Month: September 2020

Converting from wood logs to a gas fireplace: a primer

It’s finally fall! 2020 has been the most insane year in memory, but that cool air is coming to usher in everyone’s favorite season. Do you have the items you need to make your home warm when the temperature drops? Have you been stocking up on wood logs for your fireplace?

If you want to switch things up this year and convert your fireplace to gas. Southern Chimneys can help you make the switch.

Southern Chimneys Can Help You Make the Gas Log Switch

This is the time of year Southern Chimneys gets a lot of requests to convert wood fireplaces to gas and we can understand why. Gas fireplaces are less mess, less worry, and can be used year-round. People claim they heat the room up better too. Gas fireplaces release fewer allergens into your home and fewer pollutants into the environment. You know that creosote gunk we often talk about cleaning? That comes from burning wood!

Southern Chimneys and Peterson Gas Logs

Southern Chimneys can come help you install gas logs. We use Peterson Gas Logs, the “cleanest, most economical, most convenient alternative to burning real wood”. These vented gas logs can be installed in your current, functioning, wood-burning fireplace. We’ll run the lines and install a gas line if needed. We’ll also determine just the right size log for your fireplace. They’ll look great in your home as all Peterson Gas Logs are crafted to look just like real wood, so you can maintain the fireplace appearance you’re used to. And, you get to use a remote control to turn on your fireplace and control the flame size, height, and strength, so there’s that extra bit of coolness.

If you want to go over all your gas-log options, give Southern Chimneys a call. We can help you determine which type of fireplace would be best for your home and get it all ready before things get too far along into the burn season!

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Do I Really Need to Clean the Chimney…Again?

The air conditioner cover is on, the furnace filter has been changed…now what am I forgetting? Ah, that’s right. Get the chimney sweep done. Do I really need to sweep the chimney this year?

I use a gas fireplace. I don’t need to get it swept…right?

Gas fireplaces are a great convenience as they can be started and stopped quickly and the cleanup is minimal. However, a gas fireplace still has a firewall and as the system functions similar to a heating system, problems can occur such as:

  • Cracking in the firewalls and/or liner
  • Buildup of debris
  • Cracked chimney crown
  • Deteriorated masonry and joints
  • Blockage in the ventilation

What if I don’t even use the fireplace?

There are homeowners that use the fireplace as a decoration and never turn it on. It may not need to be swept as often however it is best to have a certified technician inspect the structure annually so that you know it is ready for use when you do want to turn it on. Here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Cracks and deteriorated firewalls, masonry and joints
  • Chimney liners are not properly sized and installed causing moisture to enter your home
  • Pests and nests love unused fireplaces
  • Nature’s garbage can cause build-up of debris

I don’t use the wood burning fireplace often…just a couple times per year.

If you burn wood in your fireplace 1 or 100 times, tar and creosote accumulate and cling to the inside of the chimney. Creosote is a byproduct of wood combustion and found in the smoke of the open flame. Once it mixes with cold air and water, it solidifies and gets stuck to the chimney liner. If the chimney liner is poorly fitted, or you don’t have one, the creosote sticks to the brick itself.

What’s Next…

Whether you have a gas, woodburning or don’t even use the fireplace, a 14-point chimney inspection with photo documentation will always be done by a certified technician. What this means for you is that each of our professional technicians have earned the CSIA’s Chimney Safety Institute of America’s credentials. You can feel safe and secure knowing that our technicians have the continued education and knowledge for maintaining and evaluating a chimney and ventilation system.

Get Fall off to a cozy start with a Superior Chimney 14-point inspection with photo documentation completed by one of our CSIA certified technicians. Call us today for an appointment at 877-244-6349

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6 Chimney Maintenance Tips for a Stronger & Longer-Lasting Chimney

Chimney Inspections In Prairie Village, KSGetting the most out of your chimney requires periodic maintenance. Some of this maintenance should be done by a licensed chimney professional; other tasks are ones you can easily take care of yourself. Let’s look at six important maintenance activities for your chimney.

Inspect the chimney’s bricks and mortar

Damaged chimneys leave signs. You can do a visual inspection of your chimney’s masonry and spot early signs of trouble so it can get fixed fast. Look for:

Crumbling mortar on the roof near the chimney


Cracks in the bricks or mortar

Loose bricks

White staining on the masonry (could point to a chimney leak)

A tilt in the chimney

Inspect the chimney’s components

Damaged components can allow water to get into the chimney system. You should periodically check:

Chimney cap – make sure the mesh isn’t torn and the cap is sealed tightly to the top of your chimney.

Chimney crown – look for cracks or decay in the cement.

Flashing – if the flashing that seals the gap between your roof and chimney is warped or rusted out, water can flow down into the house.

Fireplace damper – it should work without a lot of squeaks and should open completely and close fully.

Chimney Inspection In Lenexa, KSInspect the firebox

People use their fireplaces all the time but often don’t really look at them. Start your firebox inspection by removing all the ashes and soot. Check for bricks that are loose or cracked. Feel for dampness on the surfaces. You can use this time to clean smoke and soot stains from the perimeter of the firebox opening.

Watch for chimney leaks

A variety of events can cause a chimney to leak. You can’t always prevent things like lightning strikes, pounding hail, and earthquakes, but you can stay on top of leaks and get them fixed quickly.


The most common leaky chimney signs for the average homeowner to watch for include:

Water in the firebox

White stains on the exterior masonry (as noted above)

Strong, musty odors coming from the fireplace

Damp sections of the walls or ceiling adjacent to the chimney and fireplace

Make sure smoke detectors and CO monitors are working

Smoke detectors alert you to smoke. Carbon monoxide monitors alert you to the presence of this deadly gas within the smoke. Replace batteries in these devices once a year and test them several times a year.

Have your chimney cleaned and inspected

Annual chimney sweeping and chimney inspections are critical parts of smart maintenance. Chimney sweeps use electric scrubbers, brushes, cleaning solvents, and industrial vacuums to remove flammable creosote and drafting obstructions from your chimney flue.

Licensed chimney inspectors will alert you to early signs of damage and malfunction so you can resolve the problem before an extensive – and expensive – repair issue unfolds. Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected once a year.

As you’ve probably figured out, the key to a safe, efficient, and long-lasting chimney is staying on top of necessary maintenance and fixing problems as early as possible. The tips outlined here will help.

Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, provides CSIA-certified chimney sweeping, chimney inspections, and all levels of chimney repair and rebuilding services. Trust our experts to do it right the first time. Arrange an appointment or get your questions answered at (913) 236-7141.


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Use this resource to prepare your chimney for fall!

It’s hard to care about your chimney and fireplace when summer is still raging on outdoors. Weather aside, fall is still coming and soon you’ll be needing to use that chimney and you might not have it ready!

What do you need to do to prepare your chimney for the cold season?

Keeping your chimney and fireplace clean and protected now will lead to a successful heating experience in the fall and winter.

Here’s what you need to do with your chimney during the dog days of summer:

  • Clean the hearth
    We hear it all the time: people forget to sweep and dust their hearth, meaning it can be full of ash. Yuck. You don’t want that lying around, being breathed in. Time to get to cleaning. You’re going to want to wear gloves and old clothes because this job gets dirty! Scoop out the ashes with an ash shovel. Use a small broom and dustpan to sweep out the rest. Next, you’re going to want to use your favorite gentle cleaner and scrubber to get the creosote up and give everything a final wipe off and vacuum.
  • Close the damper tight
    If you’re not closing your damper tight there is essentially a hole in your house letting cool air out!
  • Turn off pilot light (gas)
    If you’re using a gas fireplace, you should know if you have a standing pilot light and make sure it’s been out for the summer.
  • Replace the decorations!
    If that fireplace was just sitting there going unused, you may have used that space to decorate. Move the plants from around the hearth and get ready for your chimney to host stockings and nutcrackers instead.
  • Call Southern Chimneys to remove creosote
    Before giving those hands and knees too much of a workout, you honestly probably won’t be able to get all that creosote out that’s been storing up all winter. Even if you do, you certainly won’t be able to get aaaall up in it. That’s when you need to give a professional chimney service like Southern Chimneys a call.
  • Call Southern Chimneys to check or install a chimney cap
    It’s always a very wet summer in the southeast. Chimney caps keep out things like moisture and animals that can wind up in your chimney at summertime.

Consider making end-of-summer the time for your yearly chimney inspection!

It’s always smart to get a jump on things and schedule your chimney and fireplace work and inspections long before the weather cools down. Now’s the time to clean up, decorate, and get things inspected so you can enjoy your living room, clean and safe, all year long.

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5 Things Chimney Sweeps Look at when Examining Your Chimney

When you have a certified professional chimney sweep look over your chimney during an annual inspection, you’re going to get a thorough understanding of your chimney’s condition and details on any repair work that might be necessary.

Chimney sweeps with certifications through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) have advanced knowledge of chimney systems and inspects for venting sufficiency, structural soundness, and the integrity of a chimney’s components.

Here are five key areas your chimney sweep will closely examine during a chimney inspection.

Chimney Structure Repair Services In Shawnee, KSThe chimney structure

The bricks and mortar that make up your chimney structure must be undamaged and put together correctly in order for it to operate safely. Chimney sweeps are careful to look for signs of cracking in the masonry, crumbling mortar joints, loose bricks, and evidence of water infiltration.

A proper chimney inspection will also check for a leaning or unstable chimney, which could be the result of brick damage, a badly built chimney footing, and other causes.

Safe clearance

Chimney sweeps ensure that the heat and toxic gases created during combustion are properly vented and will not touch or affect any vulnerable materials of your home adjacent to the chimney/fireplace. Damage to fireplace bricks and internal flue damage can allow flames, acidic substances, and dangerous gases to move into the house.

Integrity of components

Part of a professional chimney examination is checking components. Chimney crowns, caps, flashing, dampers, and other devices all serve to help the chimney operate safely and efficiently. When these components are rusted, broken, cracked, or warped, the result could be a serious water leak, which can cause widespread damage to the chimney system and the home.

Creosote buildup in the flue

Creosote is a flammable substance created when wood fires are burned. Smoke condenses in the flue and forms a sticky, flakey, or solid substance that is the cause of most chimney fires in the U.S. each year. The longer you use your fireplace without having your chimney cleaned, the more creosote you’re going to be dealing with.

In addition to the danger of fire, creosote also can damage the chimney liner and other internal parts and areas of the chimney due to its high acid content.

Obstructions in the flue

Professional Chimney Sweeps in Leawood, KSA final key area chimney sweeps examine is the ability of your chimney flue to draft smoke. When you operate your chimney with no chimney cap or one that is old and damaged, a variety of obstructions can get in and hinder drafting.

Common obstructions that chimney sweeps remove from flues include leaves, twigs, falling fruit, and other tree debris. Additionally, squirrels, birds, and other small animals love to build nests in chimneys during the off-season. This nesting material narrows the smoke passage. Animals who die inside the chimney unable to escape add to the problem.

Chimney cleaning services

Professional chimney inspections along with chimney sweep services performed once a year will ensure that your chimney is working properly and safely. Chimney cleaning is the #1 way to prevent dangerous chimney fires and drafting issues that could send deadly carbon monoxide into your home.

If it’s been more than a year since you had a certified chimney sweep take a look at your chimney, we’re ready to help. Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, provides expert chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, and chimney repairs. Get the solutions you need by calling (913) 236-7141.

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Thinking of Converting from Wood to Gas?

Here’s what you need to know

Even though Labor Day has passed, it is still summer! You might be starting to think about installing a new fireplace or upgrading your old wood-burning fireplace. If you are, a gas fireplace is an excellent option to choose from. Fireplaces are known to add value to your home, and gas fireplaces can provide your home with heat during the winter at a fuel-efficient cost and with a stylish ambiance.

Our goal is to inform you of everything you need to know to choose the right gas fireplace and understand the process.

Why A Gas Fireplace?

convert from wood to gasEfficiency

First and foremost, a gas fireplace has a huge advantage over a wood-burning one because of its energy-efficient nature. Wood fires generally convert about 10 to 30 percent of the fuel’s energy into heat, whereas a gas fireplace converts 75 to 99 percent of a fuel’s energy into heat for your home.

Ease of Use

A gas fireplace is far easier than a wood-burning one to start, maintain, and use. There are no logs to split, carry, take up space, and season. Fires in a gas fireplace do not need to be tended to and fed with more logs and won’t die out if you leave it alone like a wood fire.

Unlike with a wood fire, there is no cleaning ashes or smells of smoke wafting into your home.

Gas fireplaces can be lit with the push of a button on your thermostat or with a remote control. You can also adjust them and put them out with the use of your thermostat.

Heat Output

Because your wall thermostat can control the gas fire, you can also adjust the heat output. If it’s too hot, you can easily adjust the flame to your liking. The same goes if it’s too cold. The thermostat will even maintain the temperature setting for you and adjust the fire accordingly.

Additionally, if you choose a gas fireplace with fixed glass panels and a direct-vent firebox, you can ensure heat doesn’t escape up the flue as it does with a wood fire. This translates to even more heat output when you need it and a greater degree of fuel efficiency.

gas insertStyle

This comes down to personal choice. You make like the classic look of a traditional fireplace with wood logs. But if you are after a sleek, modern look, then a glass-enclosed gas fireplace may be exactly what you are looking for.

Fireplace Options

If you have decided on installing a gas fireplace, there’s still another step to consider: what kind do you want? There are many different types and styles, each of which has something to offer your home.

Inserts (Vented or Direct Vent)

Inserts are fireplace sets within a metal box that can be installed in an existing fireplace. Access to gas and electric lines must be drilled and then hooked up to the box. The box is then inserted into the fireplace.

Gas fireplaces don’t produce any smoke or odors, but – as with any fire – they still produce dangerous and toxic byproducts. A vented, also known as a direct vent, fireplace is the safest method of getting pollutants such as carbon monoxide out of your home.

Some units have blower options that take the cool air from inside your house, draw it into a separate chamber with a built-in fan, warmed, and then the heated air is blown back into the room along with the radiant heat produced by the fireplace.

Vent-Free (or Ventless)

Ventless fireplaces draw combustion air directly from your room, heat that air, and then send it back out along with the fumes. The exhaust fumes are a serious disadvantage to ventless gas fireplaces, and no flue or other pipe is directing the fumes out of your home.

These types of fireplaces can be up to 99% fuel efficient because most of the heat stays inside the home, but because possible pollutants in the air are a concern, they are tuned to run very cleanly and are limited to 40,000 British Thermal Units (BTU). Meaning they cannot produce as much heat as other fireplaces.

These fireplaces come equipped with an oxygen sensor to automatically shut off if the oxygen in a room drops below a safe threshold. California and some U.S. cities have banned vent-free fireplaces.

Log Sets

Gas log sets are the best gas option if you like the look of a traditional wood-burning fireplace. After the gas lines have been run, a grate and ceramic logs are placed on the firebox floor.  Log sets available today come in all different styles to match the decor.  Media kits are available from river rock, coal, glass beads, to charred oak or birch.

The one drawback is most of the heat created by one of these units is lost because your chimney damper must always remain open so that the fumes can escape your home. Because of this, log sets should be treated as decorative home design choices and not as an option for serious wintertime heating.

Final Considerations

A gas fireplace can be fueled by natural gas or propane. Natural gas is more efficient, but propane can be used if there’s no gas available.  A plumber will need to be consulted about running gas lines to the fireplace and making the unit’s final connection.

Some fireplaces use pilot lights to get your fire started while others us electronic ignition systems. Electronic ignition systems require a battery backup unit to start a fire in a power outage event. At the same time, pilot lights run continuously and can cost you a small amount each month on your energy bill.

We hope this helps you to make an informed decision about gas fireplaces. Please feel free to call us at 1-617-781-893-6611 to discuss your concerns or questions or schedule visit now!

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The 5 Signs of a Chimney Water Leak

The 5 Signs of a Chimney Water Leak by Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

After many days of rain, I spent time last night dining outside at a local restaurant. Even though it was a bit chilly, it felt great getting some fresh air. As all of our tables were ‘socially distant’, my ears are always aware of interesting conversations around me. The one that caught my attention was the conversation about a stain that formed on the corner ceiling and wall in their family room.

I listened to the person’s thoroughness of trying to uncover the source of the problem. I heard how they cleaned out the gutters, and checked for any missing roofing tiles. Nothing. They called out a roofer to inspect for any problems with the roofing system. Nothing. What didn’t they do? Consider the chimney.

Many people forget that the tallest point on the home is most vulnerable to the elements outside. This past week is a perfect example. The chimney experienced constant rain, high winds, and a drastic change in temperature. That’s a perfect storm for water leaks in a chimney.

Water leaks can appear in many different forms. Here are the top 5:

  1. Water stains, discoloration, visible leaks and moisture on the walls or ceilings around the chimney
  2. Musty odor coming from the fireplace especially after the rains
  3. Hearing the drips of water coming into the chimney, some slow, some much faster
  4. Water or condensation inside of the fireplace
  5. Problems with the interior or exterior masonry such as cracks or spalling

If any of these experiences are currently happening in and/or around your fireplace, then you need to call Superior Chimney to get that fixed right away.

But Wait! I Don’t Use the Fireplace, or It Hasn’t Been Turned On Yet!

Even though you don’t use the fireplace, or you have a gas fireplace, the elements outside are still active. Rain, snow, hail, wind and temperature change are constantly in motion causing deterioration to the chimney. That’s why it’s important to have the chimney checked each year. As part of the 14-point inspection, a certified technician will carefully check the interior and exterior chimney condition.

Some of the points we’re looking at outside that are the most common causes of water leaks are:

The certified technician will take pictures of the chimney outside. We use these pictures to explain what we look for and inform you of any findings. Once we’re done, we will email the pictures to you for your own personal records.


It’s important to remember…chimneys are an integral part of your home, and most home heating systems, with lots of different parts making up their structure. Keep it in good working order by having the chimney 14-point inspection done each year. This way you’ll never need to worry about me listening in on your conversation.

Contact Superior Chimney for a 14-point inspection and chimney sweep at 877-244-6349.

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What’s the Difference between Chimney Rebuilding & Tuckpointing?

The chimney services industry has a lot of unique terminologies, as most industries do. One area of confusion for some homeowners is the difference between chimney rebuilding and chimney tuckpointing. Both operations are performed to restore strength and integrity to your chimney system, but each one has different reasons for being recommended by your chimney sweep or inspector.

Chimney masonry repair in Mission Hills KSWhat is chimney rebuilding?

Chimney rebuilding can mean:

Rebuilding damaged sections of bricks and mortar

Rebuilding the stack above the roof or the breast below the roof

Rebuilding the entire chimney

When is chimney rebuilding necessary?

Any time your chimney structure is weakened or compromised, some level of rebuilding may be necessary.


Many things can damage a chimney’s bricks and mortar including but not limited to:

Chimney fires


Leaky chimneys

Freeze/thaw cycles

Frequency of fireplace use

Lightning strikes

An improperly built chimney footing

Pounding hail storms

Year after a year of extreme weather temperatures

Old age that leads to brick and mortar decay

Lack of maintenance including annual inspections and chimney sweeping

Lightning, hail, and severe hot and cold temperatures typically affect only the chimney stack. The other causes listed can affect any area within the chimney structure or the entire structure.

Tuckpointing or repointing

Unlike chimney rebuilding, tuckpointing focuses on just the mortar joints that hold the chimney’s bricks together. The mortar that has started to crumble must be addressed before serious structural compromise happens.

Tuckpointing involves scraping away old, decayed mortar and replacing it with a fresh new compound. It doesn’t require disassembling and then reassembling the chimney or sections of it.

When performed by an experienced chimney sweep or chimney services professional, tuckpointing will restore your chimney’s strength and give it more years of life and performance.

Start with a certified chimney inspection

All chimney industry organizations recommend yearly chimney inspections.

When performed by a CSIA-certified technician, a chimney inspection will tell you:

If damage exists

Why the damage happened

Exactly where the damage is located

The extent of the damage

What will be needed to resolve the problem

Significant structural damage to a chimney typically requires some level of rebuilding to make the chimney safe again. Tuckpointing is a valuable service when the main issue with your chimney is crumbling and decaying mortar.

Chimney Repair In Overland Park, KSBy scheduling regular inspections, chimney sweeping, and maintenance services, you stand a better chance of avoiding major work on your chimney structure in the future.

Chimney repairs

Good chimney maintenance includes timely repairs. For example, early signs of cracking in the bricks or mortar, damage to the cement chimney crown, warped or missing flashing, and leaks anywhere within the system should be addressed quickly. Minor damage to a chimney isn’t difficult or expensive to have repaired. By resolving leaky chimney issues, you prevent widespread water damage to the chimney and possibly the home.


By repairing cracks in the structure, you keep the cracks from enlarging and destroying large sections of the chimney. By keeping your chimney clean and free of creosote, a byproduct of wood fires, you safeguard the inside of your flue and prevent damage from the acids in creosote as well as disastrous chimney fires. If your chimney is damaged – or if you suspect it may be – call Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS. We provide licensed chimney rebuilding, tuckpointing, chimney repairs, chimney inspections, and chimney cleaning. Reach an expert at (913) 236-7141.

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