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Chimney Physics 101

When you own a home with a masonry chimney and fireplace, it is a good idea to understand how it works so that when problems arise, you may have an easier time troubleshooting what is wrong. One of the most common chimney issues has to do with smoke blowing back into your home. It may surprise you to learn that the air in your home is in constant motion. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), it can help you to think of your house as a system, and several different things in this system, including your fireplace, can affect the airflow.

For over 25 years, Atlas Chimney has provided superior professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services to the Austin area. We love teaching our customers about the physics that help chimneys work efficiently. We would like to tell you more about how your chimney works and what you should know about it.


How can I make the draft work best in my chimney?chimney hidden behind trees


In order to produce enough draft to pull the exhaust gases out of your chimney, you need the right amount of heat from the fireplace. The hot gases produced by fire is more boyant that cold air, causing it to rise out the chimney. This is known as the stack effect. The hotter the fire burns, the stronger your chimney draft will be. This difference in air pressure pushes out the exhaust gases as it pulls combustion air into your fireplace. Another factor that affects how much draft you have is the height of the chimney. Taller chimneys will have stronger drafts.


What are the most commonly experienced chimney draft problems?


At Atlas Chimney, we often get calls from our customers asking for help with their smoky fireplaces and chimneys. Often these issues are due to poor drafting. A weak chimney draft can be caused by flue blockages, stuck dampers, construction errors, damage to the structure, and dirty chimney caps. Our CSIA-certified chimney professionals have been trained on exactly where to look to diagnose draft problems. After we inspect your chimney, we will recommend the action that is needed to correct the draft and flow.

Understanding the physics of your chimney can help you to enjoy warmer and safer fires this winter. If you have any chimney draft issues, contact us today at Atlas Chimney to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney inspection services.

What Does a Storm Collar Do?

Keeping water out of your chimney is a very important task for homeowners. This is because of the amount of damage that can be caused by water penetration, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). To be successful with this task, you have several options of preventative measures to take that can protect your chimney from water damage. One of these options is a customized flashing system. This keeps water from entering at the point where the chimney meets the roof.

If you have a prefabricated chimney, your flashing system should include a storm collar. This is similar to a chimney cap on a masonry chimney. If you live in the Austin area, Atlas Chimney specializes in protecting both masonry and prefabricated chimneys from water penetration damage. We offer several preventive services, including professional storm collar and customized flashing installation. Now, we would like to tell you more about the importance of storm collars.

What is a storm collar?

A prefabricated chimney is different from a masonry chimney because it exhausts through a metal pipe instead of a masonry structure. A storm collar is a circular piece of metal that fits on the round pipe of a prefabricated chimney just above the flashing system. It serves the important purpose of keeping water from rain and melted ice and snow from being able to enter through the opening where the pipe comes out of the flashing system.

How do I know if I need a new storm collar?

Unfortunately, even the most durable storm collars do not last forever. Over years of exposure to the elements, they can suffer from corrosion damage which can lead to the metal cracking and breaking apart. This can create gaps that allow water to enter your home. You may notice water in your attic or even see water stains on the ceiling by the fireplace. These are both signs that your storm collar should be replaced by a professional chimney technician.

Why do I need a chimney professional to install my storm collar?

A storm collar should be professionally installed. This ensures it will provide the proper protection needed to keep water out of your chimney. You can trust Atlas Chimney to correctly position the collar onto the pipe before screwing it into place. We will also waterproof the upper edge of the collar with sealant. That way water cannot leak in between the collar and the chimney pipe.

A storm collar can protect your prefabricated chimney from water leaks. Contact us today at Atlas Chimney to schedule an appointment for our professional chimney collar installation services!

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