How Chimney Fans Work

How chimney fans work

Chimney fans work by employing mechanical venting to overcome fireplace and chimney gravity drafting deficits. When they are turned on, chimney fans, attached atop the chimneys, create a partial vacuum in chimneys . Exhaust gases from the wood or gas fireplace rush into that vacuum and flow up the chimney and out the sides of the vents in the fan.

Difference Between Gravity Venting and Mechanical Venting

Open-fired hearing appliances like fireplaces can be vented by gravity venting or mechanical venting.

Gravity venting is also called natural venting. To create a draft, gravity venting uses the difference in gravity of cold vs. warm air. The disadvantages of gravity venting alone is that it is very sensitive to indoor and outdoor temperatures, barometric pressure, wind, and airflow obstructions within and around the chimney and house.

Mechanical venting uses a fan or blower in-line or at the termination point to create a proper draft. The mechanical venting can overcome any problems of gravity venting and can adapt to changing conditions such as exterior winds or temperatures. An Exhausto – Enervex chimney fan is a powerful type of mechanical venting.

How Chimney Fans Work

 how chimney fans work - Enervex chimney fan parts

A chimney fan is installed on the top of the chimney, over the flue. It is wired to the home’s 110 volt electrical system and managed by use of a variable speed control that is like a dimmer switch. The switch is normally installed close to the fireplace so its operator and see the results of the adjustments he or she makes. When the fan is turned on, it lowers the air pressure in the chimney, creating a partial vacuum. The exhaust gases rush into the vacuum and flow out of the vents in the sides of the fan.

The homeowner can regulate the ‘pull’ of the fan by adjusting the variable speed control switch. This clever feature allows one to make the flames burn higher or lower, at will, by regulating the speed of the fan.

The chimney fan, by the way, also serves as a chimney cap, keeping rain and snow out of the chimney. The screen sides prevent critters such as birds, squirrels, and raccoons from entering your home via the chimney and fireplace.

Due to the wiring required, we recommend chimney fans be installed by a licensed electrician.

What Fireplaces Are Compatible with Chimney Fans

Now that you know how chimney fans work, is your particular fireplace and chimney compatible with the use of a chimney fan?

Chimney fans will work on the following types of fireplaces and chimneys:

  • Wood-fired fireplaces with single or multiple flue;
  • Gas-fired fireplaces with single or multiple flues or with dampers;
  • Wood stoves and fireplace inserts;
  • Single or multiple-sided fireplaces;
  • Outdoor fireplaces; and
  • Pizza ovens.


Enervex Chimney Fans are Guaranteed to Work!

Enervex Chimney Fans come with a six-month money-back guarantee. If one does not solve your chimney draft problem, you can return it within six months and receive a complete refund. In addition, the Enervex Chimney Fans have a ten-year warranty against corrosion and a two-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

Hide Fireplace TV for Christmas

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas or incorporate existing mirrors or art work.

What to do with the television above the fireplace, or other existing wall decorations, when you decorate for Christmas.

You’ve put a good deal of thought into the selection and placement of your wide-screen TV, mirror or other artwork over the fireplace mantel. As Christmas approaches, you don’t really want to have to take it down to have a holiday-inspired mantel. Instead, here’s how to camouflage or transform existing above-the-fireplace televisions, mirrors and artwork to incorporate them into your Christmas decorating scheme. Add a layer instead of removing the existing TV, mirror or wall art above the mantel.

How to Hide Fireplace TV for Christmas Decorating

You have two options here: camouflage the TV so it becomes part of your Christmas decor and becomes unusable for the holidays or (more popular) camouflage the TV only when it is not in use.

For the first option, cover the over-the mantel television in Christmas wrapping paper and add ribbons and a bow. Cluster other wrapped gifts and Christmas balls on the mantel, and your holiday fireplace is ready for everything except watching TV.

Hide TV for Christmas with gift wrap and bow.

Hide TV for Christmas. Photo credit foodlaughterandhappilyeverafter


The second option is to hide fireplace TV for Christmas as a gift wrapped present, but in a way that allows you to “unwrap” it for television viewing.  Add Velcro to the back edges of the TV and to the ends of a large piece of burlap or other holiday themed fabric. Staple or sew the ribbon and bow onto the fabric. To hide fireplace TV for Christmas, cover the television with the fabric, attaching it with the Velcro.

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas with a removable Christmas wrap.

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas with a removable Christmas wrap. Photo credit Sand & Sisal.


When it’s time to watch TV, simply un-Velcro one side of the fabric and roll it. (That makes it easier to reattach than completely removing it from the television altogether.)

How to hide fireplace TV for Christmas but still watch it

Unwrap for television viewing. Photo credit Sand & Sisal.


How to Incorporate Existing Fireplace Mirrors into Christmas Decorating

Removable vinyl decals with Christmas quotes and designs are sure to match your holiday spirit and your existing home decor. Use one of these quotes on your existing fireplace mirror.

Select a quote that speaks to you, in a font style that enhances the look you are going for, and in a color that respects the mirror’s frame as well as your holiday decorating colors.


Vinyl Christmas decal on existing fireplace mirror.

Joy to the World decal on fireplace mirror. Photo credit antsi-pants.

Note how the red echos the red in the lanterns and candles.

Repurpose existing fireplace mirror for Christmas decorating

Re-purpose existing mantel mirror with removable vinyl Christmas decal. Photo credit makeit-loveit.

Th black lettering matches the mirror frame.


A more traditional way to incorporate an existing mantel mirror is simply to add a wreath to it.

Wreath on fireplace mantel mirror

Traditional wreath on existing fireplace mirror turns it into Christmas decor. Photo credit homegoods.


 Deck out Existing Fireplace Wall Art for Christmas

Sometimes the easiest way to transform existing fireplace wall art for Christmas it to add hanging individual letters that spell out a short holiday word such as JOY, NOEL, or JOLLY. The example below uses a tryptych or three-panel work.

Three letters transform existing fireplace wall art into holiday decor.

Three letters transform existing fireplace wall art into holiday decor. Photo credit pinterest.


Another option is to wrap the existing fireplace art work as a present, just as the televisions at the top of this post are gift wrapped.


There is no need to remove the wide screen television from above the fireplace or take down the existing fireplace mirror or wall art to get the fireplace decorated for Christmas. Add a holiday inspired layer – whether gift wrap, wreath, hanging letters or removable Christmas vinyl decals – instead.

Posted in Decorating, Holidays Tagged with:

How to Clean Slate Fireplace

Want a clean slate fireplace hearth or fireplace surround? Here are the instructions you need for routine slate cleaning, deep cleaning, stain removal and polishing. Choose from either inexpensive home cleaning remedies or more expensive but powerful commercial slate cleaning products.

Natural slate is a durable product with an earthy, welcoming vibe. Because it is porous, however, it tends to absorb moisture and stains. And dust and dirt can accumulate, especially in the corners, and over time become difficult to remove.

Routine Cleaning of Slate Fireplace Hearths and Surrounds

  • Dust, sweep or vacuum the fireplace slate.
  • For routine cleaning, use a cloth to clean slate with a few drops of dish washing detergent or Spic and Span in a half bucket of water. Rinse with clean water; then wipe dry with another cloth. Allow to dry overnight before using additional cleaners or polishing.

Clean slate with soup and water for a routine cleaning

How to Deep Clean Slate

When the surface is thoroughly dried after a routine cleaning, try either of the cleaning processes recommended below:

Commercial products to clean slate

  •  Using a soft cloth, wipe the slate down with a thin layer of teak oil. With another clean cloth, remove any excess.

Clean slate with teak oil.

How to Remove Stains from Slate Hearths and Fireplace Surrounds

If the deep cleaning left any stains, try any of the procedures listed below to get stains off of slate:

  • One method of removing stains is to clean slate with a paste mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Wait until the bubbling ceases, then apply the paste to the stain. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off with a clean, moist cloth. Do not get this paste mixture on grout between slabs of slate.

clean slate stains with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste

  • If oil stains are the issue (popcorn and nachos by the hearth come to mind), a product specifically designed to remove such oil stains, such ad StoneTech Professional Oil Stain Remover, is recommended. Follow the directions exactly, and this product really does the job!How to remove oil stains from state
  • If soot and smoke stains are the primary problem, you can clean slate with Paint N Peel without using harsh chemicals.

Remove soot and smoke stains with Paint N Peel

  • For persistent stains that don’t respond to the hydrogen peroxide paste, scrub with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) carefully following manufacturer’s directions.

clean slate with trisodium phosphate

How to Polish Slate

Some of the commercial slate cleaners include a polishing agent. And if you have used teak oil to clean slate, that often provides a sufficient gloss.

For a bit more gloss on your slate, we recommend Black Diamond Wet Look Natural Stone Sealer. Because slate is a porous stone, it will not leave the “wet” look advertised, but it will give a good sheen. It also seals it from future staining.
How to add sheen to clean slate

In the eighteenth century, slate hearths were polished with hot mutton fat. As a 21st century alternative, we recommend teak oil or furniture polish.


Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with:

How Much Firewood Do I Need?

How Much Firewood Do I Need?

How much firewood should I buy, and when should I buy it?  How can I predict how much firewood I will need for the fireplace for the entire season? These are questions that may lead busy homeowners to postpone ordering their firewood.  Here are some answers from fireplace experts.

How much firewood?

While there’s no surefire way to figure out how much firewood you will need for a year, and in colder winters you will certainly use more than usual, here are some guidelines for estimating. In 1998, Vermont

  • homeowners who heat primarily with wood burned almost 5 cords;
  • those who burned wood as a supplement to other home heating systems used just over 2 cords; and
  • those who burned firewood only for pleasure used less than half a cord.

What’s a cord of firewood?

Glad you asked. A cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet of closely stacked wood, including the air space between fire logs. The terms “face cord,” “rack,” “truck load,” and “pile” have no agreed meaning or legal meaning. In fact, Oregon consumer laws ban the use of these terms in commerce! So, a stack of firewood

When buying wood, try to negotiate with the seller in terms of real cords or percentages of real cords. You can also use the examples above to estimate amounts, or you can just look at the amount he is offering and decide if it’s worth the price to you.

When to buy or gather firewood?

Firewood needs at least 6 months to season, so early spring is a great time to buy or gather your wood. Any insects living under the bark are dormant and likely to die before fall. Prices are generally down and supplies are good. Try to buy only what you will use in a year. You can carry over some wood into a second year, but it may give off more smoke than recently seasoned wood and it is more likely to harbor insects.

You will find that land owners whose property has been logged will welcome you if you ask permission to salvage firewood. Loggers leave behind about 50% of each tree, cluttering the landscape but providing you with free firewood. With a chain saw, safety goggles, and a firewood splitter, you can tailor your firewood to the dimensions of your fireplace while you save money.

So, if you just use your fireplace for romance and relaxation, buy a half cord of firewood each spring and let it season until fall. If you supplement a heating system with a woodstove or fireplace insert, buy two cords. If you heat exclusively with firewood, you’ll need about 4 to 5 cords, depending on the severity of your winters.

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