave presents.

In the old days when we were all kids, Santa Clause could easily fit down chimneys of all shapes and sizes throughout the world. But in recent years with all the triple-chocolate-chip-butter cookies left in every home for the jolly old man, this has caused him some extra weight gain requiring the loosening of the belt on his Santa suit. And so, the jolly old man must occasionally look into alternative entry methods besides by way of chimney for bringing the gifts into the homes of each and every little boy and little girl.

Myths can be fun to hear about but too often they are taken for granted and not thoroughly looked into. By examining these common myths, hopefully you will be able to spot the misconceptions that don’t hold up and stay a savvy homeowner.

Northeastern Chimney LLC / 37 Cody Street West Hartford, CT 06110 / (860) 233-5770

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