Clean Your Own
This is a summary of a phone conversation I had with a very nice older woman in a North suburb of Chicago. I will refer to her as Mrs. G:
Jason: That is a great idea. I know you expressed concern about getting your old damper open as it has rusted closed. How did that work out for you?
Mrs. G: It went well but the chimney sweep suggested an Exhausto Chimney Fan so I can seal up my chimney. He said it would cost about $900 to install one.
Jason: Exhaust makes a very good product Mrs. G. but I thought you said you do not use this fireplace at all?
Mrs. G: I never use this fireplace but the sweep told me this was a good way to stop heat loss through the chimney.
Jason: Well the Exhausto does have a feature that tops the chimney when it is not blowing, but if you really want to top your chimney it would be best to just have the sweep cap the chimney with a top cap plug.
Mrs. G: The sweep told me that the Exhausto will keep me from losing heat out the chimney and act as a top sealing damper.
Jason: Yes, but primarily the Exhaust is made to draw air up the chimney. It is perfect if you had a chimney that did not draft well and you use it often. In my opinion, You would be better served to get a more economical top sealing damper, like the ones made by Lymance, if you are looking to seal the fireplace at the top and you would like to still have the option of using it. If you don’t plan to use the fireplace and you never have, and if you have no known smoke draft problem, you would be wasting money by installing an exhausted. Is this Chimney Sweep someone that you know and trust.
Mrs. G: Well, this chimney sweep is from the yellow pages, I have not used him before. But he says he knows what he is talking about. He thinks this will work to create the right amount of air in my chimney so it won’t be cold anymore.
Jason: Mrs. G. I think this guy is trying to up-sell you and does not have your best interest in mind. I would call another sweep and have him look at your fireplace. Ask him if he thinks a Chimney Balloon or a top sealing damper would work best for you.
Mrs. G: Well I already have signed the estimate for the Exhausto so they are installing it tomorrow since they had a cancellation.
Jason: Mrs. G I would encourage you to call to see if you can have this guy let you out of that estimate. I really encourage you to have another person look at this first. We can look up some reputable chimney sweeps through the National Chimney Sweeps Association and get you another opinion.
Mrs. G: Maybe that would be good I will call him and call you right back
Jason: OK, in the meantime I will look up some reputable sweeps in your area. I will have you a few phone #s by the time you call back.
Mrs. G: OK Jason, thanks, goodbye.
Mrs. G never called me (Jason) back. I can only assume this chimney sweep talked her into the installation again. I didn’t care if she bought a chimney balloon or not. I actually thought a lock top damper may be what she wants. But I knew for sure an exhaust was going to be overkill.