Is Your Chimney Ready for Winter?

Dec 17 08:26 2012 KarenLamansky Print This Article

Lindemann Chimney Supply provides Single and Multi-Flue Chimney Caps & Covers. We provide Hy-C Draft King Chimney Caps and Gelco Chimney Caps at most affordable prices.

The Farmers' Almanac and weather forecasters always try to paint a picture for us of the upcoming winter but the bottom line is that Mother Nature is always unpredictable and rolls with her own agenda. Whether it's snow,Guest Posting icy cold rain, windy conditions or ice, these conditions take a toll on your chimney and fireplace. Have you had your chimney inspected and cleaned this year? If you lose power is your alternate heating system back-up plan ready? Will it operate safely and efficiently?

When conditions are right freezing rain can build up on trees and power lines in a matter of minutes. As little as 0.2" of ice can cause tree limbs to break taking down power lines pretty quickly. According to Wikipedia one quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds of weight per line span between electricity poles and/or connections. If power is lost a fireplace or woodstove can provide some much needed heat to allow you to stay in your home and help prevent water pipes from freezing. Having your chimney checked and cleaned ahead of time will provide you with peace of mind and the confidence that your back-up plan is in place.

When moisture in the form of rain, ice and snow  enters your chimney and fireplace it can quickly make a mess. This moisture mixes with the residue in the chimney, which is often caustic,  creating a residue that can lead to premature degradation of the structure. If your chimney doesn't have a cover your chimney will be simulating one giant rain gauge. Having a chimney cap installed is like having an umbrella on your chimney. It helps to prevent rain from entering the chimney.

Chimney caps with spark arrestors deter animals from entering the warm flue and causing a blockage. This is an unhealthy location for the animal and can cause flue gasses to back up into your home - flue gasses that contain carbon monoxide. Springtime nests can also create a blockage and nests have been known to ignite, giving a dirty chimney the fuel to become a full-fledged chimney fire.

Traditional masonry fireplaces have been constructed with a cast-iron fireplace damper. The dampers can rust, warp or break. Even when they are new, these dampers only have a metal to metal seal. "Paid" utility dollars can escape up the flue costing hundreds of dollars a year in wasted energy. There is a way to prevent this loss. Most  top sealing chimney dampers will pay for themselves sometimes in the first year. They create a barrier between the outside and the chimney preventing  the heat from escaping up the chimney. It also keeps in air-conditioning in the summer. But be careful when shopping for a top damper. Some have a metal to metal seal. A step up is dampers that seal with a flat silicone gasket and injected silicone gasket. The most effective dampers feature a refrigerator type gasket that creates a flexible, yet tight seal.  Photo, below,  courtesy of

This flexible refrigerator type gasket, above, creates the tightest seal.

These dampers work by opening a spring handle the locks into a bracket on the inside of the fireplace firebox. It's attached to a stainless steel cable that feeds up the chimney flue and is attached to the damper lid. To open you just tug the handle down, release it and the damper pops open. To close it you just pull down on the handle and secure it in the bracket. You can also get a top damper with a screen (like the Energy Top+, pictured below, courtesy of  which prevents entry of animals if the fireplace damper is left open overnight when the fire dies down. It also acts as a spark arrestor.

To be sure you have an effective back-up plan and to seal out the elements, make sure to have your fireplace and chimney system inspected and cleaned. When unpredictable weather arrives you will have the confidence to use this system. Being able to heat independently will be priceless. If you haven't scheduled your inspection and cleaning for this year, do it now and be prepared.

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Chimney Caps keeps precipitation from entering the chimney flue and protects the inside of the chimney. Lindemann Chimney Supply provides Top Chimney Caps which will save customers a lot of money.

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