Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

The Importance of a Chase Cover

There are so many parts to a chimney. There’s the damper, which helps seal the fireplace closed when you’re not using it and to allow enough draft when there is a fire burning. There’s the flue, which lines the inner part of your chimney and protects it from the smoke gases and chemicals that could damage it. A chimney cap or rain cover serves as a protection to the interior of your chimney from rain and other types of precipitation that can cause damage to the mortar of the chimney. But there’s another piece, the chase cover, which is often mistaken for the chimney cap. It’s important to understand the difference between these two and to know why each is so important.

Chimney Cap or Chimney Chase Cover?

A chimney cap can do many things for your chimney. It can keep out rain, and it can keep out animals and debris. It offers protection from a downdraft from the wind, and also offers protection to your roof from stray sparks that may work their way up the chimney and land there, possibly causing a fire. A chimney cap has wire or mesh around the outside which allows for the air flow to continue while the top keeps the rain out.

The chimney chase is a “structure built around, and enclosing portions of a chimney exterior to the house.” This structure protects the exterior of your chimney from the effects of weather, which can wear away at both the brick and the mortar, weakening the structure. It can also be a beautiful addition to your home, covering up any imperfections that your chimney might have.

If your chimney has a chase, then you’ll definitely need a chase cover. Rather than fitting on top of the chimney, like a chimney cap does, a chase cover fits over the top of the chase itself. It is made out of metal and has slanted sides so that the rain that falls on it doesn’t go straight down the chase to the metal chimney flashing (metal sheets that cover the joints where your chimney meets the roof). If the precipitation lands there, it could cause these flashings to rust. This is why it is so important that the chase cover fits properly, has a slant to it, and is installed properly.

It’s quite apparent that a chimney chase cover and cap hold two very different purposes. If your chimney has a chase, then a chase cover is what you are looking for.

Call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service

If you’re looking for a chase cover, make sure you call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. Their expert technicians will make sure that you get the chase cover that fits your chase to a “T” and will be able to properly install it so that your chimney is protected from the effects of wind and precipitation. Give them a call today!

By Justin Perkins on November 3rd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Top-Mounted Dampers Are Best for Your Chimney

If you have an older chimney, you most likely have a traditional throat damper for your fireplace. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the damper is an important component of your fireplace and chimney system to keep the heat in and the cold air out of your house, which increases your energy efficiency and reduces your heating costs. The damper is also important for safety reasons because it controls the flow of smoke, gases, and the other byproducts of combustion up the chimney to leave your home. However, a throat damper has many flaws and issues. Fortunately, you have another choice for a highly effective damper that will give you a better seal than the traditional throat damper: the top-mounted damper. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service strongly prefers and recommends this type of damper. We would like to tell you more why we feel a top-mounted damper is the best choice for your chimney.

Top Mount Dampers - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

A top-mounted damper takes care of two functions at once.

One of the best features of a top-mounted damper is that it also serves as a chimney cap when the damper is closed. To be completely honest, we feel that this type of damper actually gives you better protection than an ordinary chimney cap. With its silicone rubber gasket to seal in heat and air conditioning as a throat damper does, a top-mounted damper also provides an air-tight seal to keep out water, debris, birds, squirrels, and raccoons — just as a chimney cap would. If our customers need a new chimney cap, Santa’s Friend Chimney Service recommends installing a top-mounted damper instead of a chimney cap. Some models of top-mounted dampers are even equipped with protective meshing, so when the damper is open, your chimney is still protected from animals and debris.

A top-sealing damper saves you both energy and money.

You just cannot get as good of a seal from a throat damper as you would from a top-mounted damper. You will have no worries of cold air, ice, and snow coming into your flue and making a cold core within your chimney. This cold core will attempt to cool your home at the same time that your heating system is trying to warm it up, which wastes both fuel and money. Since a top-mounted damper is at the top of your chimney, cold air does not have the chance to get inside the chimney as your entire flue will be sealed air-tight with the silicone rubber gasket. Believe us when we tell you that you will save money on your energy bills by installing a top-mounted damper.

A top-mounted damper is easy to operate.

Some throat dampers are difficult to use because you have to almost stick your head up the fireplace to open and close them. With a top-mounted damper, opening and closing the damper is simple. A stainless steel cable from the damper comes down the chimney and connects to a handle you can easily access from inside the firebox. Different models will have different opening and closing methods, but we promise you will find all easy to use.

If you would like to know more about top-mounted dampers, get in touch with Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to find out even more advantages to this type of damper.

By Jim Robinson on May 31st, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Anatomy of a Masonry Chimney

If you have a masonry fireplace, the anatomy of its chimney consists of many important parts. Many homeowners are unfamiliar with these parts and their functions, and knowing these parts’ names and functions can help homeowners identify exactly what is wrong with their chimneys. As part of our duties as Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps, we at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service enjoy teaching our customers about their fireplace and chimney systems. We would like to tell you the parts of a masonry chimney and explain what exactly they do to keep your fireplace working safely.

Masonry Chimney Anatomy - Jackson MS

As identified by the CSIA, the anatomy of a masonry fireplace and chimney system include the following parts:

  • Mortar Crown – Also known as a chimney crown, this part sits on top of the chimney to prevent water penetration of the bricks and mortar as well as water leaks down the flue and into your home.
  • Flue – Available in different shapes and sizes, the flue is a chamber that vents out the corrosive byproducts of combustion from the fireplace. A single chimney can have multiple flues if several fireplaces or stoves are connected to the same chimney.
  • Smoke Chamber – The area above the firebox and below the flue, the smoke chamber allows smoke to mix and rise up the flue. Most smoke chambers are made from terracotta tiles. This part is also known as the chimney throat.
  • Smoke Shelf – The smoke shelf functions with the smoke chamber to push smoke out the flue. This area is behind the damper and is the bottom of the chimney.
  • Damper – Usually located in the same area as the smoke chamber and smoke shelf, the damper seals your chimney shut when the fireplace is not in use. A very important part of your chimney, the damper needs to function properly to keep heated air from escaping out the chimney when there is no fire.
  • Lintel – A heavy piece of angle iron that holds up the bricks over the center of the fireplace, the lintel is embedded into the brick.
  • Firebox – A critical component of your fireplace and chimney system, the firebox is a two- or three-walled structure that contains the direct heat of the fire and guides the smoke into the smoke chamber. Since the firebox is exposed to such high temperatures, this part tends to deteriorate more quickly than other parts of the anatomy of your chimney. It is crucial that the firebox is constructed with the right materials and kept in good repair.
  • Ash Dump – Equipped with a door, the ash dump is located directly below the center of the firebox. When the ash dump door is open, ashes from the fire fall into the ash dump. The ash dump makes it simple to remove ashes from the firebox.
  • Clean Out Door – Most often located in the basement of your home, the clean out door allows you to clean out the ash dump more easily.

Have questions about your chimney’s anatomy? Contact Santa’s Friend Chimney Service or click here to ask our staff whatever you need to know about the parts of your chimney.

By Jim Robinson on February 27th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

What Is a Chimney Damper?

A chimney is actually a complex system comprised of multiple components, one of which is the damper. This metal spring door is located at the top of the chimney or above the fireplace. An attached metal chain runs down the chimney, allowing the user to open and close the chimney from inside the house. When the damper is closed, warm or cool air is kept inside the home, conserving energy use.

The anatomy of your fireplace

Diagram courtesy of the CSIA

If the chimney does not have a damper, at least one-quarter of the energy used in the home is literally going up the chimney. The damper enables the chimney flue to close when the fireplace is not in use. The air generated by a central HVAC system remains inside the home instead of being funneled up the chimney.

A damper also prevents insects, birds, and small animals from entering the chimney. Water and other debris are kept out of the chimney when the damper is closed. If a damper was not included when the fireplace was built, it can be installed later. The best dampers are made from material that will not rust, extending their lifetimes.

Since the damper can only be seen by looking up or down the chimney, many people forget it exists. This causes some to start a fire without first opening the damper. The result is a lot of smoke in the home and no flame in the fireplace. At some point, this is bound to happen but fortunately, opening the damper will remove the smoke.

Spend the money to have a chimney damper installed because it will quickly pay for itself in reduced energy costs. Select a non-rusting damper, not a cheap version made from inferior materials. Have a professional install it and conduct a chimney inspection in the process to verify that the system is not in need of repair.

By Jim Robinson on January 4th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment