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Common Fireplace FAQs

home fireplace faqs from Dubuque Fireplace IA

The following are some of the questions asked most frequently about fireplaces. You may find a quick answer to your fireplace question below:

Can I install a free-standing fireplace or fireplace insert myself?

Hearth products must be installed strictly according to manufacturer’s instructions as well as local or national building codes. Oftentimes, home insurance policies won’t cover damage related to any hearth product unless it was installed by a professional. For installation of a fireplace, our recommendation is that you schedule a factory-trained professional, such as the experts at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio.

Is it okay to partially close the damper in my fireplace so less of the heated air goes up the chimney?

No. When a wood-burning fireplace is in use, the damper must be fully opened. It is dangerous for smoke from a wood fire to enter your home because it contains toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide, which is known as the “Silent Killer.”

Why is my fireplace smoking?

There are actually many potential reasons a fireplace is smoky. When the venting system works properly, virtually all of the combustion gases go up the chimney. An exception can be if there is a smoldering fire, which is not recommended, especially with a traditional open fireplace. Contact a chimney professional, such as the experts at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio, who can determine why your fireplace is smoking and provide needed repairs.

How are gas fireplaces vented?

A gas fireplace or insert can be vented through a masonry chimney, though it’s usually necessary to install a new chimney flue. Most gas fireplaces and inserts installed are direct vent (DV) appliances. A DV system can travel horizontally through an exterior wall or vertically through the roof, depending on your preference or the location you choose for the gas fireplace. The air used by the fireplace is outside air that comes through a coaxial pipe. Combustible gases are eliminated through a smaller pipe, which protects indoor air quality. A fixed glass front seals off the firebox and gas burner.

Electric fireplace dubuque fireplace IAIs it expensive to operate an electric fireplace?

The average cost of electricity used to run an electric fireplace is estimated to be two cents per hour. If you shut off central heating when heating your room with an electric fireplace, it could help you cut energy costs by as much as 50 percent or more.

How much heat is produced by gas logs?

Gas logs provide radiant heat in the hearth area. You can increase their capacity for heating by adding glass doors. Gas logs in a direct vent fireplace insert maximizes heat output.

Can a wood, gas, or pellet fireplace be used for heating if the power is out?

You can use your wood or gas fireplace during a power outage. Pellet fireplaces, however, require a small amount of electricity to operate. If you prepare for loss of electricity by obtaining a backup power supply for the pellet fireplace, you can keep the warm fires burning.

What is a “zero clearance” fireplace?

“Zero clearance” means that the fireplace can safely be installed next to combustible materials. A professional should install the fireplace, to be sure manufacturer’s instructions as well as state and federal building codes are complied with. Please Note: Zero clearance fireplaces need a minimum of 48 inches free and clear of combustible materials at the front of the fireplace.

Who can answer any other questions I have?

As a resident in or around Dubuque, Iowa, feel free to call Dubuque Fireplace & Patio at (563) 582-5156 with any questions you may have about your fireplace or chimney.

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