The Best Heating Appliance For Your Home!

What is the best heat for me? Wood, coal, pellet, gas, oil, etc.

Today we will be going over the advantages and disadvantages of wood for heat. Wood is certainly the most common fuel for stoves and fireplaces. Wood is usually the most available fuel and most of the time the least expensive. If you cut your own it could be lots of fun to spend the day in the woods or back yard cutting firewood. But if you’re like the rest of us, you have no time. Then you have to order your wood. Many times we get it cut, split, and delivered for about $200.00 dollars a cord.

Good questions to ask the wood guy:

· Is it hard wood or soft wood and what species? · Is it a full cord? How will they “prove” it? · Is it seasoned? If so how long has it been cut and split? · Will they stack it? Does this cost extra? · Is it cut to the proper length for your fireplace or woodstove?

Let’s look at the numbers on wood. Very dry, wood has about 8600 BTU’s per pound depending on the type of wood. But firewood is never that dry, it’s usually between 15 and 25 percent moisture at best. That brings this down to 5500 to 6500 BTU per pound.

Unseasoned wood requires more heat to maintain combustion. This kind of wood has much moister. This results in less available heat. The energy is used to dry the wood so it can burn, instead of heating the house.

A cord of oak contains more potential BTU’s than a cord of pine because it has more density or what we call a hard wood. 1 cord of oak produces about 22,500,000 BTUS, pine produces 13,416,000 BTUs, and hickory has a whopping 26,000,000 BTUs for a cord at 20 percent moisture.

These are all good numbers when it comes to heating. However, the bad news is that an exceptionally good woodstove is about 65 to 75 percent efficiency if it’s burning perfectly. Those numbers have come a long way for those who have older woodstoves. So we get 16,900,000 for $200.00 of oak or a maple wood and far less for a soft wood like pine. There is a mess to consider and the continuous feeding of the woodstove. In the next newsletter we will consider coal and the break down.

We will TOTALLY BREAK DOWN the different fuels one at a time! At the end we hope you can choose wisely. Or know how to help others.  Click contact us to talk to a professional.

Mike Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

The Scoop On Gas Heat

 

I have gas heat; do I need my chimney cleaned?

Many people don’t realize that they even have a chimney for their gas boiler. However gas is generally a clean burning fuel, but the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue vent.

Furnaces newer than the 1990’s can also cause many problems with the terra-cotta flues because this is intended to vent the older less efficient furnaces. These flues breakdowns may block your chimney or may allow harmful fumes into the home.

The problem here is carbon monoxide which is an odorless deadly gas. Yes, you need your gas or oil furnace chimney cleaned or at the very least inspected to make sure it’s venting properly.

Mike Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

Do I Need To Clean My Chimney?

Do I really need my chimney cleaned? I barely use it!

So, how does a chimney sweep answer this one? The correct answer is simply put: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “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.”

This is the national safety standard and is the right way to approach the problem. That takes into account the fact that even if you barely use your chimney or not all problems will still arise. Animals may build nests (and many times do) and there are other types of deterioration that may make the chimney unsafe to use.

So how do we know?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned or swept at 1/8 inch of sooty buildup. Why? This is considered to be enough creosote or unburned smoke buildup to cause a chimney fire. The chimney fire is hot enough to damage the chimney or spread to the home. 0-clearance or factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any amount of buildup occurs. The reason being is that the deposit is very acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace.

Does this make sense to you? Call us to hear directly from the professionals.

Mike Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

Dryer Safety

Let me get this straight. Dry clothes are dangerous!

A very common thing that we use every day is our clothes dryer.

Because of that many times we feel that it’s just a dryer, everybody has one, it’s fine, and we will get it taken care of when we get a chance.

But these are the facts:

According to the US Fire Administration, “Between 2002 and 2004 clothes dryers counted for about 15,600 reported structure fires, 15 deaths and 400 injuries annually.”

So first of all it could be dangerous to not have your dryer vents clean. A dirty dryer vent can use two times the amount of energy (electric, gas, etc.) to dry the same amount of clothes. It also takes a lot more time to dry clothes.

Did You Know? Facts On Clothes Dryer Exhaust Safety:

* According to manufacturer’s specifications and local codes, dryer ducts must be a minimum 4” in diameter and at least as large as the dryer outlet.

* Unless otherwise specified by your dryer’s manufacturer or local code, the developed length of your dryer’s exhaust duct should not exceed 25 feet. (When determining developed length, each 90º turn adds 5 feet to the actual length.)

* Dryer vents shall be independent of all other systems and terminate outdoors, not into a chimney, crawl space or attic.

* Your outside dryer exhaust vent’s termination hood should be equipped with a back draft damper to ensure that the exhaust doesn’t come back in your home.

* Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and the exhaust duct.

* Flexible transition ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.

Michael Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

What’s that smell? It’s coming from the fireplace and it’s summer time.

I can’t tell you how many people ask me this.

The smell is due to creosote (unburned smoke) deposits in the chimney, this is a natural byproduct of wood burning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is on. This moves the warm air outside. The warm air will try to get back in the house the easiest way.

You guessed it; right down the Chimney is easy way for air to get into the home.

The humidity compounds the problem because it causes the creosote to smell more than normal. A chimney cleaning or sweeping will help but usually won’t solve the smelly issue completely.

What can I do?

There are chimney deodorants that work remarkably well. Also, essential oil diffusers work well. I have talked to many people that have good results with baking soda in the fireplace.

The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney; the reason being is overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house. A flue top damper that is tight sealing will also reduce this air flow coming down the chimney.

Fire boxes and Smoke Chambers

Recently we came across an issue with a Level II inspection that our company did on 4 fireplaces.

“Upon arrival our chimney professional Michael Kozlansky provided a Level II inspection.” (A Level II chimney inspection is performed with a camera at the time of any cleaning, for real estate or insurance- or as an annual check provided by homeowner) The chimney professional found that the brick inside the smoke chamber were “corbeled”. (The smoke chamber is the transition area in a masonry chimney that starts just above the damper and continues to where the first flue tile is installed. It serves as the support for a clay tile flue liner. Chambers are usually corbeled brick or block work, starting wide at the base and narrowing down to accommodate the flue liner. Most chambers are 3 ft – 4 ft in height, but can be shorter or taller and out of proportion.) (Testing shows that chimney fires can reach well over 2100° F. After the fire is out, the chimney continues to heat up. Expansion due to excessive heat causes cracks and mortar bond breaks, surface spalling of the brick, and sometimes in severe fires, cracks occur through the brick or block. Most of this type of cracking in the chase occurs in the smoke chamber area and at the top of the chimney)

Our report indicated to the customer that the corbeled brick should be covered with a smooth surface, to protect the smoke chamber should be free of any gaps, cracks, or jagged edges. According to the National Fireplace Protection Association Code 211. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211Standard For Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances 2010 Edition 11.2.1.13 The inner surfaces of the smoke chamber shall be parge coated smooth, with an insulating refractory mortar, Corbelling of masonry units shall not leave unit cores exposed to the inside of the smoke chamber.. Firebrick shall be laid with medium duty refractory mortar confirming to ASTMC199.. When the inside of the surface of the smoke chamber is formed by corbelled masonry, the inside surface shall be parged smooth to protect the integrity and efficiency of your fireplace.

After giving the potential home buyer the report, the current homeowner hired his current chimney person who has been maintaining his chimney regularly.

This is his company’s report:

Smoke chambers do not show signs of damage and do not need to be parged. This is not required for the sale of home, nor when the home was built.

Back to our inspection: If a potential customer calls our company, they are calling because they are putting their family’s safety first. When we inspect any fireplace we will go with all the newest codes according to the National Fireplace Protection Association. There is a reason that codes change, and according to records 60% of all chimney fires occur in the smoke chamber. Knowing this we give recommendations and an estimate based on the camera inspection done. With these statistics and the new codes we must comply and give the recommendations of the professionals at (NFPA) to ensure the complete safety of our customers and keep our reputation as a family run and oriented business. “We care about you!”