One of the most popular ways to update the look of your fireplace and to convert your old wood-burning fireplace to a cleaner-burning EPA-approved appliance, installing a wood-burning fireplace insert should always be professionally done. Most fireplace inserts are smaller than your fireplace’s firebox, and this size difference creates problems. At Blue Ridge Chimney Services, our insert installation technicians have years of experience, and we know why a correctly sized fireplace insert is so crucial to its performance and your safety. We would like to share why it is so important to have your wood-burning fireplace insert professionally sized and installed.
When the firebox of the insert is smaller than the masonry firebox, the flue is most often disproportionately large. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney draft is created like a tornado when a cold front hits a warm front. Venting into an oversized flue is similar to pouring a boiling hot cup of water into a sink filled with cold water. Cooler temperatures cause smoke to stay inside the flue longer and possibly drop below the dew point, which results in the rapid accumulation of creosote deposits.
The Dangers of Creosote
Varying in appearance, creosote is either black or brown in color and can be hard and shiny, sticky and tar-like, or crunchy and brittle. No matter what it looks like, creosote is a highly combustible compound which forms during the condensation process as smoke exits the chimney. Smoke can condense inside the firebox and the smoke chamber and produces a hard, ceramic-like glaze of condensed creosote. This glaze is extremely hazardous, flammable, and expensive and difficult to clean. This glaze will also deteriorate your masonry materials with the acid levels it contains. A professional cleaning from Blue Ridge Chimney Services to get rid of these creosote deposits is essential to protect your house from a dangerous chimney fire.
Smoke Residence Time
Ideally, the shortest amount of time smoke spends in your chimney flue is the best to keep creosote from forming in mass quantities. To get a short smoke residence time in your flue, the properly sized and insulated vent pipe that came with the insert should be used when installing the insert. You can count on Blue Ridge Chimney Services to only use the correct parts when we install your new fireplace insert as we follow all manufacturer’s instructions.
The Solution for Properly Fitting an Insert
The most recommended way to install a fireplace insert into an existing larger fireplace is to also install a sturdy and durable stainless steel liner from the top of the insert to the top of the chimney. Allowing the best efficiency, the chimney liner also makes it easier to sweep and inspect. Another benefit of this chimney liner is it is an easy and economical way to prolong the life of your chimney as the new liner protects your chimney from damage caused by heat and acid-based smoke condensation.
If you are wanting to update your fireplace with a new and more efficient wood-burning insert, contact Blue Ridge Chimney Services today. Our technicians will be sure to install it correctly and safely.