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Want to Add a Chimney to Your Home? Here is What You Need to Do First

Fireplaces are one of the hottest and most in-demand home features. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that 46% of buyers are willing to pay more for a fireplace; homes with fireplaces sell for an average of $1,200 more than similar homes without.

If your home doesn’t currently have a fireplace, with careful planning it is possible to have one added. New chimney systems are divided into three main categories: masonry, manufactured or zero clearance, and gas. While each chimney system has pros and cons, the kind of fireplace you choose will depend on many factors including budget, interior design, heating needs, architectural style, and more.

Masonry chimneys

Masonry chimneys are the most traditional – but also the most expensive option – for wood burning fireplaces. Custom built by a skilled mason, masonry chimneys have brick or stone fireplaces, chimneys, and are often finished indoors with a wood mantle. While masonry chimneys are usually built during a home’s initial construction, they can be added to existing homes as well.

To be added to an existing home, masonry chimneys need to be placed on an exterior wall. Likewise, they need to be put in an area with reinforced floor joists; the floor and framing need to be safe to support the weight of a full brick or stone chimney. Other considerations such as the size of the firebox, the height of the chimney, and the clearance between the fireplace and surrounding building materials must also be considered.

Manufactured chimneys

Manufactured chimneys, also known as zero clearance chimneys, are easier and less expensive to install in existing homes. Built in a factory to exact specifications, there is less flexibility about the size and type of chimney you choose. However, manufactured chimneys are lightweight and often zero clearance, meaning they can be installed within just a few inches of existing floors and walls.

Manufactured chimneys can be purchased for wood, gas, and electric fireplaces, giving homeowners more choices for fuel source with their new chimneys. Because the chimney itself is a metal flue pipe, manufactured chimneys may be able to be installed on interior walls in your home. However, direct vent models, or those that require additional venting to the outside, must be on an exterior facing wall.

Gas chimneys

Gas fireplaces have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are easy to start, inexpensive to run, and have no need to cut and store firewood. Some homeowners are even opting to convert their wood fireplaces to energy efficient gas.

Different gas units require different venting systems; most gas fireplaces are zero clearance and can be installed anywhere adjacent to a gas or propane line. Unvented gas fireplaces are a popular choice for homeowners who do not want to undergo a major construction project; while they produce little to no off-gassing, they should be operated near a cracked window to maximize safety.

Adding a fireplace to your home is a great way to increase its value – as well as get enjoyment from the added ambiance and heat. For more information on adding a new chimney to your home, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today.

Why Do You Need A Chase Cover Or A Storm Collar?

There are a number of different parts and components that your chimney needs to function properly. Do you have a manufactured or prefabricated chimney? If so, two components your chimney might need are a storm collar or a chase cover.

What is a storm collar?

A storm collar is a flexible metal ring that is used to seal around the chimney pipe as it passes through the roof-line. Storm collars are found on both manufactured chimneys, as well as stoves. Surrounding the chimney pipes around the flashing, the storm collar also features screws and tabs. These can be used to tighten the collar to perfectly fit each chimney. This creates a watertight seal that keeps moisture from affecting the roof or the chimney pipe.

Storm collars have angled design that prevents rain, snow, and other water from seeping down the sides of a chimney pipe. The angle redirects moisture away from the chimney and safely onto the roof. While the storm collar protects the roof and chimney from moisture, flashing is still needed to prevent leaks. The flashing and storm collar work together to prevent leaks and protect your home against water damage.

What is a chase cover?

A chimney chase is used to surround and protect the flue pipes of a prefabricated chimney system. Chases can be built using the same siding and materials as the exterior of your home to create a seamless finish; likewise, contrasting masonry or stone can be used to make a chimney chase pop and add unique curb appeal to your home.

The top of the chimney chase is known as the chase cover. Made of metal such as aluminum, copper, or stainless steel, the chase cover seals the top of the chase and protects it from moisture, debris, animals, and more. Chase covers are slightly angled and are designed with a slight overhang over the edge of the chimney chase; this prevents moisture from pooling on the chase cover, redirecting it to the roof where it can safely drain. Chase covers can rust or be damaged over time due to improper maintenance or regular wear and tear.

Do I need a chase cover or a storm collar?

Whether your home requires a chase cover or a storm collar will depend on the type of prefabricated chimney system or stove your home has, as well as what is currently being used to protect the chimney against moisture and the elements. A chimney will not require both a storm collar and a chase cover; if your home has a chimney chase it does not need a storm collar. However, if there is no chimney chase surrounding the flue pipe a storm collar is required.

Both storm collars and chase covers protect your prefabricated chimney or stove against the elements; a certified chimney sweep can help you understand which chimney component is best for your home. For more information on storm collars and chase covers, contact the expert sweeps at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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