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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the temperature range needed to apply the following items?
Seal Tight/Energy Top Adhesive:
Seal Tight/Energy Top Adhesive:
Leg Kits are available for all single-flue caps. They attach to the set screws on the cap and protrude down into the flue. Not secure in high winds.
A minimum of 5” of screen height is a pretty good rule of thumb.
Chimney top dampers come with masonry anchors for attaching the bracket to a masonry firebox wall. For metal fireboxes, pick up a “tap and die” kit, found at hardware and automotive stores, and drill and thread the hole. Then use screws to attach the bracket.
Sometimes, during a chimney fire, the stainless steel springs supporting the lid may fail. This causes the lid to close and smoke to back up into the home. The Chimney Fire Safety Device has a lead device that melts, releasing metal legs which support the lid in an open position.
The Energy Top relies on a special stainless support springs. As an added safety feature the extra strong lid is constructed of aluminum, which during extreme chimney fire temperatures, would melt before the support springs would fail. This ensures the smoke is able to safely escape through the top of the flue. This assures operation of the damper without regard to a previous installer failing to include a safety device.
Q: How long does the customer have to wait after installation before using their top sealing damper?
The adhesive must cure for at least 24 hours in the closed position before opening.
The Exhausto Fan is equipped with a dial control which allows a variation of settings to obtain the proper draft. It also allows the fan to be run on a minimal setting during the warmer months of the year, exhausting damp odors from the flue. It uses about as much electricity as a candescent light bulb.
The motor is sealed and requires no maintenance. The fan blades are attached to the lid and, along with the screen, need to be cleaned periodically. The lid attaches to the base and opens easily on a hinge. This also moves the fan lid and blades out of the way for cleaning.
Insulation is required when the liner is listed with it. Usually, this is dependant on the type of fuel being burned. In wood and coal burning applications, insulation is always required for a UL Listing. For oil and gas, insulation is usually not required. Check the specific liner installation instructions for the type of insulation and installation requirements.
Q: How soon can my customer use their chimney after I’ve installed TherMix insulation around their liner?
A chimney liner insulated with TherMix insulation may be used after the installation is complete as long as flue gas temperatures do not exceed 1000º F during the first 48 hours of actual use.
Along with the proper type of ceramic blanket you will need Super 77 Spray Adhesive, Foil Tape, ProMesh Wire Mesh and a Make-A-Clamp Kit to complete most insulation requirements. Consult the liner manufacturer’s installation instructions for specifics.
Each appliance has its own listing requirements and clearances are a part of the listing. Consult the appliance manufacturer.
The Flashing is packaged without the Storm Collar so remember to order this separately. Chimney lengths may be ordered with a Galvalume, Stainless Steel or Black outer wall. When using a Round Ceiling Support, a Round or Square Trim Collar must be ordered separately. On exterior Tee Support installations, a Wall Strap must be used every 8 feet. When using Wall Thimble, remember to order the appropriate length of Insulated DuraTech to pass through the thimble, extending at least 6" into the room. Also, remember to order the Finishing Collar and either the Snap-Lock or DVL Adaptor to transition to black stovepipe. If Elbows are used in an installation, an Elbow Strap must be used between the offset and return Elbows. When using the Round Ceiling Support, Square Support Box or Cathedral Support, the Snap-Lock Adaptor must be used to transition to single-wall black stovepipe. When using double-wall DVL DuraVent Stovepipe, a DVL Adaptor must be used. When using a Roof Support, remember to order the Roof Support Trim, Finishing Collar and either the Snap-Lock or DVL Adaptor to transition to black stovepipe.
Q: What’s the best product to use to remove smoke stains on brick above the fireplace opening and glass doors?
Speedy White cleaner
The Skamol Panels have been tested by Omni Labs to the UL 127 standard and found to meet the thermal and strength requirements as an aftermarket replacement panel.
Skamol Panels can be cut with ordinary wood-working tools.
ChimneySaver® Brick & Mortar Cleaner. This concentrated cleaner works well for masonry surfaces excluding limestone.
White Off Gas Fireplace Cleaner does a great job with minimal effort.
It is important to not exceed a maximum application thickness greater than ¼". This type of product is an air-dry and heat-cure mortar. If it’s applied greater than ¼" it won’t dry out and will either crack or when heat is applied the moisture will turn to steam, causing a blistering affect.
Q: I saw a chimney crown that was actually lifted off the top of the chimney. Rows of bricks below it were missing the facing. What causes this?
This is caused by the lack of a gap between the flue tile and the chimney crown. Often, when crowns are mortared right next to a tile, the crown may lift when the tile is heated and expands. This lets moisture in and can result in freeze/thaw damage. The best way to remedy this situation is to replace the crown and rebuild the top rows of spalled brick. And, fill the gap with a high temp silicone exterior rated or a product approved for this use.
Efflorescence is white mineral salts that are deposited on the exterior of the chimney caused when moisture wicks through the mortar joints. This moisture can be in the form of a missing chimney cap, missing or damaged mortar joints, porous brick or a gas appliance being vented directly into the chimney. ChimneySaver® Brick & Mortar Cleaner may help to remove some of the stain; otherwise a mixture of muriatic acid and water usually cleans it up. Muriatic acid is usually a last result because it can etch the brick and special precautions must be used when applying it. Sometimes, the efflorescence can be brushed off or cleaned with water and a stiff brush. If the brick or mortar joints are porous, treating the chimney with ChimneySaver® Water Repellent and repairing the joints with Crack Magik®, often preserves the chimney and eliminates complete replacement.
This can usually be solved by installing a Vacustack® cap. However, the problem must be qualified to make sure that it is only the wind being blown down the flue that causes this problem. Usually, the harder the wind blows the worse the problem is. The Vacustack® works by actually creating an updraft due to the way the wind hits the cap.
Q: My customer’s fireplace/stove smokes when the wind blows from a particular direction. What causes this and how can I fix it?
This is a pressure issue that’s caused when the wind hits the side of the house that the fireplace/stove is located on. For instance, the fireplace/stove is located on the wall of the north end of the house. When the wind blows from the house it hits the north side (high pressure side) and circles around the house. On the south side, there’s a negative pressure area which acts as a suction pulling smoke or cold air down the flue. On this side of the house the doors will be hard to open or shut. This can usually be proven by opening a window on the windward side (north). If this is the case, an Air Supply Ventilator may solve the case.
Q: My customer’s fireplace smokes until they get it going. Then when the fire dies down it starts smoking again. What causes this and how can I fix it?
This often happens with a fireplace that’s located on the outside wall of a home. Cold air can usually be felt coming into the home through the fireplace damper. In this instance, the flue usually needs to be pre-warmed. This can be accomplished with a newspaper rolled up, lit, and held near an open damper. A hair dryer is another way to start warm air moving up the flue. Wax firebricks, Gelled Fire Starter, or Firestarter Blocks also help to warm up the flue with little smoke. Another option is installing an Exhausto® Fan which ensures draft on start-up as well as avoiding smoke when the fire dies down and everything cools again.
Q: My customer complains that their fireplace burns fine and then all of a sudden it starts to smoke back into the room. What’s happening and how can I fix it?
This is usually caused by insufficient oxygen. A fireplace can use the combined air leaks of a 36" circle. Older homes that haven’t been sided, have original leaky windows, and have poor insulation may have this combined “combustion air” available. Modern homes or homes with siding, house wrap, insulation, tight windows and doors only have a combined air leak of 8" which is the size of a dinner plate. That’s not enough for the average fireplace. Other factors that can cause this problem are down-flow kitchen range vents, air exhaust appliances kicking on and installed house vacuums in use. Use of these appliances may need to be discontinued while the fireplace is in use. Also, air should be introduced and sometimes one or more Air Supply Ventilator may be enough to supplement the fireplace. The air requirement can be tested by cracking a window open and gradually opening it to the point where the fireplace stops smoking. An Exhausto® Fan may also be installed. If properly adjusted, it shouldn’t use any more air than when the fireplace is drafting correctly. However, be cautious that it doesn’t remove combustion air that another appliance, such as a furnace or water heater, need to function properly.
A constantly smoking fireplace is usually indicative of a construction issue. The flue should be approximately 1/10th of the fireplace opening. If it’s much smaller, it could cause the fireplace to smoke. A Smoke Guard, installed at the top width of the fireplace opening, may cut down on the opening enough to correct the flue to fireplace ratio. Another instance where the Smoke Guard may help is if the damper is too close to the fireplace opening or if the fireplace is taller than it is wide.
Sometimes, a top sealing damper reduces the flue opening enough to cause an otherwise working fireplace to smoke. Installing a Smoke Guard may remedy the situation.
Our Seal Tight Damper® can allow up to 15% more airflow than other similar dampers. The Energy Top® opens as much as 81% higher than the competition ensuring it’s less restrictive than competitive dampers.
If a cap has insufficient screen height or if the draft is marginal it could cause the fireplace to smoke. A good rule of thumb is that the lid of the cap should be a minimum of 5” taller than the tallest flue tile. Sometimes, when multiple flues are present, a basement stove or fireplace will pull smoke or a smoky smell down into the basement. Usually, only cold air was pulled down previously. With a cap in place, it captures the smoke long enough for the smoke or smell to be present. For a fireplace, a Seal Tight® Damper might fit under the cap. This tight sealing damper usually solves the problem.
Cre-Away® is a powder that can be applied through the woodstove or fireplace by the homeowner. However, for a severe situation such as this, a professional application is usually required. Cre-Away® is a four-component powder that has a dehydrator that helps to dry out the creosote so it can be easily removed by sweeping. It also has a fire suppressant which helps to reduce the chance of a chimney fire during treatment. It may take multiple applications and cleaning but this is the best way to remove this type of creosote.
Q: My customer has hard, baked on glazed creosote. My flat-wire brush won’t even budge it. What can I do?
Several products are available for use depending on the severity of the glaze:
Chemical Removal: If a few small spots are evident, using Stage 2 or Anti-Creosote (ACS) every day for a couple of weeks may be enough to loosen the creosote so a follow-up cleaning could remove it. If the glaze is more severe, or if you have concerns about a possible chimney fire, then Stage 3 or Cre-Away may be needed. Stage 3 is sprayed in the flue and allowed to dry. It may take several applications for removal. Cre-Away should be professionally applied to ensure even coating of the glaze. Since it includes a fire inhibitor, careful burning can be continued while it’s working. Follow-up cleaning may remove the glaze or it may take multiple applications.
Mechanical Removal: If the creosote build-up is ¼" or less the Stinger Whip or Wizard may be used. These devices attach to special rods which, in turn, attach to a drill. They spin around and scrub the creosote via abrasion from the cables. If more than ¼" or more of build-up is present, the Chain Whip or Glaze Removal Chains are more effective.
Q: My customer has a chimney that continues to leak. I put on a new cap, fixed the crown, replaced the flashing and they are still having problems. What is causing this?
Moisture could be coming from a gas appliance vented into the flue. Check to see if this is the cause. If it is, it needs to have a liner or a special vent installed. When a chimney has porous brick or weak mortar joints deterioration starts to take place when water enters the chimney. If this moisture freezes it expands and can damage the mortar joints or cause the brick face to fall off (spalling). ChimneySaver® is a water repellent that repels moisture yet still lets moisture escape through the chimney (vapor permeable). In case of overspray, the area must be cleansed immediately with a strong solution of dish soap and water. Use caution because this will likely create a slippery roof.
Q: My customer loved the ChimneySaver. It stopped the chimney from leaking. Can I use it on their driveway and walkway to preserve it?
The best product is MasonrySaver®. Damage and stains to driveways, walkways, patios and concrete surfaces surrounding pools can be prevented. It is more resistant to salts often found on these surfaces. It will also repel water borne stains and grime, keeping the surface cleaner. It won’t alter the surface color.
Q: My customer has leaky flashing. They can’t afford a complete replacement right now. How can I fix it?
Damaged or deteriorated flashing can lead to a damaged roof deck or interior finishes. Often, the chimney structure is accused of causing the problem. FlashSeal® stops flashing leaks around chimneys, stacks and vents. It’s a two-fold repair system with FlashSeal® Elastomeric Sealant being applied first to the chimney and roof. Reinforcement Fabric is then applied over the FlashSeal®, then a second coat of FlashSeal® is applied, sandwiching the Reinforcement Fabric in the middle. When properly installed, it solves the problem and carries a 7 year warranty.
Q: My customer’s appliance repairman recommended they get their dryer vent cleaned. When I did my initial inspection I saw moisture stains on the ceiling. Is this something I should be concerned about?
If there are moisture stains on ceilings or walls it’s likely that the dryer vent may have separated. The stains don’t even have to be exactly at the separation but are usually in the near vicinity. The Noise Maker is a great tool to use to identify this type of situation. It attaches to the ButtonLok® Dryer Vent Rods, then to the Dryer Vent Drill Adaptor into your drill. The Noise Maker can pinpoint the separation location – the noise will stop. This is very helpfully when needing to cut into a wall or ceiling to repair the vent.
Q: My customer’s appliance repairman recommended they get their dryer vent cleaned because they thing the vent is clogged. How can I break through the clog without damaging the vent?
A clogged dryer vent can extend drying time as well causing exhaust products to back up into the home. The Dryer Vent Diagnostic Tools can be used to identify a blockage. Once determined, the Blockage Removal Tool helps to remove bird’s nest or hardened lint clogs. It attaches to Buttonlock® Dryer Vent Rods, which in turn attach to a drill with the Dryer Vent Drill Adaptor. The Noise Maker is very useful in pinpointing the location of the clog.