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Bees in Your Chimney? Do’s and Don’ts

Bees are most active in the warmer spring and summer months, and it is not uncommon for bees to build their hives inside the chimney. These tiny creatures can squeeze through small openings like the weep hole, masonry cracks, or chimney cap, for example. Once inside, you may hear them buzzing around as they get to work building their beehives. So, if there are bees in your chimney, there are a few things you can do to avoid being stung.

Certified chimney inspectors in Russett MD Don’t Try Removing the Bees Yourself

Trying to remove the bees yourself can be very dangerous. When the bees are agitated, you can be stung by a swarm of bees. Also, many individuals are allergic to bee stings. Bee removal should be done only by a professional beekeeper or exterminator.

Don’t Kill the Bees

Some homeowners spray insecticide into the chimney or hire an exterminator to kill a bee colony. This intervention is not recommended as it can make bees more aggressive as they panic to escape. You shouldn’t approach a bee colony without protective clothing to prevent bee stings. Keep in mind that bees are less aggressive in the late afternoon or evening. However, bees are incredibly vital in the environment, and homeowners are discouraged from killing them.

Don’t Build a Fire

Avoid building a fire in your fireplace if there is an established colony in the chimney. Beeswax is flammable, and the liquid wax may erode your masonry and cause more issues. The heat from a fireplace will also melt the honey and create a sticky mess. It can also cause the bees to panic from the smoke and fly into your house.

Do Close the Damper

Close the damper to form an airtight seal between the flue and fireplace. Bees are also attracted to light, and if there are any gaps when the damper is shut, they can still get into the home. You can use a chimney plug to ensure the seal is airtight.

Do Contact a Bee Professional

Contacting a certified beekeeper is an ideal option for bee removal. The beekeeper will safely and humanely remove the bees and relocate them to a friendlier environment without harming them. In some cases, it may not be possible to remove the bees, and extermination may be necessary. A professional exterminator will use a chemical spray that will kill the bees inside the flue.

Professional Chimney Sweeps in Annapolis, MDDo Clean Your Chimney

Once the bees have been removed or exterminated, contact a chimney sweep to clean your chimney. The smell from any remaining honeycomb or honey in the chimney can attract small animals and pests. Also, the chemicals used in extermination may leave a corrosive residue that can damage masonry walls and metal components. 

How to Keep Bees Out of the Chimney

The best thing to do is to keep bees from entering your fireplace or chimney. Ensure that the damper and gasket seal is not worn or damaged. A chimney sweep can also fit your system with a chimney cap to discourage bees from getting inside. Consider replacing your throat damper with a top-sealing damper. Furthermore, cleaning your roof and gutters with water and soap in the warmer months may discourage bees from flying too close to your home.

 

 

Schedule an Early Chimney Sweeping Before the Fall Rush

Professional Chimney Sweeps in Ferndale, MDSomething is just ahead besides changing leaves and cooler air and it’s the fall rush that chimney sweeps experience every year. Scheduling chimney sweeping early is recommended because nothing beats a glowing fire in the fireplace when the first real cold snap arrives. Qualified, trusted chimney sweeps like the pros at Complete Chimneys LLC typically get booked up pretty solid by the time fall arrives. Booking a convenient appointment time can be tough—unless you schedule chimney sweeping early.

Why is Annual Chimney Sweeping Essential?

When family safety is a priority, annual chimney sweeping must be, too, according to manufacturers and experts in the hearth industry. They agree that annual chimney cleaning and inspection is something the safest and most efficient hearth systems have in common.

Also, thousands of home fires occur every year because of fireplaces being lit when the condition of the chimney was unknown. Those hazardous fires are usually caused by chimney fires that spread to the home. 

Annual chimney sweeping ensures that there are no obstructions that could:

  • Ignite a dangerous chimney fire
  • Prevent toxic combustion gases from entering the home rather than escaping through the chimney.

More About the Fall Rush

Chimney professionals are kept extremely busy with chimney maintenance, chimney repairs, and hearth installations from October through the end of January. If it’s not impossible to schedule chimney sweep services during that period, it is difficult to schedule the chimney professional of your choice. Complete Chimneys, for instance, offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, competitive prices, and extensively trained chimney, masonry, and hearth appliance specialists. You can enjoy greater peace of mind by scheduling your chimney sweep services with trusted professionals early and beating the fall rush.

Chimney Sweeping: What to Expect

Certified Chimney Sweeps For Hire in Ferndale, MDKeeping your chimney clean is the best way to keep it safe and running efficiently. Even though chimneys are a dirty mess, you don’t need to worry about your home during a chimney sweep appointment. Professionals have the tools and equipment to keep your home as clean as it was before the arrival of the chimney technician. It does help, though, for you to clear the entire hearth area, move furniture back, and cover the furniture for added protection, just in case.

The two important tasks accomplished with chimney sweep services are:

Removal of creosote. With every wood fire, tar-like, highly flammable creosote is deposited in the chimney flue. Most chimney fires are the result of creosote that was ignited by a floating ember. Then, if there are built-up layers of creosote, the intense chimney fires are fueled so long that the flue is destroyed and the fire spreads to the home.

Removal of other obstructions. Blockage in the chimney flue can also be caused by twigs, leaves, animal and bird nests, and other debris.

Call Complete Chimneys LLC Today

Beat the fall rush by scheduling the best in chimney services early, which means contacting Complete Chimneys to schedule chimney sweep services. We offer sales as well as chimney maintenance, chimney repairs, and masonry work.

Check out our selection of top-brand hearth appliances by visiting our new showroom located at 8174 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena MD. Stop by or call us today at 410-544-7600.

 

 

 

Dangers of Neglecting Chimney Maintenance

Many homeowners are used to routine maintenance for most parts of the home, but the chimney is often neglected. The biggest reason is that they don’t think it’s necessary since everything appears to be working fine.  However, that can be a dangerous and costly mistake. Without routine maintenance, including annual chimney inspections and cleanings, there may be a dangerous level of debris and hidden damage growing in the chimney that is severely increasing the risk of fire and exposure to contaminants.

Creosote Build-Up

Chimney Sweep Services in Russett, MDCreosote is a natural by-product of combustion that sticks to the chimney interior as the smoke rises out the flue. With regular chimney, cleaning creosote isn’t a problem. It does, however, become increasingly dangerous when routine chimney maintenance is neglected. As the wood fuel continues to burn in the fireplace, the creosote continues to accumulate in the flue. It also evolves into a dark, tar-like material that is highly flammable.  The primary cause of residential chimney fires is due to excessive creosote in the chimney, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics.

Flue Obstruction

Many homeowners don’t realize there are animal nests in the flue until it’s discovered during a chimney inspection. A broken or missing chimney cap is like an open door for small animals like birds, raccoons, squirrels, and other critters looking for a warm place to hide from predators. While inside, they build nests and can make quite a mess. Also, leaves, twigs, and other debris can clog the flue opening. The wildlife and debris can cause a flue obstruction, a hazardous situation. When this occurs, the smoke and fumes cannot be wholly expelled. With nowhere else to go, the exhaust backs-up into the living space, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that over 50,000 persons are treated annually for accidental CO poisoning.

Broken Flue Tiles

Most flues have a clay tile liner that prevents the high heat in the fireplace from igniting nearby combustible materials. The combination of normal wear and tear and the corrosive combustion gases will cause flue tiles to splinter or crack, requiring repair or replacement eventually. Also, a chimney fire can cause significant damage to clay flue tiles and other components. Without regular chimney inspections, cracked and damaged flue tiles will go unnoticed, increasing the risk of fire and exposure to CO fumes.

Damaged Flashing

Chimney Masonry Repair in Annapolis, MDDamaged flashing is another severe problem that can occur when neglecting chimney maintenance. The flashing is a metal material that covers the seam connecting the chimney with the roofline to prevent water intrusion.  When the flashing is damaged due to warping, corrosion, or weather damage, it can allow water to leak inside the chimney. The moisture can cause significant damage to the ceiling, walls, and firebox resulting in expensive repairs.

Masonry Damage

Brick masonry in chimney construction is a durable, but porous material.  The constant battle with rain, snow, and ice in freezing and thawing temperatures can cause the brick and mortar to crack, crumble, and eventually separate from the chimney. At first glance, masonry damage may be difficult to spot, but as tiny cracks and crevices give way to more significant gaps, the structural integrity of the chimney is at higher risk of a partial or total collapse. It will also reduce the fireplace’s heating efficiency and increase the risk of fire and exposure to smoke and fumes.

Neglecting routine chimney maintenance can be costly. Minimize the risks and uncover minor problems before they become more expensive repairs with an annual chimney inspection. If it’s been more than a year since your last inspection, contact your local chimney professional to schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible.

Buying Hearth Products Online vs. Buying From Your Local Hearth Shop: Don’t Get Burned

Shopping online may be a favorite American pastime, but local shopping absolutely makes the most sense when buying a new hearth product. Taking advantage of an online hearth deal that appears to save money often, in the end, causes nothing but regret. There are distinct and important advantages to buying a fireplace or heating stove from a local showroom instead of a website. Learn more below.

wood stove installation in Russett, MDHome Comfort

The typical online purchase is devoid of interactions with experts who can answer questions and provide good advice. When it comes to buying fireplaces and stoves, the help of a professional makes a world of difference. How can you know you are buying a heating appliance that safely and efficiently provides the right amount of heat? Hearth appliance specialists can help you make informed decisions that yield the desired results. When you visit a hearth showroom, you can even learn about options you didn’t know existed. You may see a pellet stove in person for the first time or discover that you are a big fan of linear fireplaces. With additional options in design and style to choose from, you are more likely to be completely satisfied with your new hearth appliance.

Wood, Gas, or Pellet Fuel?

Among the options to be considered when choosing a hearth appliance is the fuel type. Should you go with a wood, gas, or pellet-fueled stove or a wood or gas-fueled fireplace? Online, it is difficult to know whether you are making the right choice. Speaking to a hearth appliance specialist in person, however, provides the opportunity to ask questions and get expert insights.

Installation Problems or Assurances

When you buy an appliance online, it is usually difficult to find an installation expert willing to cover the manufacturer’s warranty. Installation is a potential liability issue that prompts most specialty stores to serve only customers who purchased hearth products from them. The heart of the concern is a potential lack of quality, essential parts, and information ensuring safety. The professional installation that is available through hearth stores comes with certain assurances. For instance, the appliance is a proper fit for your space. Also, the needed venting is either installed for the new heating appliance or is already in place. These matters must be handled in a way that ensures insurance coverage in the event of a catastrophic occurrence involving the appliance.

Gas Fireplace Installation in Annapolis, MD Misleading Marketing

The temptation to buy a hearth appliance online is understandable because you may see many displays of fireplaces and heating stoves that would look beautiful in your home. What you see online cannot be recreated without a professional installer, however. You will probably be unable to find an expert installer whose work ensures insurance protection. If you need to return the heating appliance, online retailers typically allow returns, but you will be required to cover the expensive shipping costs.

Visit the Complete Chimneys Showroom

We have a beautiful hearth appliance showroom at Complete Chimneys LLC in Pasadena, MD. Our experts are on hand to help you make your selection from among many top-brand hearth appliances. In addition to the models and styles on the showroom floor, we provide you with access to catalogs. We will give you all the direction you desire so that you are equipped to choose the ideal hearth appliance for your home. Perhaps most importantly, we provide the expert installation you need for protection, safety, and peace of mind. Call us today at (410) 544-7600 or visit our showroom located at 8174 Ritchie Highway.

 

 

5 Signs You Need to Call a Chimney Sweep

Many homeowners often ask when they need to call a chimney sweep. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual cleanings and inspections. However, if you are burning wood in the fireplace more frequently, you will need additional chimney cleanings. If it’s been more than a year since your last chimney cleaning or you notice any one or more of the following signs, it’s time to call a chimney sweep for help.

Professional Chimney Sweep in Russett, MDWater Inside or Around the Fireplace

Anytime you notice water inside or around the fireplace, it must be investigated to determine the source before more significant damage occurs. The chimney sweep will perform a level 1 visual inspection of the chimney, including the damper, flashing, chimney crown, and masonry. In some cases, a level 3 inspection is necessary when the technician needs to remove certain components to gain entry to an inaccessible portion of the chimney to locate and repair the water leak.

Smelling Odors Coming from the Fireplace

When the humid air mixes with the soot, creosote, and other decaying organic material in the flue, it can cause unpleasant odors in your home. It’s also a sign that it’s time to hire a chimney sweep to clean the chimney. A thorough cleaning will eliminate the foul odors.

Hearing Small Animals Inside the Chimney

Whether it’s finding a warm and dry place to rest in the winter or escaping predators in the spring, small animals like birds and raccoons may hide in the chimney.  They typically enter the flue through a broken or missing chimney cap.

Hearing scratching, thumping, and squealing noises, especially at night, are some of the signs that you may have small animals in the chimney. It is best to call a chimney sweep for help to avoid injuring yourself or the animal. The chimney sweep will safely and humanely remove the animals and replace the chimney cap to keep animals and pests out of the flue.

Spotting Dark, Tarry Material in the Chimney

Professional Chimney Sweep in Arnold, MDAfter burning several fires without sweeping the chimney, you may notice that soot and a dark, tarry, and crusty material called creosote are starting to cover the interior walls, damper, and other parts of the chimney. It may also smell like burnt wood. In particular, creosote is especially dangerous because, in this stage, it is a highly flammable substance. It is also challenging to remove and will require the assistance of a chimney sweep. The chimney sweep has professional tools and supplies to remove the creosote safely and efficiently. Removing the creosote will significantly reduce the risk of a fire.

Smokey or Inefficient Fires

Burning smokey or inefficient fires in the fireplace is a sign that it’s time to contact your chimney sweep. It could be that the wood is green or unseasoned. Unseasoned firewood has high moisture content and will cause smokier and inefficient fires. It could also be a more severe problem like a drafting issue or cracks in the masonry. The chimney sweep will conduct a thorough inspection and recommend solutions that will fix the problem to keep your home and family safe.

Things to Know When Investing in a New Chimney

If you are having a new masonry chimney built to go along with a masonry fireplace, there are some things you may want to know before the building process begins. It’s good to take time and consider essential aspects of your investment so that you can make confident, informed decisions. The more you know about chimneys, the better equipped you are to end up being happy with your newly built venting system.

Chimney Building in Annapolis, MDChimney Placement

You may have the perfect place picked out for your new fireplace, but is the location also good for your chimney? Outside walls are popular places to install chimneys, but they are not the best option, all things considered.

On the coldest of winter days, you are likely to have a cold column of air inside your chimney if it has been built on an outside wall. That cold air is not good. First, a chimney filled with cold air cannot draft properly. It takes some effort to get heat to push through all of that cold air and then eliminate it. Lighting a fire typically requires a preliminary activity in which you use newspaper to make a torch. Hold the lit torch up to the open damper. After one or two tries, the cold air should exit the chimney. You are then free to light your fire with the confidence of knowing that combustion fumes will not go inside your home. Instead of being forced to deal with cold air in your chimney, you can choose to have it built within the interior walls of your home, not on an outside wall.

The Concrete Footing

Masonry chimneys are exceedingly heavy, and seldom are other parts of a home heavier. It is crucial to build a chimney over a concrete footing that is either below or at the level of the home’s foundation. The concrete footing should extend at least 6 inches beyond each side of the chimney. A lot can go wrong as a result of a defective or insufficient chimney footing. When the chimney settles, for instance, it could push down and break through the concrete footing, creating cracks in the chimney and in the home’s foundation. Obviously, it is important that the chimney masons understand building requirements.

Chimney Inspection in Russett, MDChimneys Need Maintenance

When you have a chimney built, you are taking on a venting system that requires maintenance. Chimney inspections should be scheduled annually, according to fire safety experts at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Chimney cleaning is essential, as well, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Wood fires always leave creosote behind in the chimney liner. As the creosote builds up, it increases the chances that a dangerous chimney fire will occur. Creosote can also obstruct the chimney, resulting in toxic combustion gases entering your home.

Call Complete Chimneys LLC Today

For the best in chimney services, contact Complete Chimneys. In addition to providing chimney maintenance, chimney inspections, chimney repairs, and masonry repairs, we offer sales. Visit our new showroom at 8174 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena MD and see a wide selection of hearth appliances today. You can also call us at 410-544-7600 to schedule the best chimney services in the area.

 

The Effects of the Freeze/Thaw Cycle on Your Chimney

While the fireplace is keeping your family warm during a chilly winter, the chimney is battling howling winds, rain, sleet, and snow. The cumulative precipitation throughout the season can be damaging to masonry chimneys.

The Freeze-Thaw Cycle

Chimney Freeze/Thaw Cycle Repair in Annapolis, MDWhen the chimney was built, the layer of bricks had a hard-outer shell to protect it from moisture intrusion. However, several years of winter weather along with normal wear and tear can cause tiny cracks in the surface. Looking closely at the brick surface often resembles a sponge. As moisture rains down on the exterior surface of the chimney, bricks, and mortar, which are porous materials, soak up the moisture. When the temperature drops below freezing, usually in the evening, the moisture that is collecting in the bricks turns to ice. The ice crystals expand, widening the existing cracks in the bricks even further. It also erodes the mortar leaving noticeable gaps in the joints. When it gets warmer during the day, and the ice melts, the larger cracks and crevices in the brick collect more moisture the next time it rains, starting another freeze-thaw cycle.  Depending on the weather conditions, the damaging effects of the freeze-thaw cycle will repeatedly continue throughout the winter season.

Repairing the Damage

In the early stages, the freeze-thaw damage is often minor, with some spalling or cracked bricks around the chimney. You may notice small pieces of brick lying on the ground. There will also be some erosion of the mortar joints.

However, the spalling will continue to get worse until repairs are made. Chimney masons use tuckpointing to repair minor masonry damage.

 

A waterproof bonding compound fills in the gaps and are color-matched to the remainder of the chimney. If the freeze-thaw damage continues to progress, there will be voids in the chimney with large chunks or entire pieces of brick dislodging from the structure. It can cause the chimney to lean and affect its structural integrity. To prevent a chimney collapse, a partial or complete rebuild may be necessary to restore it.

Chimney inspection in Glen Burnie, MDPreventing Freeze-Thaw Damage

Waterproofing your chimney can prevent water damage caused by the freeze-thaw cycle. Before applying a waterproof sealant, you need to first make repairs to any existing masonry damage. It is recommended that you hire a chimney professional to apply the waterproof sealant. Chimney professionals use a vapor-permeable sealant that allows the masonry to breathe without trapping in moisture. The application will need to be re-applied every few years to maintain its water-resistance strength.

Annual Chimney Inspection

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney inspections. Getting a chimney inspection, especially after the winter season, is vital for uncovering minor chimney damage before it develops into more expensive repairs. During the inspection, a chimney professional will examine the entire interior and exterior structure, including the brickwork, chimney cap, chimney crown, and flashing, which are susceptible to damage during the winter freeze-thaw cycle.

Does Your Chimney Have a Liner? Does it Really Need One?

Chimney Liner Repair & Installation in Arnold MDMaryland has many homes a century old or older, virtually all of which were originally built with no chimney liner. Thanks to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), chimney liners have been mandated safety features since the 1940s. Many homeowners are unfamiliar with chimney liners, however, and question whether they need one at all or need a replacement liner when damage has occurred. The following information provides the answers.

The Functions of Chimney Liners

The fact that toxic combustion materials travel through the chimney liner to escape to the outdoors is fairly well understood, but that’s not the liner’s only function. When you become familiar with all of the essential functions of chimney liners, it’s easy to recognize their importance. Details follow:

Protect Combustibles

Chimney flues are constantly exposed to intense heat from fires. When chimneys are unlined, adjacent combustible materials such as woodwork can rapidly catch fire, sparking a dangerous house fire. NBS studies showed that it can take as little as 3.5 hours for woodwork near an unlined chimney to catch fire.

Prevent Leakage of Toxic Gases

When a chimney liner is damaged to even an exceedingly small extent, combustion gases can escape the flue and enter the home. Carbon monoxide is among the gases produced by fires. With prolonged exposure, the fumes can cause severe injuries and even death. The most frightening thing about carbon monoxide is that it is odorless, tasteless, invisible, and produces no symptoms until it is usually too late to safely escape the fumes.

Protect Masonry from Corrosive Byproducts

Chimney liner repair & installation in Russett MDThe byproducts of combustion gases are toxic and corrosive. If the brick and mortar of a chimney are exposed to the gases, the acidic nature of the fumes destroys the mortar joints. This exposes the masonry to moisture damage and allows heat to transfer more quickly to nearby combustibles.

Ensure Efficiency of Appliances

When homeowners have new solid fuel heating appliances installed, it is essential to ensure that the chimney flue is the size recommended by the appliance manufacturer. By installing a new liner, as necessary, the appliance is able to operate with optimal efficiency. When the liner is incorrectly sized, the chimney draft is usually insufficient and, in wood-burning appliances, excessive creosote buildup occurs in the flue, requiring more frequent chimney liner cleaning.

Annual Chimney Inspections

All leading fire safety experts agree that annual chimney inspections are important. There are various important reasons to schedule a chimney inspection every year, but the most important has to do with the liner. It is difficult to detect chimney liner damage without the help of a chimney expert. When a Level 2 inspection is conducted, chimney professionals do a careful examination of the chimney liner from top to bottom using special camera equipment. When there is a small crack or any type of deterioration, chimney experts will advise homeowners to replace their chimney liner. Most chimney experts today recommend stainless steel chimney replacement liners when a liner is damaged. However, when certain medium-efficiency gas appliances are used, an inexpensive aluminum liner may be sufficient. In some homes, a cast masonry mix liner may be the best option. Your professional chimney technician can answer any questions you may have about their chimney liner recommendations.

Contact the Pros at Complete Chimneys

For trusted chimney services such as chimney liner installation and replacement, contact the trusted experts at Complete Chimneys. We have served Pasadena MD, Baltimore MD, the Washington D.C. area, and homeowners throughout the region since 1984. Call us at 410-544-7600 today for the best in reliable chimney liner services and all of your chimney needs.

The Science is Clear on Renewable Wood Energy

wood burning fireplace repair in Annapolis MDHumans have been burning wood for heating and cooking for more than one million years. Today, over two billion people use wood heating as their primary source of heat. Wood is a sustainable and renewable energy source powering 6% of global energy needs.

The Facts About Wood Energy

A report by The University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service found that wood fuel produces up to 99% lower carbon emissions than electricity that is dependent on coal. Also, there are ways to reduce indoor pollution when using a wood-burning fireplace. For instance, sourcing “seasoned” firewood produces significantly less smoke and pollution than fresh or “green” wood. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been dried for at least six months.

Wood is also a plentiful, sustainable, and renewable energy source. Researchers also discovered that using wood for bioenergy resulted in the plantings of more trees. The demand for wood supply gives forest owners an incentive to plant more trees. Why is planting more trees important? It is healthy for the environment. Trees produce oxygen, clean the air, benefit climate amelioration, preserve water, and support wildlife.

Environmental Benefits

The State of Vermont, considered one of the most environmentally friendly states in the U.S., is counting on wood energy to meet its goal of achieving 90% renewable energy in the state by 2050. It expects wood energy to supply over 1/3 of its heating needs by 2030.

Wood fuel is a low-carbon alternative to heating with fossil fuels. Unlike other heating sources, a wood-burning stove or fireplace doesn’t require electricity to operate. It will also continue to heat the living space long after the flames burn out.

Sourcing wood and pellet fuel is carbon neutral and will not increase your carbon footprint. Trees release the same level of carbon dioxide, whether they burn or die naturally. Also, the level of heat can be adjusted by sourcing different wood types. Hardwoods, like Alder, Beech, and Oak, when you desire high heat on those very cold days. Softwoods, such as Douglas fir, Southern Pine, and Western Red Cedar, for low heat to take the chill out of the room.

wood burning stove in Annapolis, MDBurn Responsibly

Responsible wood-burning practices have stood the test of time. Homeowners can do their part by using their fireplaces and wood stoves responsibly. It includes having annual chimney inspections and cleanings and making necessary repairs timely. It will not only ensure your heating appliance and chimney are safe to use, but it will also improve its efficiency, and reduce pollution. Mother Nature has provided everything on the planet humankind needs to survive. Resources like trees, water, oceans, fish, and even cows that some take for granted or want to eliminate. Our survival and the survival of generations to come depends on our ability to use them responsibly without destroying the resources nature provides.

Why You Shouldn’t Settle for a Builder-Grade Fireplace

Building a new home can feel like stepping into quicksand and you get in deeper practically every time you take a breath. This feeling of being overwhelmed is, no doubt, why so many houses everywhere are built with a builder-grade fireplace. It’s one less decision to make and it helps to cut costs. Unfortunately, a builder-grade fireplace is nearly always a mistake. It’s like a placeholder for what you really want. Below, learn more about why it’s rarely a good idea to settle for a builder-grade fireplace.

Fireplace Install, Pasadena MDThe Basic Problem with Builder-Grade Fireplaces

Any materials that are “builder grade,” including fireplaces, lack the type of quality homeowners typically want. Builder-grade fireplaces qualify as acceptable but only because they meet the bare minimum guidelines for construction. They have poor performance and durability and an uninspiring appearance. Due to the low-quality materials, builder-grade fireplaces eventually need to be replaced, which is disruptive and costly. It makes more sense to have a high-quality fireplace installed in the design and style you really want.

A Missed Opportunity

Because fireplaces are very popular amenities, homebuyers are often willing to pay significantly more for a home with a fireplace—up to $15,000 more. The resale value of a home with a builder-grade fireplace, however, is increased by only about $1,000. The reason is that builder-grade fireplaces are too basic to have real visual appeal and they are terribly inefficient.

A Drain on Energy Efficiency

In order to lower winter costs, it helps to have supplemental heat sources that make it possible to comfortably turn off central heating for a while. That’s not something a builder-grade fireplace can do. A full 90% or more of the heat produced by one of these fireplaces goes up the chimney. A mere 10% of the heat from fires isn’t enough to warm a chilly room, especially in a place with cold winters, like Pasadena MD.

In fact, builder-grade fireplaces cost money instead of helping to cut expenses. When the fireplace isn’t in use, heated air from the home is typically drawn up and out through the chimney and adds a significant amount to heating costs. Having a builder-grade fireplace is like keeping a window open all the time. 

Fireplace, Pasadena MDTips to Boost Heat from a Builder-Grade Fireplace

If you already have a builder-grade fireplace, there are some simple and more radical changes you can make to improve the situation, as follows:

  • Add a temperature-controlled blower to your builder-grade fireplace. The blower circulates heated air from the firebox into the room. 
  • Switch your ceiling fan direction so that heated air is well-circulated throughout the room. 
  • Have a fireplace insert professionally installed. An insert is a highly efficient appliance approved by the EPA, and it transforms a builder-grade fireplace into a viable heat source. You can count on lower heating costs if you put your fireplace insert to good use in winter.

At Complete Chimneys, we offer top-notch chimney services and sell high-quality heating appliances. We’ve begun using heightened precautionary practices, due to the impact of the coronavirus. Our technicians are following additional hygiene practices. They always use personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the nature of our work, and we are making use of hand sanitizer, gloves and wipes much more than previously. Contact us today at 410-544-7600 for a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, masonry rebuild, fireplace insert installation, retail assistance, and any of your chimney-related needs.