Is Your Fireplace Not Giving Enough Heat?

After the holidays and the excitement of a new year settles down, the rest of the winter can feel a bit like a marathon…even here in Houston! However, the chillier weather is good for one thing: unwinding in front of the fireplace with a hot beverage in hand. …but what happens when your fireplace no longer warms the room like it used to? Is it now relegated to be but a decorative relic forever – beautiful and eye-catching, but functionally useless?

Fortunately, this is not the case. In fact, there are quite a few ways to bring back the heat you’ve been missing.

Read on to learn more about how you can boost your fireplace’s efficiency and heat production? Have specific questions that can’t wait? Lords Chimney is here to help. Reach us online by filling out this appointment request form, or give us a call at 855-504-0005.

What Are the Most Common Reasons a Fireplace Isn’t Giving Enough Heat?

That’s a great question – and a pretty crucial one to determine your best approach moving forward. In general, fireplaces and chimney systems can be relatively finicky, and because so much of how and why they operate happens out of sight, it can be tough to determine the cause of a heat production issue. For example, the problem might be in the quality of fuel you’re using, or it could be something with your appliance/structure itself. 

That being said, here are some of the most common reasons why a fireplace is not heating well:

  • There could be a significant buildup of creosote or other debris creating a blockage that makes it much harder for the combustion fumes to escape
  • You might be using unseasoned wood or other materials not intended to be burned in a fireplace
  • Your damper might be faulty and is inhibiting proper airflow
  • The logs could have been stacked incorrectly 
  • Your flue liner might have tears or holes

And while these might be some of the more common reasons your fireplace is not performing the way you’d like or how it once did, they are not the only. It’s important to get in touch with a professional to come and troubleshoot your issues as soon as you notice them. Operating an appliance that is behaving strangely or differently than normal could leave you at risk for numerous dangers, like carbon monoxide exposure or chimney fires.

What Are Some Simple Ways To Improve My Fireplace’s Efficiency?

Ah, yes…the fun part! Just because your fireplace might not be heating the way you’d like right now does not mean you have to bid it farewell. Quite the opposite, actually! An inefficient fireplace might be a nuisance at first, but it can also be a great excuse to re-think your space and what you’re looking to get out of your hearth. While there are some simple things you can try, if all else fails, think of this irritation as a new opportunity to increase the heat and the vibes in your living space. 

Here are some tips that you can try to increase your fireplace’s heat output:

  • Ensure your damper is open and you have adequate airflow. With the pace at which life moves these days, in some ways it’s a wonder that more people don’t forget to check their damper before lighting a fire. This piece of your system is vital in ensuring that the airflow is balanced between the outdoors and the inside of your home.
  • Only burn properly seasoned wood…and make sure it is stacked properly too. Did you know both the “what” and the “how” of the wood you burn matters a great deal in the quality, efficiency, and overall performance of combustion? Not only do you need to make sure you’re only ever using adequately dried (seasoned) timber, but you also should take care to stack your logs from biggest at the bottom to the smallest at the top, so the fire burns accordingly.
  • Have a glass covering or doors installed. A double-whammy! Adding a glass piece to the front of your fireplace (usually available as doors) is an excellent way to both increase the heat production and radiant warmth, while adding a stunning look to the room too.
  • Switch up your fuel type. If you’re currently using wood as a fuel source, perhaps it’s time to consider converting to gas. While it’ll never be able to replace wood in terms of overall ambience, gas is known to be more efficient in heat production. Plus, it’s a lot easier to operate and maintain.
  • Upgrade to an insert. Along similar lines, if you’re interested in really changing things up, while still keeping most of the integrity from your original design, you could look into upgrading to an insert. Available in a handful of different fuel types, inserts are one of the best ways to breathe new life into a tired, old, and drafty fireplace.
original infographic stating 5 tips to improve fireplace heat output

For Excellent Hearth Care in the Greater Houston Area, Trust Lords Chimney

While the tips above certainly give you some things to try and a lot to think about when it comes to an inefficient fireplace, nothing replaces a professional eye’s once-over. The single most important thing you can do for your fireplace system is to stay on top of those preventative maintenance services like chimney sweepings and inspections. When performed on a regular, annual basis, these tasks can help keep you informed, as well as troubleshoot any potential problematic areas before they become an issue.

To learn more about how to make your Houston home’s fireplace heat better or for anything else hearth-related schedule an appointment with Lords Chimney. We’re here to make your home as castle-like as possible. Reach us through our website, or by calling 855-504-0005 – we can’t wait to serve you.

Why Do I Need a Chimney Company?

So, you have a fireplace, but it doesn’t get much use. You use it once or twice a year (maybe on a colder day or around the holidays), but other than that it mainly serves as an attractive focal point in your home. Because of this, it shouldn’t need much professional care or maintenance. …right?

Wrong! In fact, believe it or not, refraining from using your fireplace typically causes it to deteriorate more quickly than if you use it on a regular basis.

lords pickup work truck

Like a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or other appliance, your fireplace needs regular attention, no matter how often it’s used. This especially goes for metal prefabricated fireplaces. Learn more below, and be sure to reach out with any questions! We’d love to do all we can to help you out.

Preventing Damages

Think of your fireplace like a car. If you let a car sit in your driveway for years on end without ever starting it up or taking it on a drive, would you expect it to work perfectly when you eventually try to drive it again? Not likely. Fluids likely will have pooled, your battery will probably be dead, and there’s sure to be weather-related wear and tear.

Water Leak Colors are Key

The same goes for your fireplace. Rust and warpage will occur more than usual during long periods of unuse, along with countless moisture-related damages, such as mold growth, deterioration, decay, stains, and more.

What happens when we experience another freeze or you just feel like starting a cozy fire after these issues have occurred? Like the car that was left abandoned, the system is simply not going to function correctly. In fact, you may experience dangers such as smoke and fume backup, an increased risk of house fire, exposure to harmful gases, and more.

Saving Money Long Term

When we come in to inspect your chimney, we’ll look for things like holes, gaps, signs of animal life, warpage, rust, and more. If we can spot and resolve these issues while they’re still small and manageable, the lifespan of your fireplace could be extended significantly.

We’ll also look for parts that need replacing. Some things, like the chimney cap, are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace if spotted in time. That said, if you ignore a broken cap, your system will be exposed to harmful things (like storms, rain, curious animals, and more) that cause a lot more damage overall.

In the end, purchasing a new chimney cap to ensure your system stays protected is a lot cheaper than investing in a time-consuming and costly rebuild or relining job. And the sooner we can react, the better shape your system will stay in, thus preserving resale value and ensuring you can use it when you need to.

Avoiding Unwanted Visitors

Critters in your fireplace? This means something is wrong up top. Animals should never have easy access to your fireplace, and once they get in they can cause a lot of damage. Along with this, animals that are unable to escape may pass away, leaving you with an even bigger mess on your hands.

Another problem has to do with bird’s nesting materials. If birds set up camp in your chimney (an ideal spot for them), the twigs, leaves, and materials that make up their nests can clog things up and affect airflow. A system that cannot properly vent doesn’t do anyone any good. Be sure to get a sweep in to look things over so you can avoid those uninvited guests – especially this time of year.

Assisting in Insurance Claims

If your chimney was damaged due to a natural disaster like a lightning strike, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, or something similar, your insurance company should be covering the costs to repair it. Unfortunately, they often look for ways around this.

If you have no records on your fireplace, then your insurance company could easily deny your claim stating that there’s no proof the damage caused was due to the event that had just occurred.

That said, if you have a report from your chimney company showing that at the last yearly inspection your system was just fine, getting that money you need for repairs, restorations, and replacement parts won’t be such a challenge.

Ease the Home-Buying Process

Before buying a home, we strongly advise getting a video inspection. This ensures you don’t get caught with big repairs after you finalize the sale.

Home inspectors will tell you if you should have it cleaned or have something looked into, but there’s no way for them to gauge just how extensive certain damage can be. All too often people sign the papers on their dream home, only to realize later that they’re now responsible for thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

Also, keep in mind that if you bought a house and no one has ever used the fireplace, there’s typically a reason for that. The previous homeowner may have used it once only to have something go wrong and never use it again. And if you see freshly painted brick? There are likely smoke stains underneath.

In the end, getting that level 2 inspection done is always worth the peace of mind you gain in the end.

Give Us a Holler

The big takeaway from all of this? If you want to use your fireplace at all – even once – you need an inspection. Even if the system is brand new or rarely used, an inspection is vital. Professional insight can make all the difference when it comes to how safely and efficiently your system operates down the line.

Anything specific you need covered? Send us a message! We’d be happy to answer any and all of your questions. You can reach out to us through our website, give us a call, or even follow us on Facebook or Youtube. It’s Lords Chimney’s goal to keep you as up to date and informed as possible!

Trust the Best With Your Fireplace & Chimney

As a homeowner, there are lots of things around your home, both inside and outside, that need to be regularly maintained. And let’s face it – it’s easy to get so overloaded with household to-do lists that sometimes some of the most important places get overlooked.

We’ve noticed that fireplaces and chimneys tend to get thrown into this overlooked category since they are only used for a portion of the year. Sound all too familiar? Well, don’t burn yourself out figuring out how you’ll fit in yet another job. Simply give our experts a call to handle it all!

Chimney Inspections & Sweepings

Annual chimney inspections are essential when it comes to keeping your system standing strong for the long haul. All kinds of hidden dangers could be lurking and putting your home at risk, and it takes the trained eyes of a pro to spot and resolve them. Oftentimes, what homeowners think of as no big deal (even something as seemingly minor as a broken tile or brick) are actually quite dangerous.

Trust the Best With Your Fireplace & Chimney - Houston TX - Lords Chimney bricksWhen it comes to chimneys, the sooner any issues are spotted and addressed, the better. If there is a crack, it will only continue to grow. If mold shows up, it will only spread. If things aren’t heating correctly, this will only continue, costing you more to operate the appliance and putting your home at risk.

That’s why we urge all of our customers to book inspections at least once per year and always before kicking off your burning season. During these, our sweeps will look for any flaws, build-up, and imperfections, and then suggest any further maintenance, like sweepings or repairs, as necessary.

And what’s the importance of a chimney sweeping? To start, they remove any build up, excess debris, and creosote, which is the main cause of chimney fires. And apart from being fire hazards, blockages can lead to smoke in your home, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a lack of efficiency.

Repair & Restoration Services

Now, chimney sweepings and inspections are an important part of chimney maintenance, but they’re still just only one part of the equation. That’s why we offer a wide range of chimney, masonry, and venting services and repairs, all of which allow us to better serve our customers and meet all of their chimney and fireplace needs.

If your fireplace or chimney is worn down after years of use, we can help restore it to its former glory. Our fireplace restoration services can fix every part of your chimney, from the chimney cap at the top to the firebox at the bottom. Some of our many services include tuckpointing, leaky chimney repairs, chimney pressure washing, relining services, wildlife removal, troubleshooting, and even replacements or facelifts.

Not sure where you stand or what you need? Give us a call! We’d be happy to answer your questions and get you where you need to be.

Need Dryer Vent Services?

In addition to our chimney services, we can also clean dryer vents, as well as assist with installation and re-routing. Even if you regularly clean your lint trap, lint will still accumulate in your dryer vents and hoses over time, which can then create clogs and fire hazards. In fact, dryer-related issues cause thousands of house fires every single year. This one service well worth investing in.

Clean dryer vents can also help your dryer run more efficiently, wasting less energy and resulting in dryer clothes after each load. This saves you money month to month, and keeps your dryer and clothes from experiencing excess wear, too.

We’re Trusted Throughout Houston

At Lord’s Chimney, we have been proudly providing the greater Houston area with chimney, fireplace, masonry, and vent services for years. If you’re experiencing chimney issues, there’s no better crew to trust!

Trust the Best With Your Fireplace & Chimney - Houston TX - Lords Chimney certificationsWhy do so many turn to us time and time again? Well, for one thing, we make education a priority. We’re certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), and maintain a long list of certifications, associations, awards, and 5-star reviews. One look at our credentials and it’s clear – we take what we do seriously!

In the end, when you hire a sweep for your chimney inspections, sweepings, and more, you deserve to work with someone you can trust. If your sweep is associated with reputable organizations, experienced, and has a strong relationship with the community it serves, these are all solid signs that they’ll have your back throughout it all. When you hire us, we’ll treat you and your fireplace with respect!

Keep Your Home Safer By Working With Us

A clean and well-maintained chimney and fireplace doesn’t just help with efficiency… it also ensures your home stays a safer place to live season after season. Stay out of harm’s way by reaching out to our highly trained and qualified staff today. When you work with Lords Chimney, you work with the best!

Tell Me About Firebox Replacement

Look closely and pay attention to the signs that say your firebox needs a replacement.

Look closely and pay attention to the signs that say your firebox needs a replacement.

Before we talk about firebox replacement , let’s get into what a firebox is. When you stack up your wood and build your fire in your fireplace, the area that’s holding that fire — fittingly, shaped a lot like a box — is what we refer to as the firebox.

Whether you have a masonry or factory-built fireplace, that firebox was made with materials that were designed to hold up to years of high heat (and since the firebox really does bear the brunt of the heat of your fire, they need to be built that way). Masonry fireboxes are constructed out of firebrick, and those firebricks are made with a refractory material that’s highly resilient when exposed to extreme temperatures. Factory-built or prefabricated fireplaces are largely built out of metal, but the firebox itself is bolstered by refractory panels on the bottom and sides — which also offer that durability and strength when faced with the high temperatures of repeated fires.

Why Would I Need To Replace A Firebox?

As strong as fireboxes are designed to be, over time, it’s not unusual for damage to occur. The type of damage will differ, depending on your individual use, circumstances, the firebox’s construction and other factors, but we see a few common problems.

Masonry fireboxes

Sometimes masonry fireboxes weren’t built correctly (with older ones, it’s not uncommon to see non-refractory mortar that just isn’t equipped to last under that abuse). Sometimes leaky chimneys allow water to get into the firebox, and as moisture combines with creosote, acids start to wear at the masonry — particularly the joints. If the damage is serious, you may notice it as you go to build a fire. But more likely, it’ll take professional eyes to see a problem in your firebox — and firebox problems can quickly become fire hazards, so that underlines why annual chimney inspections are so important.

Factory-built fireboxes

Most often, firebox refractory panels just begin to wear and abrade, and cracks start to develop either in the panel itself or around the joints between panels. A good rule of thumb is generally to seek repairs or replacement when cracks reach the thickness of a nickel.

The repair approach will depend, too, on the individual circumstances of the firebox and its damage, and Lords Chimney technicians will fully inspect yours to recommend the best course of action. Sometimes refractory panels can be replaced to repair a factory-built firebox. Sometimes the firebox has reached the end of its service life, and the unit needs to be replaced. We may be able to repair damaged mortar joints in a masonry firebox, or it may need to be rebuilt. But rest assured, when you have Lords Chimney come out to take care of your firebox problem, your fireplace will get the attention it needs, and you’ll get back the heating appliance you love, returned to the levels of performance and safety you expect.

If you have any questions about fireboxes — or your firebox, specifically — we’re always here to help. Just give Lords Chimney a call!