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Three Common Fireplace Myths

Here are three myths about fireplaces.  Don’t believe them.


1.        Burning pine or other softwoods will cause creosote to accumulate in your chimney.


Because pine contains flammable resin, from which turpentine is made, people have long believed that when the resin burns it deposits creosote in the flue.  Research conducted at the University of Georgia laid this myth to rest:  creosote deposits form when fires burn at lower temperatures.  Good hot fires made with seasoned hardwoods or softwoods consume the creosote so it can’t build up.


2.       You don’t need to have your chimney inspected or cleaned if you don’t use it often.


Chimneys can develop dangerous conditions, especially if they don’t have chimney caps to keep rain and animals out.  The acid content in rain can attack the mortar joints between sections of flue tile, making it possible for fire to escape into the wooden structure of the home.  Animals can build nests, or leaves can accumulate, restricting the flow of exhaust gases up the chimney.   Chimney sweeps have tools, such as remote controlled tv cameras, that can spot problems the homeowner would never detect.  Play it safe and have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year.


3.       Fireplaces don’t give off much heat.


While it’s true that much of the heat from a fireplace goes up the chimney, a good fire warms the fireplace’s brick structure, which radiates heat into the room for a long time after the fire goes out.  A quality fireback can send even more heat into the room.  Cast iron firebacks store heat that radiates back into the room over time.  Stainless steel firebacks reflect heat into the room but don’t store or radiate much heat.  A fireplace will raise the temperature of a room, unless the room is drafty.

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