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Do You Need A New Stove?

I have had some customers ask if they needed a new stove.  Apparently some other sweeps in attempting to upsell have told them their stove was “worn out”.  Well in each case the stove was not rusty, nothing was broken, no refractory bricks missing, baffle in place, door gasket was almost new.  No they did not need a new stove, the person was simply attempting to make a sale.  Yes the stove was an older model, yes there are far better and more efficient stoves available today and yes it would be a good idea for them to upgrade.. but do not tell them their stove is worn out.  There are many older stoves in use today that are still in good condition and installed in a fully code compliant way.   Here is one in photo.. is it good or not?

Is that system installed correctly?

Is your wood burning system installed correctly?

Well it has worked for 25 years with no problem you say!!

Well that is not what I actually asked, is it to code?   Well it has been installed for 25 years you say again!!

Well there are many systems which were homeowner installed and simply not done right!  Often times used with no problems until a code inspection is required by their insurance company.  Yes a WETT inspection is a code inspection.

What are common problems?

Well one is the stove being too close to the wall.   Often a heat shield will remedy the problem and make the system code compliant for that problem.  Many times the data plate on rear shows clearances, and if a certified appliance it always will.  It is surprising how many times the homeowner will ask if something has changed making this necessary, however simply showing them a photograph of the data plate which is on the stove and which has been there since the stove was manufactured will clarify that it simply was not installed properly.

Another which is a bit more tricky is a corner install where the stove was never certified for a corner install.  I had one in Tiny Township installed by the manufacturer themselves, which was corner installed and not certified.  I called the manufacturer, a local one, who said they had spoken with the certification lab and received measurements (which were apparently the same as the rear distance).  The problem was that even this clearance was not met in the installation!!  An interesting problem for the customer.

Yet another is the lack of adequate ember pad in the front of wood stove.  Which can often be fixed, although not without some additional cost.

Or if a fireplace insert the hearth extension is almost never adequate.. and even some older fireplaces do not meet hearth extension requirements.

Ceiling height may be another, and may be because of a raised floor area, angled ceiling at wall or simply a low ceiling.  It is fairly safe to say if you have an 8 foot ceiling over the entire stove you are okay with height above stove – and a 7 foot ceiling for certified stoves.  ( assuming of course ceiling is flat to wall in all directions)

However above ceiling height, being okay for stove, may not have clearances for stove pipes!   Especially if single wall pipe, but also I have seen double wall which were too close to the wall in some cases.

Another one is chimneys in second floor which are not enclosed, chimneys not adequate height above roof surface or chimney clearances to combustibles.

Fireplaces can have damper problems, as mentioned hearth extension problems, clearances to combustible mantle or trim, refractory bricks, chimney tiles, etc.

Stove pipes are often missing fasteners at joints, may be installed upside down, have too many elbows or be too long a run for single wall pipe.    Stove pipes may be rusted and have even holes through them (obvious by tiny rust spots generally).

Stoves may be missing firebricks completely.

Flashing may be incorrectly installed, missing storm collar or have missing or bad caulking.

The list is long and Interestingly every one of the items listed have been found in stoves or fireplaces in the Midland, Orillia and Wasaga Beach area!!

Worse.  Many of these have been found where a WETT Inspection had been done already and I was there to perform a cleaning!

The missing fasteners, missing firebricks and holes in stove pipe was an Orillia cleaning – Home Inspector had inspected stove and stated it was okay.

A defective flue pipe which would not seal and allowed smoke to enter premise was a call from Penetanguishene resident – home had been inspected by Home Inspector and found to be okay.

A system with a totally outdated and unacceptable chimney was in Port McNicoll – I did not clean and did not charge customer.  Home Inspector had said it was fine but needed cleaning.  Was an old factory built fireplace with galvanized chimney system.

One in Thunder Beach which Home Inspector had said chimney needed some masonry work – but was only maintenance – was correct on that part but entire fireplace needed work – damper was broken and smoke chamber had serious work needed as well (camera pointed out defects to customer).

Several across Tiny, Tay, Orillia, Muskoka — chimney is too short and does not meet code.  This can sometimes be an easy fix with an added section, other times much more work.

Get peace of mind – have your system performed by somebody who can do a Level 2 inspection and will clean at same time if needed.  ( a level 2 inspection will always include a chimney camera as part of the job )

Chimney Installation

Sometimes chimneys simply need to be replaced.   Sometimes too old and no longer acceptable materials.  Sometimes needs to be raised and parts are no longer available.  There are a few reasons, but when it is being  done you want somebody who is WETT Certified to do the work!

This particular one was water access, but we do work on islands, rivers, lakes or mainland.  If you need help with your chimney we can help.

Galvanized Chimney

This particular one had some surprises when opened up!!  When shingles and flashing were removed the chimney was within 1/4 inch of the woodend roof deck on each side.. the hole was less than half an inch wider than chimney diameter!!  Chimneys need a minimum of two inches on all sides to combustibles.  The ceiling support was no better.  So job became a little bigger than expected, but that happens.  The important thing was the work was complete properly and customer is satisfied.

Woodstove Installation Tiny Beaches

Woodstove Installation in Tiny Beaches area.

Customer loves their woodstove!

Purchased locally in Midland, and heats their home in a much more efficient manner than their previous stove.  Uses much less wood than before!!   Chimney had to be supported to roof at same time as install to ensure all was code compliant.

Moving a chimney!

Yes that is right .. moving a chimney.   Something we did today for a home that had sold and was not code compliant.  Actually the chimney clearances were not the only problem, but they were all addressed as well.  

Moving a chimney is not the easiest job in the world, however it is possible with the right tools and experience.

Now having said that this is a Factory Built, stainless steel chimney and not a brick or stone masonry one.  The masonry ones are much more difficult and much more than a days work, even a very long day.  The masonry chimneys are much more closely attached and integrated into the structure of the home than is a factory built chimney.  

If you are buying a home, have recently bought one or just want peace of mind – call today to have your system inspected.  We love to help and want to provide peace of mind!

Best Vacuum For Chimney Sweep

Vacuum cleaners are important to a Chimney Sweep. My goal is to keep your place clean and to leave with it as clean as it was when I arrived.

Now that sometimes can be a challenge and requires drop cloths, sometimes several of them. It also requires methods to block as much dust in the chimney as possible, generally by blocking off area of entrance but this can vary depending on if fireplace, woodstove, insert, etc.. and also vary by chimney type and other factors.

But also an important tool is the dust collector. To accomplish this we use the best we can find, yes we have the traditional Chimney Sweep RoVac with HEPA filter and dust control bag. But we also use a Makita VC4710 with dust control bag and HEPA filter. The Makita is not as powerful, but still a very capable vacuum and is better suited to go onto boats and island work or into tight locations. We also use the Dust Deputy Deluxe Separator, which keeps the dust or at least most of it from even getting to the vacuum cleaner!! On top of that we have long hoses, and generally try to keep the vacuum itself outdoors.

There really is nothing more one can do to control dust, dirt and other nasty things that can come out of your chimney. Yes these are expensive vacuums, and some of the best in the industry, but there is a reason we use them and that reason is YOU.

Who to hire for a stove install?

Well a tough question for sure as there are many who claim to do it.

Just did a sweep out New Lowell way and the install was obviously not done by anybody who was WETT Certified.  There are reasons to hire a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep for all your stove need!  Why?  Well they are the most advanced and highly trained individuals with WETT Certifications.

Yes there are Certified Technicians, but they have only a week of education, the same as a SITE Basic Installer!  Yes they should know codes, but that is about it.  But at least look for a Certified Technician as the minimum and no less!

So the heat shield silliness continues!

Just had a customer in Tiny who had asked a woodstove installer from Midland how to install a heat shield.  This individual apparently sells wood stoves!  Does he know the code and rules?  I would say yes.  But he does not clearly know material names.

He told the individual to use resilient channel, which he did.  But resilient channel is only 1/2″ of clearance.

Code states 7/8″ is required!!  Oops..

What you need is called Furring Channel which does provide the 7/8″ clearances.  So if in question get furring channel.. and measure it to ensure it is 7/8″ and you won’t have to do it over.

There were some other problems with dimensions of heat shield as well, which he had to make wider; if you don’t know the rules please save yourself time and simply ask.

What is a Rumford Fireplace?

Well a Rumford fireplace.  To put it simple the most wonderful fireplace in existence!   An amazing fireplace actually and there are a couple of masons who are able to build amazing fireplaces of the Rumford design.  I sweep a few and can get you in contact with customers where you may be able to view them.

What makes them different?  What makes them special?  Well a Rumford fireplaces is quite tall and the hearth is much more shallow than a typical fireplace, a design that allows it to reflect more heat into the room.  Design wise they also have a very streamlined throat, reducing the air turbulence normally present in a smoke chamber, allowing them to remove less heat from the room as the smoke exists.   The Rumford fireplace originated in the 18th century and were quite commonly used as heating appliances at that time.   Rumford worked hard designing better fireplaces, ones that would efficiently radiate heat into the room.

Modern fireplaces are built for aesthetics alone without any concern for efficiency or even for the amount of air drawn out of the room.  The Rumford can fix this, although getting the local Building Inspector officials onboard is sometimes challenging.