Over half of new homes have a fireplace. Homeowners still love fires—wood, gas, or electric. Even television screens with a crackling fire serve as backdrops for holiday festivities! Having a fireplace is not as easy as switching on the television, however. The chimney system may be the largest system in your home, and can be the most efficient and safe, or it could be a hazard—dangerous for your home and harmful to the environment.

Chimney or Vent?

Whether you have a furnace or a fireplace, your home has a heating system that needs regular maintenance in order to keep working well and keep working safely. A chimney system is designed to provide ventilation for a fireplace, stove, or insert and can be made of masonry or factory-made from stainless steel or galvanized steel. Chimneys can vent all types of fuels, but vents are designed to only vent gas, oil, and biomass appliances. Vents should never be used to vent a solid type of fuel like wood or pellets. It isn’t designed to withstand the corrosive byproducts of such fuel fires.

Keeping it Clean

In order to get the most out of your chimney, it will need a chimney sweep regularly. When you schedule a chimney sweep, a chimney professional comes into your house and cleans the chimney system of soot, ash, and creosote. A clean chimney can prevent flue fires, wasted resources, and environmental pollution. When your chimney is clean, it works properly and safely. How the chimney works depends on how well the air flows through the system. Debris, soot, and creosote buildup slows down the airflow, dropping efficiency.

Likewise, when your vents are kept clean, they work properly. Gas appliances, including home furnaces, burn cleanly, releasing very little soot and no creosote at all. Gas releases water vapor, though, which can coat the inside of the vent system. If the system is not maintained properly, bacteria can grow in this space, leading to respiratory issues for the family, and more.

Draft Problems

Chimney and venting systems require airflow to work properly. Both systems have to draw air from the house in order to move it out of the house. If the system is struggling to work properly, there are ways to troubleshoot. Cracking a window may help the chimney function properly, but changing the filters can help the venting system work properly. Routine cleanings and inspections can diagnose any other problems, including obstruction, leaks, and damage.

It is possible that your house has a chimney and a venting system. Many homeowners use both a furnace and a fireplace through the winter in order to save on utilities. Believe it or not, the two systems may compete with each other! Be aware of the type of system you have, the maintenance it requires and having a trusted professional in mind for repairs and services.

Robinson Maintenance Repair cleans and services vents and chimneys. We offer quality services to all of North, Northwest, and Western Chicago suburbs and take appointments year-round. Schedule today by calling 847-290-1883 or by contacting us online.