Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

All About Wood Burning Inserts

There’s nothing quite as nice as sitting in front of a crackling fire on a cool winter’s evening. Unfortunately, many fireplaces, especially the older ones, are not efficient at all. Consequently, much of your nice warm air is being sucked right up your chimney. In fact, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, when rating wood burning fireplaces for efficiency, rated efficiency on fireplaces manufactured before 1990 at 10% or lower!

Increasing Efficiency

Do you love the smell and feel of a wood burning fireplace, but hate the idea of ‘money going up the chimney’? If so, then buying a wood burning insert might be just the answer to your dilemma. There are several advantages to adding this to your existing fireplace, not the least of which is a much more efficient burn.

What is a Wood Burning Insert?

A wood burning insert is a closed combustion system. It consists of a firebox that is enclosed on three sides by cast iron, or in some cases steel, and has insulated glass in the front. This make-up allows the heat to be trapped instead of going up your chimney. Some inserts are even equipped with blowers. This is so that you can blow the hot air back in to heat the room. It’s clear to see that this would make for a much more energy efficient system, not to mention a cozier room.


Another reason that a wood burning insert is a good idea? Safety! Instead of an open fireplace, an insert is contained. This is so any embers or sparks won’t shoot out of the enclosure.

What Do I Need To Do?

Are you interested in saving money by purchasing a wood burning insert? If so, the first thing you’ll want to do is to have your chimney inspected to make sure it’s up to code. You can check with your local fire department. In addition, you can also trust the qualified professionals at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. They will check out your existing fireplace. Also, give great advice on choosing and installing an insert.

Don’t be surprised if your inspector tells you your flue needs to be relined. Many of the old, over-sized fireplace flues are too big. Therefore, the new inserts are so efficient that the stoves can’t heat the over-sized flue. If not enough draft is created, the gases that float up your flue will more easily condense on the inside of your chimney. This forms creosote build-up, which could create a dangerous situation. Even the possibility of a chimney fire. So if it’s recommended, be sure to go for the relining.

Hire Professionals

Proper installation is the key to making sure that you have a safe, energy efficient wood burning insert. To ensure that you pick the correct insert to best meet your needs. Plus, that the insert is properly installed, call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, Mississippi’s most experienced sweeps!

By Jim Robinson on February 21st, 2017 | 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