Our Company Blog

Consider Installing A Top Sealing Damper

Your chimney’s components each have a unique role in keeping the fireplace burning safely and efficiently. However, many chimney and fireplace components have changed little in the last century. One advancement in the industry that is improving efficiency and changing chimneys is the top sealing damper.

What are top sealing dampers?All about Dampers - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney

Traditional dampers, also known as throat dampers, sit at the top of the firebox and separate the firebox from the rest of the chimney structure. The chimney is then open to outside air while the top of the flue is protected from the elements by a chimney cap.

Top sealing dampers are installed on top of the chimney. This seals the entire flue off from outside air and the elements. The damper is still opened and closed using a lever or pulley when the fireplace is in use. Top sealing dampers have grown in popularity because of their functionality, safety, and ability to improve efficiency.

Do I still need a chimney cap if I have a top sealing damper?

If you decide to install a top sealing damper, your chimney will no longer need a chimney cap. Because of the location of the top sealing damper, it acts in the same was as a chimney cap when it is closed, keeping moisture, debris, and animals out of the chimney by forming an airtight seal around the top of the flue.

The top sealing damper can be easily opened before a fire is started in the firebox; when the damper is open, the solid top protects against downdrafts and moisture getting into the chimney. Likewise, as a top sealing damper is only opened when the fireplace is in use the smoke, gas, and heat coming up the chimney act as a natural deterrent against animal entry.

How can my top sealing damper be more efficient?

Although they have similar functions not all dampers are created equal. Top sealing dampers differ from traditional throat dampers in that they can save you money on your heating and cooling bills; while they may not make your fireplace itself more efficient, they can prevent outside air from affecting the temperature inside your home.

While throat dampers seal off the firebox, the flue is left open to outside air; this means that the air inside the chimney is subject to the same temperature changes as the outside air. The fluctuating air temperature inside the chimney can affect the temperature in surrounding rooms. This causes the HVAC system to work harder and run longer to keep your home at a constant temperature.

Top sealing dampers can help minimize fluctuations in temperature inside your home; this means that your HVAC system can run less – and save you money on heating and cooling bills. Because the entire flue is sealed off from outside air, the air inside the chimney is less prone to temperature fluctuations. Likewise, keeping air inside the chimney at a constant temperature may make lighting fires easier.

Top sealing dampers are effective, easy to use, and can even save you money on your energy bill each month. For more information on top sealing dampers, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on July 13th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fireplace Inspections May Lower Your Insurance Rates

Call Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney to learn how we can save you money on your insurance premiums!

Call Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney to learn how we can save you money on your insurance premiums!

With summer a distant memory, fall has officially taken over. The winds have a new chill to them, and they have started stripping the colorful leaves from trees. People are digging up warm jackets before they head outside, and hot apple cider has become a drink of choice to stave off the chill. Homeowners are starting to think about heating their homes throughout the upcoming cold seasons, and many of them turn to their trusty fireplaces to provide warmth for the house. Along with having a functioning fireplace comes the responsibilities of keeping the unit safe and working properly. This can be done through annual chimney inspections, which can even help lower your homeowner’s insurance rates.

A chimney inspection serves several purposes, but the main idea behind them is to uncover any damage or issues that need to be repaired. One issue inspectors often uncover is water damage. Water can leak through the top of the chimney and cause damage to the damper and flue. If the flue rusts or cracks due to water damage, the rest of the chimney and house becomes exposed to water damage and even fire damage because of the high heat the flue is designed to contain. Water can also damage the masonry on this type of chimney, which can lead to structural problems like cracks or even collapse.

Another issue inspectors look for is missing or damaged chimney caps and crowns. The purpose of these units is to keep animals, debris and water from entering the chimney. Fixing caps and crowns is relatively easy and inexpensive and can save thousands in repairs, yet many homeowners would never know they are missing or damaged without having an annual inspection.

Inspectors also examine the installation of the fireplace in accordance with the flue. The National Fire Protection Association has specific standards for fireplace installation to ensure the safest burning and the lowest levels of emissions entering the home. The inspector can tell you if your fireplace meets these codes, which may help reduce your insurance costs.

The NFPA has also designed three levels of inspections. Level 1 is the basic inspection you would have done each year, as long as you do not suspect any specific issues. Here, the inspector examines every readily accessible area of the chimney and fireplace. Level 2 is more invasive, and the inspector also examines the chimney in hidden spaces, like the attic, crawlspace, or basement. Level 3 is the most involved, usually utilizing a camera to inspect the interior of the chimney, and this is usually reserved for units with known damage, such as a chimney fire.

If you plan to use your fireplace this season, be sure to schedule an inspection before you light the first fire. Contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney in Evergreen, Colorado for a professional consultation.

By Jake Johnson on October 16th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Choosing the Right Firewood for Your Fireplace

For most homeowners, buying firewood is an annual, necessary chore that is done without much thought or consideration. However, many fail to realize that the type of wood you purchase can have an effect on not just the quality of your fires but also on the overall upkeep of your fireplace.Choosing-the-Right-Firewood-for-Your-Fireplace-Evergreen-CO-Mountain-Man-Fireplace

Types of firewood

Although it might seem like all wood will burn the same, each tree has its own distinct set of burning characteristics. Some are naturally smokier, have stronger odors, burn faster, or are harder to split. Firewood tends to be divided into two main categories: hard woods and soft woods.

Hard Woods

Hardwoods tend to be dense, heavy woods; because of this, most experts agree these woods make much better firewood compared to softwoods. While there are a number of hardwoods to choose from, the best woods for home fireplaces are considered Ash, Birch, and Oak.

Ash burns at medium to high, produces little smoke, and is easy to split. Birch also gives off a considerable amount of heat, but does tend to burn a little quicker. However, it is often easy to find and relatively inexpensive compared to other woods, making it an ideal firewood choice. Oak, when dried properly, is a long-burning wood that produces a medium-high heat.

Soft Woods

Softwood comes from pines, spruces, firs, and evergreens. Although it lights quickly, making it ideal for kindling, softwoods tend to produce a large amount of smoke. Because of this, they are often more suited for outdoor fires or activities such as smoking meat.

Pretreated Woods

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, homeowners should “never burn coated, painted, or pressure-treated wood because it releases toxic chemicals when burned.” This includes plywood, wood used for decking, fencing, and playground equipment, or any wood that has come in contact with paint, wood glue, or other chemicals.

Seasoned Firewood

Seasoning firewood is simply the process of allowing the wood to dry; by removing moisture, the wood is able to burn more efficiently with less smoke and hotter temperatures. Seasoned firewood should only have a moisture content of 15-20%, as opposed to the nearly 50% of freshly cut wood. Properly seasoned firewood should feel lighter, appear cracked or split at the ends, and when two pieces are banged together, the resulting sound should be hollow.

For some firewood, the seasoning process can take more than a year. For this reason, when buying pre-seasoned firewood, be sure to ask when the wood was cut. Even the wood in trees that are dead or have been felled needs to be split into logs before the seasoning process can truly begin.

Storing Firewood

Wood that needs to be seasoned should be split, stacked in a single row, and placed in an area where the sun will help dry it out. In addition, it’s recommended that wood not be stacked directly on the ground, as this can cause ground moisture to seep in, thereby rotting the wood.

Storage for firewood in the cold fall and winter months should still be outdoors, but should be in a place where the wood is protected from rain and snow. Homeowners should only bring in as much wood as they immediately need; wood stored at room temperature can sometimes cause any remaining bugs to become active.

By Jake Johnson on August 16th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Saving Energy Means Saving Money

Simple and inexpensive actions can help you save energy and money in your home.  If you haven’t done so already, the first step to saving energy and money in your home is to conduct a home energy audit, which will better assist you in finding where you can save the most.  As with all of our customers, we want to ensure that you receive the best of customer service and workmanship possible when you contact us.  Keep reading for a few ideas on how you improve things in your home.

Sizing Your Units

If you can afford to replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones...this is a good investment.

If you can afford to replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones…this is a good investment.

Small adjustments can lead to big savings when it comes to heating and cooling your home.  Choosing efficient furnaces and air conditioners when it’s time for replacement can save you money over the entire life of the new unit.  Let’s face it, furnaces and air conditioners aren’t cheap to operate or replace.  If you need a new one, do not simply assume that the size of your current unit is appropriate.

Look at the unit’s efficiency rating.  Furnaces with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of at least 92 and an electrically efficient blower motor (ECW or variable speed) are best.  If you use your central air conditioner a lot, look for a model with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 14 or more for the highest efficiency.

System Maintenance

Sometimes you have to spend a little to save a lot.  Scheduling regular tune-ups for your heating and cooling systems is also a sound money and energy saving idea.  Seasonal maintenance keeps equipment running safely and efficiently, and saves money over the service life of the unit.

Household Appliances and Electronics  

Every load of laundry and every appliance and electronic gizmo provides an opportunity for efficiency and savings.  Look for the ENERGY STAR label.  The most efficient computers, TVs, washers, dryers, kitchen appliances and even fans have the label right on the box.  To put it plainly, they save money!  Using power strips for your electronic equipment can help save money as well.

Many electronics consume energy even when you are not using them, hence the reason they’re often called energy vampires.  These devices use about $100 of energy a year.  Plugging chargers, computers and printers into a power strip lets you turn them off with one switch.  Better yet, use a smart power strip.  It turns off automatically when devices are not in use.

If you’re not sure which appliance(s) is(are) right for your home, our knowledgeable and experienced staff can help you make the right choice.  We believe in providing the highest level of chimney and customer case possible and have been doing so since day 1.  We pride ourselves on being the best at what we do and make customer safety and satisfaction our #1 priority.  When Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney takes care of a job for you, you’ll see what sets us apart from our competitors.  Give us a call at (303) 679-1601 today!