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How To Tell There’s A Problem With Your Fireplace

Because so much of the chimney is inaccessible or located in difficult to reach areas, many of us do not know what state our fireplace systems are in. However, there are often a number of signs that there may be a problem with your fireplace. By learning how to recognize early signs of damage, you can call a chimney professional before a minor issue turns into a major problem. Below are a few of the most common signs that there may be a problem with your fireplace.How To Tell There's A Problem With Your Fireplace - Evergreen CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney

Water in the fireplace

Water in the flue or firebox should never be ignored; while chimneys and fireplaces are built to withstand significant heat, water can quickly wreak havoc and cause damage throughout your fireplace system.

One of the most common causes of chimney leaks is a damaged chimney cap. Chimney caps are designed to cover and protect the top of the flue against animals, debris, and moisture. However, if the chimney cap is damaged in any way water can freely enter the flue and cause damage throughout the chimney system.

Fireplace odor

A strange smell coming from the fireplace is more than just an inconvenience; it can affect your home’s air quality or create smells that permeate every room of the house. Because there can be many causes of fireplace odor, a professional fireplace inspection may be needed to pinpoint the exact cause; however, there are three of the most common causes of chimney odor.

  • Animals: Sudden sharp or rotting odors often indicated that animal has gotten into your chimney. If the smell is accompanied by animal cries, scurrying, or clawing sounds it is important to have the animals professionally removed as soon as possible. Homeowners should never attempt to smoke out animals; the smoke and heat from the fire can cause animals to become disoriented or die before they exit the chimney.
  • Creosote: If it has been several years – or longer – since your chimney has been swept, your chimney odor may be caused by creosote. Odors caused by creosote often come and go and may be stronger during warm weather, when the air conditioner is running, or if it is extremely humid.
  • Water: Water in the fireplace or flue can cause mold or mildew to grow. If caused by mold growth, this musty, damp smell will continue to worsen and can eventually affect the air quality in your home, especially for those with respiratory issues such as asthma.

Damaged masonry

The state of your fireplace’s masonry may reveal an underlying issue. Masonry that is cracked, chipped, or crumbling may be deteriorating due to water damage. Likewise, interior or exterior bricks that are excessively stained may be due to a drafting issue.

Knowing how to recognize signs of fireplace problems can help you know when it’s time to call in the chimney professionals for help. If your fireplace is experiencing any signs of damage or deterioration and you live around the Denver area, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney to start your appointment today or call 303-679-1601!

By Jake Johnson on February 16th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Fireplaces and Feng Shui

Fireplaces can make a beautiful addition or focal point to any room. Their comforting appearance, soft glow, and warm heat create a homey atmosphere that invites others to sit down, relax, and enjoy the ambiance.

What many homeowners may not know is that fireplaces can also serve another purpose. Fireplaces can influence the Feng Shui of a room, representing the five elements. Even if you’ve never studied Feng Shui before, you may be surprised at how it can influence and impact the design choices in your home.

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What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of balancing energy. Developed over 3000 years ago, good Feng Shui is said to bring good luck wheras bad Feng Shui can bring misfortune.

The practice of Feng Shui involves using the compass to balance the five elements: fire, wood, earth, metal, and water. Placing items representing these elements at different points on the compass – North, South, East, or West – can have different effects. The placement of these elements throughout your home can influence its Feng Shui and bring harmony into your home.

How do fireplaces influence Feng Shui?

A fireplace can represent multiple elements for practitioners of Feng Shui. They are primarily used, however, to represent the element of fire. The fire element is also associated with the colors red, yellow, orange, purple, and pink.

According to tradition, the best position for a fireplace is in the South. This placement will bring you luck, fame, and recognition. Other good positions are Southwest (increase in romance) and Northeast (success in education and a clear and calm mind). If your fireplace is not in one of these positions, don’t stress – you can balance the Feng Shui of a room by adding representations of other elements.

What causes bad Feng Shui?

Bad Feng Shui can be created when the elements are unbalanced. With regard to fireplaces, bad Feng Shui can be caused by a vacant hearth from a fireplace that is no longer used. The easiest way to improve the bad Feng Shui of a non-working fireplace is to have it fixed. If your fireplace is working but it not used frequently, considering using design elements such as faux logs or candles to fill the hearth.

Designing with Feng Shui

In traditional Feng Shui, fireplaces send energy out of a home. To combat this, place a mirror over the fireplace to bounce energy back in. If you have décor on your mantle, choose design elements that come in pairs, such as placing a vase on each end of the mantle. In Feng Shui, pairs like this represent love and nurturing.

Other themes and motifs to include in a room are circles (which have no beginning and no end and represent the flow of the universe), plants (which attract positive chi and represent prosperity), and aquariums (which are said to attract wealth and abundance).

If you want to add a fireplace to increase the Feng Shui of your home and live near Littleton, CO, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today! We sell and install a wide variety of fireplaces, stoves, and inserts. Our expert staff can help you select the appliance that is right for you style, budget, and the Feng Shui of your home.

By Jake Johnson on January 15th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Have Your Chimney Cleaned In Time for Santa

As the holiday season approaches, the fireplace often becomes the focal point of many family celebrations. Fireplaces have even made their way into several of our most popular Christmas songs and stories as we roast chestnuts over an open fire and hang our stockings by the chimney with care.

Often the most important role fireplaces play during the holidays is to aide in Santa’s arrival. To help the big man in red slide down your chimney without getting covered in ash and soot, have your chimney cleaned in time for Santa’s arrival!

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How often should chimneys be cleaned?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Additionally, the Chimney Safety Institute of America also recommends that all fireplaces, flues, and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year.

Even for fireplaces and chimneys that are only infrequently or seasonally used, an annual cleaning is an integral part of making sure your fireplace system is still able to safely operate. Likewise, most homeowners lack the training, expertise, and tools to be able to correctly clean their chimney systems themselves. Even contractors, roofers, and other handymen may not have the appropriate knowledge to ensure your chimney is properly swept. Instead, homeowners should only trust their chimneys to certified chimney sweeps who can completely remove creosote, soot, ash, and other debris. This allows your fireplace to be able to burn more efficiently and with a greatly decreased risk of chimney fire.

The importance of chimney inspections

Even homeowners who regularly have their fireplaces and chimneys swept should consider having a chimney inspection. A chimney inspection will be able to identify any emerging issues or pinpoint the cause of ongoing problems such as leaks or drafts.

Most homes with well maintained chimneys and fireplaces receive a Level I inspection. During this level of inspection, technicians will inspect the accessible areas of the interior and exterior of the chimney structure. This includes the firebox, masonry of the chimney structure, and fireplace hardware such as the damper and flue. If any additional problems or areas or damage are discovered, a more intensive Level II or Level III inspection may be recommended.

Why is preventative maintenance important?

Homeowners often wait until they are experiencing problems to have their fireplaces or chimneys cleaned or inspected. By this point, however, there may already be extensive damage that will cost considerable time and money to repair.

Instead of waiting until there is a problem, homeowners should have annual preventative maintenance completed. Doing this lengthens the life of both the chimney and fireplace, allowing them to be safely enjoyed for years to come. While an annual cleaning or inspection may seem like an unnecessary expense or a service that homeowners can do themselves, investing in annual preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run by identifying issues before they become major problems.

At Mountain Man Chimney, our CSIA certified chimney sweeps will be able to clean and inspect your chimney in order to keep them in their best possible working condition. If you have not yet had your chimney swept this year, and live around Littleton, contact us today to get your fireplace and chimney in pristine condition before Santa’s big arrival!

Energy Efficiency of Pellet Stoves

For many homeowners, pellet stoves represent a low cost and high efficiency option for heating their homes during the winter. In addition to their ease of operation and minimal maintenance, pellet stoves continue to gain popularity as they present a more energy efficient option to environmentally conscious homeowners. Pellet stoves are able to replicate the look and feel of a wood burning stove with the added benefit of increased energy efficiency.

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Are pellet stoves more efficient than other wood burning appliances?

One of the major draws of pellet stoves is their efficiency. In a regular wood burning appliance, energy is wasted breaking down the wood so it can be burned. Because of a pellet’s size and composition, it is able to burn with less energy wasted. The majority of pellet stoves are between 75% and 90% efficient and have a BTU output 4-5 times higher than firewood.

Additionally, pellet stoves are able to benefit from better fuel to air ratios in the combustion chamber. This leads to the fuel being burned more completely, causing less waste and increasing efficiency. Finally, unlike wood burning appliances pellet stoves create very little smoke and creosote, the buildup of which is the number one cause of chimney fire.

How much do pellet stoves cost to operate?

Because they do require electricity for their fans and feeders, many homeowners worry about any additional electricity costs a pellet stove may have. However, these appliances actually use very little electricity. For a pellet stove that is used as the primary heating appliance for an entire home, the average cost per month in electricity is only $9. While this price may vary, it is often far less that the extremely high price of natural gas during the cold winter months.

The only other cost associated with running a pellet stove is that of the fuel itself. While pellets are slightly more expensive than cordwood, this is easily made up for by the fact that pellet stoves burn much more efficiently than traditional wood stoves. And while it may not save dollars, many homeowners appreciate the fact that their pellet stove can operate without the constant needed to be tended, stoked, or have logs added.

What size pellet stove do I need?

Choosing the right size pellet stove for your home can be a daunting process. A stove that’s too big tends to run at a low smolder, wasting fuel and creating increased air pollution. Likewise, a stove that’s too small will not be able to adequately heat the entire home, leaving residents chilly and frustrated. According to energy.gov, “A good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (Btu) can heat a 2,000-square-foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 Btu can heat a 1,300-square-foot space.”

The experts at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney will be able to help you choose the pellet stove that is right for your family based on your space, style, and heating needs. Contact them today for more information on how a pellet stove can more efficiently heat your home this winter!

By Jake Johnson on September 30th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment