How To Make Your Fireplace or Appliance More Effective At Heating

We’re in the cooler season here in Houston, which means many homeowners are putting their fireplaces to a lot more use. Let’s face it – is there a better way to wind down at the end of the day than in front of a cozy fire?

That said, if you’ve found yourself settling down only to be disappointed with a lack of heat from your appliance, then relaxing and unwinding is probably the furthest thing from your mind.

This scenario can also be frustrating when it comes to lowering energy bills. Many use their fireplace as an alternate heat source, so they don’t have to worry about turning on the heat and upping their energy bills. But this isn’t going to be an option if your fireplace isn’t doing it’s job!

Here at Lords Chimney, we strongly believe that fireplaces are meant to be enjoyed and to offer comfort, and we hate to hear of customers not getting what they deserve from their system. That’s why we’re here to talk about the more effective way to get more heat from your fireplace – upgrading to a gas insert.

Why Gas Inserts?

How to Make Your Fireplace or Appliance More Effective at Heating - Houston TX - Lords Chimney gasSo, why are gas inserts the way to go? Well, if you own a wood-burning fireplace, you’ve probably noticed that their open-style set up isn’t exactly ideal for warming up your living space. Like a fire pit, if you’re right on top of it, sure, you’ll get some heat… but once you back away, you’re left cold, uncomfortable, and frustrated.

A gas insert, on the other hand, is designed to radiate heat into your home and all without the use of a fan or any outside help. They also come with a remote that has a thermostat right on it, so controlling any temperature changes from the comfort of your couch or favorite chair won’t be an issue at all.

Curious about some other benefits of gas inserts? We’ve got the lowdown on it all:

  • They offer constant/consistent heat. No worrying about flames dying down or whether or not your wood logs will burn hot enough. Just set it to the temperature you want, sit back, and relax!
  • They come in a wide range of style and design options. Whether you’re looking for something sleek and modern or something more classic and traditional, we’re certain you’ll find something to love in no time.
  • There’s no mess involved. Wood-burning units invite a lot of mess. Between storing/hauling wood, cleaning up ash piles, and dealing with the occasional stray spark, you could find yourself with damaged or dirty belongings in no time. This isn’t the case with gas units!
  • No more creosote. No burning wood means no creosote buildup, so you won’t be investing in those chimney sweepings all the time. Annual inspections are still a must, though!
  • They’re easy to operate. Just flip the switch or push a button, and you’ve got heat. No building fires, no adding more logs, and no waiting for things to die down, either. Once you’re done for the evening, simply switch it off, and you’re all set.
  • You can easily lower your energy bills. Because gas inserts offer so much extra heat to your home, lowering those monthly energy bills shouldn’t be a problem whatsoever.

There’s no reason not to make the switch – give us a call today to get started!

We Sell Valor Radiant Gas Fireplace

How to Make Your Fireplace or Appliance More Effective at Heating - Houston TX - Lords Chimney valorLooking for more specifics on what products we offer here at Lords Chimney? Well, we only work with the best brands, which is why we’re happy to install a Valor Radiant Gas Fireplace into your home. We only recommend products we believe in, so you can trust that any model you choose will provide comfort and satisfaction for years to come.

Valor’s gas fireplaces are easy to customize, too, and we’d be happy to go through the different facing and front options with you. In the end, you’ll end up with an efficient, clean-burning appliance that you can enjoy season after season!

Not Ready to Make the Switch?

Like we said, gas inserts are the way to go when it comes to getting more heat from your fireplace. They’re a very worthwhile investment, helping you save time, money, and stress down the line, and we have a long list of customers who are completely satisfied with the models we’ve installed for them.

That said, if switching to a gas insert just isn’t in the stars for you right now, we get it. Maybe you don’t have the budget for it or maybe you’re one of those who believe the old-school ambiance of a crackling wood fire just can’t be beat. Well, while you won’t get the same heat you would from a gas insert, the good news is that there are still a few tricks that may help you get a bit more efficiency from your wood-burning system.

  • Only burn well-seasoned wood. Any wood you’re burning should have been dried out for at least 6 months and should have a moisture content of around 15 – 25%. The more water your fires have to burn through, the more energy they’ll waste, and the less heat you’ll end up with.
  • Use hardwoods as opposed to softwoods. Hardwoods are denser and have more British Thermal Units (BTUs) per piece of wood. This means you’ll get more heat and less smoke, guaranteeing a better (and hotter) experience overall. Maple, oak, and walnut are three of the best wood types you can burn.
  • Invest in regular maintenance. Annual inspections and regular sweepings are imperative to getting the most you can from your fireplace, no matter your set-up or fuel type. If your system becomes clogged or is damaged it will not perform as well – simple as that.
  • Have a fireback installed. Firebacks are iron or steel plates that can be installed in the back of the firebox to help radiate heat back into your living space.

Contact Us Today for Quality Care

Need chimney care? From installations to sweepings to restoration work and more, our experienced and certified crew would love be there for you through it all.

Give us a call or reach out online to get started!

Gas Inserts Offer Countless Benefits

Do you own a wood-burning fireplace, but aren’t loving the work and commitment required to operate it? There’s no denying a crackling fire enhances the atmosphere of your living space, especially when the weather is chillier, but if the effort of building and maintaining fire (plus all the clean-up afterwards) is putting a damper on your evenings, then it might be time to consider some updates.

One great option comes in the form of a gas fireplace insert. These units can be installed directly into your existing fireplace, leaving you with an easy and effective way to enhance your fireplace experience for many years to come.

Check out some of the many benefits of switching to a gas insert, then be sure to reach out to the team here at Lords Chimney with any questions or concerns. We’d love to help you out with it all!

Advantages of a Gas Fireplace Insert

Ready to reap the benefits of a gas insert? We don’t blame you – check out all you have to gain below.

  • Heightened Efficiency: You won’t be short on heat with a gas fireplace insert. With wood-burning units, you tend to lose a lot of heat up the fireplace, but not with gas inserts. You’ll have a lot more heat radiated into your living space, allowing you to really cozy up – and save on energy bills while you’re at it.
  • Great Ambiance: Gas fireplace inserts come in a wide range of styles, sizes, and designs, so you’re sure to find something you can love and that’s unique to your tastes and preferences.
  • Low Maintenance: Gas inserts are known for being easier to maintain. They don’t require you to scoop ash, haul wood, or build and maintain a fire. As long as you’re investing in those annual professional inspections, you should be good to go!
  • Easy to Operate: Not looking for much hassle at the end of a long day? With a gas insert, all you have to do is switch it on, and you’ve got a cozy aesthetic to relax in. No stress, no mess, and no extra work on your end!
  • Minimal Mess: With gas inserts, there’s no dealing with a messy ash pile, and there’s zero risk of stray sparks and embers flying off and damaging floors and furniture. Also, since it doesn’t burn wood, you won’t have to deal with creosote buildup, either.
  • Cleaner Burn: Inserts are known for burning cleaner and nowadays finding ones that meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards is never a problem. So, if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, this is a great option!

Invest in a Professional Installation

Are you known for your DIY skills? If you tend to be handy around the home, you may be wondering if installing a gas insert is something you can do without the help of a professional sweep.

This isn’t something we recommend. Inserts are often advertised as being easy to install, but that doesn’t mean this process shouldn’t be completed by a professional. There are gas lines that need to be handled, as well as various other factors that will likely come into play, and all of these things should be done by someone who has been trained and educated. DIY attempts can lead to some dangerous scenarios for you and your household.

And don’t forget to make sure your sweep is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified, too! This ensures they put in the time and effort to be the best they can be by studying a long list of materials and taking an extensive exam. This certification needs to be renewed every 3 years, too, so rest assured, your sweep will always be up-to-date on any new industry news or advancements.

Need Gas Logs?

Gas Inserts Offer Countless Benefits - Houston TX - Lords Chimney imageAt Lords Chimney, we sell Peterson Real Fyre gas logs. These logs are known for their versatility, and they pour much less pollutants into the air than real wood logs. Whatever your needs and preferences are, whether that’s natural gas, liquid propane, vent-free, or vented, we’re certain we can find the perfect choice for you! In fact, vented options come in over 40 different realistic-looking style options, so you’re certain to find the right fit for your home, no problem.

Don’t Wait to Reach Out

Here at Lords Chimney, we love setting homeowners up with the fireplace system they’ve been dreaming of. We’re home to Texas’s only CSIA Master Chimney Sweep, Lee Roff, we’re certified with National Fireplace Institute (NFI), and we’re members of National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG).

We pride ourselves on always putting your safety and satisfaction first, and we’re known for always staying on top of the latest techniques and technologies in the trade. Ask around or do an online search to see our reviews, and you’ll quickly realize that we’re highly esteemed throughout our service area. There’s no crew better to trust!

Whatever your gas fireplace or insert-related needs are, we want to help. We can even discuss options for installing one of these systems outdoors!

Give us a call or contact us online today, and we can get this process started. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Fire Safety & Maintenance

Keeping the focus on safety

Our clients’ safety is important to us, and at Lords Chimney, we want to do everything we can to help you minimize the possibility of fire hazards in or around your chimney system, from regular chimney maintenance to necessary repairs. That also includes helping you develop short-term and long-term fire safety plans that add up to a cleaner and better-performing system.

Maintenance Sets The Stage

peace of mind

This list of smart practices will help you continue using your heating appliance as safely as possible.

Every Time You Use Your Fireplace

Use the right fuel

Wet or green wood results in an increase in creosote in your flue, and more creosote means a bigger chance of creosote ignition. Use kiln-dried or seasoned firewood (or make sure you dry your own wood for at least a year before using it) — that helps you achieve the optimum small, hot fire, creating the lowest levels of creosote. Stay away from burning trash, Christmas trees, cardboard boxes or anything else that isn’t seasoned firewood, too — and never ever try to speed up lighting your fire by using any kind of flammable liquid.

Don’t leave your fire unattended

If you’re burning wood, it takes a while for the fire to thoroughly extinguish. Don’t leave a smoldering fire alone — if sparks or embers get out of the firebox or another problem arises, you need to be there to handle it.

Use a spark screen

Fireplace screens are affordable and useful — placed in front of the fire, they can create a barrier between flames/embers and your living area and the people and pets in it.

Keep things clean

Make sure you clean wood ash regularly, in the right way: Deposit ash in a metal bucket, and allow it to cool completely before disposing of it a safe distance away from your home. Whatever fuel you’re burning, keep the area around your fireplace or stove clean — keep a good distance between the appliance and anything flammable, from furniture and window coverings to decorative items.

new-year-chimney-sweeping-houston-tx-lords-chimney

Things You Should Schedule Annually

Chimney sweeping

Creosote will build up as you use your wood fireplace or stove, and it needs to be regularly removed from your flue for both safety and performance reasons. A cleaner flue is a safer and a more efficiently venting flue, and Lords Chimney can help.

Chimney inspections

If something goes wrong in your chimney system, you want to know about it — damaged parts and components can lead to leaks and water damage, dangerous carbon monoxide leaks and fire hazards. So keeping up with your recommended annual chimney inspection is important. 

If a cracked flue liner, third stage creosote or any other issue is limiting your chimney’s safety and efficiency, Lords Chimney can find the problem and suggest and complete the work necessary to fix it.

Don’t Forget About Your Dryer Vents!

We talk a lot about fire safety associated with fireplaces, stoves and chimneys, but your dryer vent needs your attention too. Lint-clogged dryer vents can become a serious fire hazard — according to estimates from the National Fire Protection Association, dryers or washing machines were involved in nearly 17,000 home fires in 2010, and the most prominent cause of those fires was a failure to clean.

As you use your dryer, lint slowly builds up along the ducts, and over time, that build-up can begin to constrict the vent. That blockage allows heat to build up, and since lint is extremely flammable, that heat can cause it to ignite.

Dryer Vent Cleaning - Before

Keeping your dryer vents clean limits that possibility — and Lords Chimney can help with dryer vent cleaning services.

If you have any questions about safer fireplace, stove and chimney practices – or dryer vents – Lords Chimney is always here to help. Just give us a call!

Basics of a Chimney Inspection

Chimney Inspections and What They Cover

It is highly recommended that homeowners have their chimneys inspected on an annual basis. Having a professional come in to look at the chimney is the best way to spot any potential hazards before they endanger the household. Before finding an inspector to do the job, it is important to understand exactly what should be included in an annual inspection.

Remember, it is necessary for all parts of the chimney to be in good working condition in order for it to function safely.

One of the first things that a chimney inspector will look at is the structural integrity of the chimney itself. Over time, a chimney can become damaged or weak, especially if there is excessive exposure to rain and snow. They will make sure that the actual structure is still strong and does not pose any risks to the rest of the home.

chimney inspection

Although it may seem that you could tell if there was a problem with your chimney, a certified sweep is trained to notice things you wouldn’t. Catching small issues can save lots of money in the long run and decrease any safety risks.

In addition to looking over the general structure of the chimney, the inspector will look at the individual parts. This will include an inspection of the flue liner and damper, among other important elements. They will be able to tell the homeowner whether any individual parts of their chimney require maintenance or repair.

A chimney inspector will be able to tell whether there is a buildup of creosote in the chimney. Creosote is the substance left behind after treated wood and coal have been used for making a fire in the fireplace. It can pose a number of different risks, including internal illness and irritations to the skin and eyes. It is also highly flammable, so a home with a buildup of the material is at a greater risk for a chimney fire than those who have it inspected and cleaned.

During a chimney inspection, there may also be evidence of material clogging the chimney. In many cases, this is the result of animals that have made their home in the flue. A clogged chimney is a serious problem because it prevents smoke and gas from exiting the home the way they are supposed to. As a result, a chimney fire could ignite or the family inside of the home could become ill when they are exposed to the gasses.

It takes specialized training and experience to properly and thoroughly inspect a chimney. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is the organization that trains and certifies all qualified chimney technicians. It is necessary to only use a CSIA certified inspector in order to get the most reliable results. The CSIA website offers a useful tool to help find a qualified technician in the area.

To some homeowners, a chimney inspection just seems like an extra chore and an unnecessary expense. However, an annual inspection is the only way to make sure that the chimney is in good working condition and not putting the home — or your family at risk. Be sure to use a chimney inspector who has been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America in order to get the best results.

The Importance of Summer Repairs & Maintenance

Summertime repairs and maintenance are an important part of chimney care, but it’s something homeowners tend to neglect or put on the back burner. Why is this? Well, many associate chimney care with fall and winter since that’s when their fireplace is typically put to more frequent use.

Lords Chimney - Before Repairs

Unfortunately, putting things off doesn’t always work out for the best.

What often happens is that once fall and the holiday season hit, everyone gets the idea to book chimney maintenance at the same time. This is why we, along with countless other chimney sweep companies, are at our busiest during the later months of the year – and getting that appointment scheduled at a time that’s both available and compatible with your calendar can be a challenge.

And we may come in for that annual inspection only to discover further repairs or maintenance is needed. We could detect high levels of creosote (which means a sweeping would be in order) or we might notice damaged parts or crumbling throughout the system.

Regardless, further appointments will need to be scheduled, putting you back right where you started – booking a slot in a season that is notoriously busy. And your fireplace shouldn’t be put to use until repairs are addressed.

Once cooler, rainier days come around in fall, we’re certain you’ll want to get those fires lit, so don’t put off the care you require any longer. Not to mention, those holiday gatherings come up quicker than you think! We’d hate to hear of get-togethers without that classic roaring fireplace going strong in the living room.

Call today to book an inspection with our team, so you’re all set and ready to go as soon as you’d like this fall. The CSIA-certified sweeps at Lords Chimney perform level 1, 2 and 3 inspections, ensuring you’re covered no matter what and can enter every season with the peace of mind you deserve.

Common Summertime Repairs

So, what are the more common summertime repairs we perform?

  • Tuckpointing: If your old mortar joints are crumbling, missing, or damaged, then tuckpointing services are in order. This is the process of removing that old mortar and replacing it with new, so your system looks great and is supported. And we’ll coordinate colors and material types to ensure your chimney looks polished and flawless at the end of it all.
  • Flashing Repair: The flashing is the piece of metal that covers the area where the roof and chimney meet up. This area is vulnerable to water leaks due to the roofing materials and chimney materials expanding and contracting at different rates. The flashing ensures none of that extra moisture can creep in, and it keeps both your home and your chimney a lot safer.
  • Crown Restoration: Your chimney crown is what sits on top of your chimney, and it helps to both keep water out of your flue and send water out and away from the sides of your chimney. Your crown is exposed to rain, sun, and curious critters, so it’s not uncommon for it to break down, especially if it wasn’t built from appropriate materials in the first place. We have the expertise needed to get yours in tip-top shape, so it stands strong for the long haul.
  • Chimney Cap Replacement: Your cap covers the flue opening to ensure water can’t simply go right down into your chimney and wreak havoc. Chimney caps also work to keep animals out, block downdrafts, stop outside debris from entering, and can even serve as spark arrestors. A strong, supportive cap is a must for any chimney, so be sure to invest in this affordable, worthwhile investment today Firebox Repairs/Rebuilds: The firebox is the area of your system that hosts the fire. It needs to be able to withstand the heat of your fireplace fires, and over time, even the most well-built firebox will face some wear and tear. Whether your unit is prefab or factory-built, this is one spot you don’t want compromised. Let us take a look soon.
  • Relining Work: There are three big jobs your liner completes – protecting your masonry from acidic fumes and heat, protecting your home from fires, and ensuring your system runs as efficiently as possible. We reline with both stainless steel liners and HeatShield®, ensuring you find the best possible fit for your unique needs.
  • And Don’t Forget a Sweeping!

It’s also not unusual for you to require a chimney sweeping in the summer to remove any harmful creosote that’s built up over the winter months. Creosote is highly flammable and it needs to be regularly removed or your chances of experiencing a chimney fire will increase significantly.

We can also remove animals and any nesting materials, so your system will be free of clogs and unwelcome critters. Then, we’ll cap it tightly to ensure nothing can work its way back in down the line.

Get Started by Reaching Out Today

Get on the right track for fall by investing in summer chimney maintenance now. Our sweeps are ready for your call! Dial 281-497-4000 to book your appointment.