Our Experts Answer Top Fireplace FAQs

As a local hearth expert in central Wisconsin, we receive a lot of questions about fireplaces, wood stoves, and charcoal grills and tables. Read through these common fireplace FAQs we often hear from customers—like what’s included in a fireplace proposal and why you might be feeling a cold draft coming from your fireplace. Our professionals have covered it all to help you better understand how your home fireplace works and how to keep your family safe.

Can I shut off the pilot light in summer?

Some homeowners turn off their pilot light in summer to save money on utility bills and avoid adding any extra heat to their homes. If you turn yours off, you’ll save roughly a few dollars a month. Or you can leave it running and avoid the hassle of having to relight it in fall when you want to use your fireplace again. If you’re having trouble deciding, one of our hearth experts would be happy to help you.

What’s included in a fireplace proposal?

All of our hearth proposals include a detailed overview of the installation process, a written estimate, and a product overview. This is the time to make any changes or adjustments you’d like. Once you approve the proposal, we will schedule an installation date that’s convenient for you.

What does a chimney sweep and inspection include and how often should it be done?

Chimney sweeps should be done once a year to remove dangerous buildup of creosote and to ensure everything is working properly. It includes cleaning out the fireplace, inspecting for proper clearances, and checking the firebox, liners, smoke chamber and flue, and chimney exterior. Don’t trust just anyone to perform this important service—work with a company that has earned the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep® credential—like Merrill Sheet Metal Works. We have proven knowledge of chimney evaluation and maintenance.

Do you sweep a chimney from inside or outside of the home?

During a chimney sweep, a professional will go up on your roof and feed the sweeping brush down through the chimney stack to scrape off soot and creosote buildup. Then they’ll come inside and work their way up your fireplace with a brush. Note that this is an incredibly messy job—it’s best to work with a pro who does it correctly and keeps soot from spreading around your home.

Can I use my gas or wood fireplace if I lose power?

In the event that the power goes out and you lose heat, a gas or wood fireplace is a great way to keep your family warm. Both are safe to use as a primary heating source until your central heating has been restored.

Why am I feeling a cold draft from my fireplace?

Chimneys act as a funnel to move smoke and dangerous gases away from your home. But they also let heat escape during colder months when your fireplace isn’t in use. This is when you’ll feel cold drafts come down through your chimney. To stop the cold draft, you may need to replace the damper or we can recommend a plug, insulator, or insert which blocks cold air from entering your home when your fireplace isn’t being used.

Still have questions? We invite you to ask us online or give us a call—715-536-2262. You can also stop by and visit our Firefly Lodge Showroom which has Central Wisconsin’s largest selection of hearth products.