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Fireplace & Chimney Services
Fireplaces are either masonry or zero-clearance (sheet metal) units. They are totally different with regard to repairs and maintenance. We work on both.
A masonry fireplace is built of brick. The fireplace itself will have a firebrick liner inside the combustion chamber and depending on the age, will have a clay flue tile liner in the brick chimney.
Repairs for masonry fireplaces fall into two groups. The first is fire related. This would include replacing firebrick in the combustion chamber, welding up cracks in a heat form, or replacing clay flue tiles.
Maintenance is the same for masonry and zero-clearance units. We need to keep the chimney clean to avoid chimney fires. We do complete safety inspections of the unit and the chimney before we sweep them. Then we do a second chimney inspection after the sweep to look for any damage that might have been hiding under the soot and ash. Masonry chimneys are also susceptible to water damage. We take care of them by removing the moss and then water sealing the brick and mortar joints with industrial grade water sealer. We also apply an elastic coating to the crown to stop any frost wedging cracks from opening up and allowing water to damage the brick from the inside out. We are OSCA certified chimney sweeps and take your safety very seriously.
Wood Stove and Wood Fireplace Inserts
NEVER burn treated wood or plywood. NEVER use any kind of liquid to start or freshen a fire. NEVER leave the door cracked open past startup and do not leave it unattended with the door cracked. If you forget to close it, one fire can damage both the stove and the chimney.
Burn only dry seasoned cordwood in your wood stove. Green wood will cool the chimney temperatures and will cause creosote to form. This in turn will cause a chimney fire. Wood varies by species and location as to how long it takes to become safe to burn but in our area, a good rule of thumb is 1 complete year for softwoods and 2 years for hardwoods. This is after the wood is split. Rounds will take longer to dry out. Although it is not definitive, check the bark. When it begins to separate from the wood on the ends, you’re getting close. If you find yourself having to burn green wood, contact The Stove Doctor for a chimney inspection.
Never trust a stove you are not familiar with. If you purchase or rent a home that has a wood-burning stove, or wood burning fireplace insert, even if you had a home inspection, please call The Stove Doctor for a safety inspection before burning.
Wood stoves are natural draft. This means that they rely on hot air rising to get the smoke up the chimney and out of your home. Always start your stove with plenty of dry kindling and un-glossy news paper (glossy can damage some wood stoves). This will ensure the chimney heats up and gets a good draft going. During some weather, wood stoves will smoke back into the room, but if this becomes a common problem, call The Stove Doctor.
If you notice something that looks like black icicles at the chimney cap, its time to call
Many chimney caps have spark arresters that can plug up during the heating season. If your stove begins to smoke into the room, or smoke is leaking from the pipe joints, check the cap. If it is out of your reach to do so, please contact The Stove Doctor.
You need to properly fire your wood stove. You unit will have a damper control to control the combustion air supplied to the fire. It is OK to open the damper wide open to get the wood burning well, and to produce more heat, but it is not good to burn the stove with the damper wide open all the time. You may warp parts of the stove and damage the chimney. It is critical that you do not under fire the stove. Burning the unit with the damper closed or mostly closed all the time does this. This will cause cool chimney temperatures and that will cause creosote to form. Continued use will result in a chimney fire. The best plan is burning smaller hot fires. If you burn the stove overnight, meaning you have closed the damper, allow the stove to burn hot for 1 hour or so in the morning. If you are unsure of the build up in the chimney, contact The Stove Doctor for a safety inspection before burning.
Masonry, Zero-clearance Fireplaces and Chimneys
Always ensure that the damper in the fireplace is fully open prior to lighting the fire.
Always burn reasonable sized fires; the size of the fireplace opening does not mean that you should fill it with wood. Use the grate as a guide. If the wood is too big to fit the grate, it’s probably too big for the fireplace
It is a good idea when starting a fire in the fireplace to preheat the chimney to help draft.
NEVER fill a fireplace with gift-wrap and cardboard, and light it off. The fireplace needs time to expand to the heat increase. This kind of a fire can cause temperatures to go from 45 degrees to over 700 degrees in about 1 minute. This will damage the clay flue tiles in the masonry unit, and will warp the sheet metal chimney in a zero-clearance unit. It can cause bricks and refractory to crack and break.
Always make sure that glass doors are fully open when burning a wood fireplace. The unit must have proper airflow. Also, the glass in fireplace doors is not the same as a wood stove and is susceptible to being broken due to getting to hot.
Always make sure the wood being added to the fire is dry. Any water or snow could heat up and pop. If it hits the glass doors, the glass will shatter.
Always check your chimney for moss buildup at the end of the burning season. Moss destroys the brick, and mortar joints of your chimney and needs to be removed. If this is out of your league, contact The Stove Doctor.
Water damage is just as destructive as fire damage to your fireplace. Watch for brick flaking off, cracks and white marks on the brick. If you see these, call The Stove Doctor for a safety inspection.Your fireplace should always have a chimney cap. It keeps out the rain and critters (raccoons, opossums and birds, Oh My!). If you do not have on installed, you can measure the chimney opening and we can supply you a lifetime warranty chimney cap. If are not comfortable getting on your roof, call The Stove Doctor. We can help
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Serving EUGENE, SPRINGFIELD & Greater Lane County