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Contact a Chimney Sweep for Fireplace Recommendations

Choosing the right fireplace is more complicated than many homeowners realize, involving considerations of size and materials along with style and function. The efficiency and durability of the fireplace is at stake, so it is best to consult a chimney sweep. These professionally trained and certified individuals know more about fireplaces and codes than any homeowner possibly could.

Recommending a Fireplace - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of Michigan

To decide on a fireplace without seeking the advice of a chimney sweep is like choosing a medication without consulting your doctor. Your safety and health are ultimately at risk, so make the call and schedule a chimney sweep to come take a look at your house. The recommendations he can give you will prove time saving, cost effective, and invaluable in terms of air quality and overall performance.

A chimney sweep will correctly determine the size that your fireplace opening needs to be in order to maximize its efficiency. Improper sizing results in poor drafting, leaving smoke in the room and causing hazardous gases to remain in the chimney. Removing those gases from the home is the primary function of the chimney and cannot be properly achieved if the fireplace opening is the wrong size.

Your chimney sweep will also discuss the benefits of a fireback, or metal plate at the back of the fireplace, which radiates heat back into the room. Its energy efficiency makes it an almost invaluable part of a well functioning fireplace and yet they are rarely included by builders. Glass doors not only increase the heat generated by a fireplace but prevent sparks from flying into the room.

Blowers will also be discussed, an efficient way to move heat back into the room and excellent in combination with glass doors. In addition, a professional chimney sweep will inform a homeowner’s decision with available firebrick choices. With its resistance to penetration by water of primary concern, the harder the brick, the better its ability to withstand moisture.

What Are the Most Important Fireplace Accessories to Have?

Without any doubt, the single most important fireplace accessory is a screen to prevent flyaway embers from escaping into the room. These can obviously cause fires and at best leave unattractive burn marks in carpet and on furniture too near the fire. A screen is generally included with glass doors, a common fireplace accessory.

Fireplace Accessories - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MI

Glass fireplace doors are as important as they are popular. They not only improve the look of an old fireplace but also reduce heat loss from the home. Blowers can also be added to an existing fireplace. In combination with glass doors, they allow heated air to be blown out of the fireplace and into the room while the heat from the fire is retained behind closed doors. This is an extremely safe and highly efficient way to enjoy a fire.

A grate is another essential fireplace accessory. It should be about two-thirds of the width of your fireplace and half as deep. Placing logs on a grate will allow air to circulate better and encourage the fire to burn properly. A damper is equally important. It should be fully open when the fire is lit but can later be partially closed to prevent heat loss up the chimney.  If smoke is coming into the room, the damper needs to be opened more.  A little experimentation will produce the perfect aperture that allows maximum heating and correct ventilation.

Another fireplace accessory to consider is a fireback. Usually made from cast iron, this is a reflective metal sheet that is placed at the back of the fireplace to radiate the heat from the fire back into the room. This dramatically increases heat output.

Finally, the fireplace needs to be kept clear of ash. A small fireplace shovel and pail will do the trick, but homeowners can also consider placing an ash tray under the grate. These can be simple or decorative and allow for the easy removal of ash after every fire.

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