Does Your Chimney Need An Upgrade? What To Consider
July 19, 2023
Type of Chimney Remodels
Upgrading the Flue
The chimney flue is the most important part of the chimney. The flue conveys the dangerous gas up through the chimney and out of the home. Because the flue is not visible from inside of the brick chimney, there isn’t much you can do to upgrade the appearance. However, cleaning and having the chimney flue swept regularly is required to maintain the safety.
When a chimney flue is cracked or missing mortar joints between the terra-cotta flue tiles, the chimney is in need of an upgrade. It is important that when you notice any deterioration to the chimney flue that it is addressed right away to prevent dangerous flue gasses from leaking out of the chimney and into the home.
Does Your Flue Need A Chimney Liner Upgrade
The best way to determine if your chimney flue is in need of a liner is to have a camera inspection done through the flue. This is done by lowering a camera down the chimney and looking for cracks on the inside walls of the chimney. There are cameras you can purchase that are specifically made for chimney flues or can also lower a camera of your choice down the chimney flue. If you notice any cracks on the flue tiles or any missing mortar between the flues, it is time to upgrade the chimney by installing a stainless steel chimney liner. It would also be time to upgrade the chimney flue if your chimney is not currently lined with a terra-cotta flue. Bricks are not a suitable flue lining and can be dangerous to vent anything.
You can also upgrade the draft of the flue by installing a top exhaust ventilation fan such as an Enervex top exhaust chimney fan. This will drive the smoke up and out of the flue. If your flue is in good shape and is sized properly, you can still have draft issues due to the pressure of the home. The top exhaust fans work exceptionally well to enhance the draft in the flue, while also preventing any smoke smell or stains in the home.
Upgrading The Fireplace
You can upgrade your fireplace both functionally and aesthetically. Upgrading the door or screen will give your fireplace an instant upgrade. You can also add a backer plate to give the fireplace a decorative element and gain radiant heat. Adding hand irons, a decorative grate or hearth rug will also provide cosmetic improvements as well.
Functional upgrades such as repairing the fire brick and parging the smoke shelf will upgrade the look and safety of your fireplace. The best way to update an old fireplace would be to install a wood stove insert in the fireplace. A wood stove insert is made to slide inside a fireplace to cleanly convert your fireplace to a wood stove without losing the feel of the fireplace. The insert will make the fireplace much more efficient and provide more heat than a traditional fireplace. Upgrades that are necessary for the functionality and safety of the fireplace should be addressed immediately and may require professional help.
Does Your Fireplace Mantel Need an Upgrade?
Mantels are now available in a variety of styles from distressed barnwood to modern sleek black mantel shelves. A new trend has developed with the revolutionary non-combustible mantels that allow you to move the mantel shelf closer to the top of the fireplace. Some of the non-combustible mantels appear like cedar wood.
DIY Fireplace Mantel Ideas
There are endless DIY mantel ideas available. You can design and build your own mantel out of any type of wood you choose or purchase a premade mantel. Most manufacturers of fireplace mantels fabricate the mantels with a mounting bracket mounting system. A DIY fireplace mantel installation is a fairly simple process.
What Materials Are Needed For An Upgrade
A stainless steel chimney liner will contain all the flue gases and make the chimney flue safer without having to rebuild your entire chimney. The chimney liner insulation is required in some cases, but it is always recommended for any installation. The liner insulation will keep the flue gases hot and prevent the gas from condensing. It is also safer and prevents heat transfer through the bricks.
A wood stove insert is also a great upgrade for an old traditional fireplace and can be less expensive than installing a chimney liner. The Osburn, Napoleon and Timberwolf wood stove inserts are easy to install in a fireplace, they simply require a 6" diameter chimney liner. A traditional fireplace often has noticeable downdrafts and leaks when the fireplace is not being used. A wood stove insert will be airtight from the gasketed stove door to the top of the chimney, preventing downdrafts or leaks when not in use.
A traditional open fireplace can cause stains on the face of the fireplace and the bricks. Chimney Saver Paint and Peel is a unique brick cleaner that thoroughly removes all the soot stains on the face of the fireplace. You simply paint the product on the bricks of the fireplace and let it dry. Once the paint and peel has cured, you peel off the rubber like material to reveal remarkably clean bricks. Paint and Peel will instantly upgrade the face of any fireplace.
If you are experiencing a lot of soot stains on the face of the fireplace it is likely caused by an undersized flue for the fireplace. The undersized flue will cause poor draft and you will have a little smoke rolling out of the front of the fireplace. Once the bricks are clean, you can upgrade the fireplace with a smoke guard. A smoke guard will hang down from the top edge of the fireplace, reducing the face opening size. This will bring the flue size more into scale with the opening of the fireplace, improving the draft and preventing the soot stains from returning.
Back in July you gave me excellent advice re. sizing/purchasing a flue liner for the chimney associated with my wood stove. I'd like to thank you once agai... More
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