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Chimney Maintenance Tips For the Fall and Winter

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We don’t think about it too much in the warm weather, but we should. Your home's fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. So the chimney and fireplace need to be checked out before winter comes along.

If it has been a long time since you had your fireplace chimney cleaned, you should have it done by a professional chimney sweep. Definitely not a DIY project.

  • Be sure that the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals.
  • Check flue damper operation. Make sure it opens and closes fully, and that it is able to be locked in the open or closed position.
  • Check chimney draft. Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly. Test this by taking several sheets of newspaper and rolling them up. Then with the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn't, you have an obstruction and need to call a professional in to clean the chimney of creosote and ash and possible debris.
  • Also, have the fire brick in the fireplace inspected. If you see any open mortar joints have them repaired immediately! A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry fire brick through open mortar joints.
The Fireplace Showcase is your one stop shop for all services and products related to chimneys, fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and hearth accessories.  We can install, maintain and repair your heating appliance or fireplace and chimney system.  

Chimney Caps Protect Your Chimney from Nesting Birds

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The warmer weather is on its way, and like many in Massachusetts, you love your hearths, but cannot wait to stop heating your home and open the windows. For many, the time to shut down and clean up the fireplace is just as fun as the first time we light it for the season.  It is time to clean out and clean up your fireplaces, stovesinserts and chimneys.
Chimney Caps are an integral part of the venting system for your fireplace and the venting system is an integral part of your overall fireplace system. The weather and the wildlife are the biggest enemies of your chimney. The birds are out and trying to find a great place to make their nests, what better place than your cozy, dark chimney. Birds and other animals contribute to your chimneys’ demise. All kinds of animals like to make their homes in chimneys especially if the fireplace has not been used for a couple of years.
When chimneys are not correctly sealed, moisture gets into the cracks and seams and can ruin the chimney. Brick chimneys are extremely susceptible. This is where chimney caps can provide extra protection. Chimney caps protect against all types of weather and wind, all of which can erode a chimney. Chimney caps can really prolong the structural integrity of a chimney.

If chimney caps are not in place this spring, the risk from weather and animals is dramatically increased. There are different kinds of chimney caps for masonry or stainless steel chimneys. And Fireplace Showplace can help you decide which style is best for your home.

How to Maintain and Clean your Wood Stove

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 08, 2011

If you own a wood stove, then you know it can be a wonderful addition to a home. There is something comforting about radiant heat in the wintertime, plus a stove will save you money on your heating bill. Along with the benefits of heating with wood, though, comes the extra work of maintaining your wood stove. Here are some tips to help you maximize its safety and efficiency.

First, make sure the stove door closes tightly. It is easy for the door latch to work loose since it is opened and closed frequently. Test the seal by sandwiching a dollar bill between the opening and the door. If you can slide the bill out while the door is closed, it's too loose. Adjust the latch and inspect the gaskets for wear and tear, replacing as necessary. If your stove features a separate door for the ash pan below the grate, be sure to check it too, using the same dollar bill method.

Next, inspect the firebrick liner inside your stove if your particular model has one. These bricks can crack over time and affect your stove's efficiency. There are two types of bricks: conventional firebrick, and a special low-density firebrick. Consult the owner's manual for your stove to find out which type you need. While you're looking inside the stove, check the baffles. Not all stoves have them, so look for a series of plates and chambers toward the top or back of the stove near the flue opening and inspect them for cracks and distortion.

Many wood stoves have transparent doors made of ceramic or glass that tend to build up soot quickly. Keep them looking good by burning only seasoned hardwood and avoiding choking off the air supply with the damper adjustment. An economical way to clean it is to use wadded up newspaper dampened with water and dipped in wood ashes as an abrasive.

Keep the outside finish of your stove clean. If it has a matte finish, you can paint it with stove paint and even change the color to your liking. Be sure to let the stove cool off completely before you apply paint. Wood stoves with glossy finishes are enameled and can't be repainted, but you can touch up nicks in the finish using color matched paint from the manufacturer. Contact us today to learn more about wood stoves or any of our other fine heating products we offer.