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Magic Sweep Blog

Consider a New Chimney Cap or Damper This Summer

Your chimney may be done for the winter, but it may be costing you this summer, and you don’t even know it yet. If your chimney has missing or damaged parts, you may be losing conditioned air through the flue, or warm air may be coming in by way of the flue. As your central air system works harder to cool the air in your home, your utility bill goes up!


How a Cap Can Help

A chimney cap is installed on the top of your chimney and serves as a roof. It also keeps animals out and protects your flue against water and weather year-round. You can even buy a specific model that deflects wind away from the flue opening, keeping gusts from affecting your fire in the winter and your central air in the summer. Having a cap installed this spring will not only save you on utilities but will also protect your entire system from water damage and damage from animal intrusion. Choosing the right cap for your chimney can be difficult. Professionals at Magic Sweep can help. Your chimney may be best protected with a new damper–a top seal damper.


Energy Saving Damper

You can save even more money by having a new top-sealing damper installed before the weather gets too warm. Sometimes called an energy-saving damper, the top-sealing damper kills two birds with one stone. It works as a chimney cap while a fire burns in the fireplace, and it is a tight-sealing damper while engaged. Not only does it act as a damper, but it seals the entire chimney system from the top with a tight seal. Neither water or animals can penetrate a top-sealing damper. You can avoid losing air through this new damper as well! The best way to close your system off for summer is with a top-sealing damper. It will keep humid air from mingling with the soot and creosote in your flue, cut down on odors, and protect the system until it’s time for a fire in fall.


Call a Professional

Magic Sweep is your #1 choice for chimney maintenance and repair in Hampton Roads. Our chimney sweeps are certified, insured, and experienced choosing and installing chimney caps and dampers. Our top priority is safety and efficiency for our neighbors and customers, so we only carry the best in brands and models.

Are you tired of spending too much money on your AC every summer? You may be surprised how much you’ll save with a new cap or damper–not just in utility bills, but also in prevention. Installing a top-sealing damper or cap now can protect your chimney and prevent costly damage later.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment for your home or rental now.

Fuel Options for a New Fireplace or Stove

If you have been thinking about adding a fireplace or stove or updating your current heating appliance, you do have options when it comes to fuel. As each fuel option has distinct pros and cons, the perfect choice for your household can depend on several things. Do you prefer convenience or is the sensory experience of wood burning more important to you? Are you concerned about the environment? Do you have sufficient space for storing firewood or bags of wood pellets? Our staff at Magic Sweep can help you decide which type of fuel will work best in your home, and we would like to tell you a bit more about the fuel options that are available to you.


Fuel Options for a New Fireplace or Stove - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepIf igniting a fire from a remote control sounds good to you, the majority of gas fireplaces and stoves have this option. Convenient and easy, gas fireplaces do not require the chores like sweeping up ashes and bringing in firewood that come with wood-burning appliances. You also will not have to worry about storing fuel. Concerned about safety and efficiency? Magic Sweep thinks you will be happy with the money and energy you will save with a gas fireplace or stove, and our technicians can show you how to use your appliance safely after its installation is complete. With this fuel option, you have several choices of how the appliance is vented. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), the byproducts of combustion from natural draft appliances are vented through an inexpensive Class B pipe that we will install vertically through the roof. Direct vent gas fireplaces and stoves vent through the wall, so the cost of installation is a bit less expensive. This venting option reduces concerns about indoor air quality because the combustion process is completely sealed off from the room.


For those who desire the atmosphere created by burning wood, Magic Sweep offers several varieties of this traditional fuel option. New technology has produced wood-burning fireplaces and stoves that burn much cleaner than older appliances, and we have models that have been approved by the EPA as environmentally friendly. If the cost a fuel is a concern, wood is extremely economical and can even be free if you are able to cut your own firewood. When it comes to potential hazards, this fuel option has an increasingly high safety record, and we can give you essential safety tips for using a wood fireplace or stove.


Growing in popularity everyday, pellet fireplaces and stoves are perfect for the environmentally conscious. Made of compressed firewood that has been recycled from sawmills, pellets burn cleanly, efficiently, and safely. Operating a pellet fireplace or stove is simple; you just load the pellets into the hopper and turn on the appliance for 24 hours of heat. Available in bags of 40 pounds, pellets can be found right here at Magic Sweep.

Need help choosing the right fuel option for your new fireplace or stove? Contact us at Magic Sweep to talk to our expert staff about which type of appliance will be the perfect fit for your home.

MEA Clean Burning Wood Stove Grant Program

While Magic Sweep is based in Chesapeake, Virginia, we do look out for our neighbors to the north in Maryland, and we have some exciting news for the residents of that state. The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) offers a grant program to owners of clean burning wood stoves. As an incentive to replace older wood stoves and electric heating systems, these grants are a part of Maryland’s Residential Clean Energy Grant Program. This program began in September of 2012 and awards $500 to owners of modern EPA-approved wood-burning stoves and $700 to owners of pellet stoves. We would like to tell you more about this clean burning wood stove grant program and how you can take advantage of it.

What are the requirements to receive a grant from this program?

MEA Clean Burning Wood Stove Grant Program - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepAccording to the MEA, the following requirements must be met to take part in this program:

  • The stove must be installed in a primary residence located in Maryland.
  • The owner must replace an old wood stove or an electric or non-natural gas fossil fuel heating system with a clean burning stove.
  • Only one grant per technology can be received by the same property in a fiscal year.
  • If the property is held in trust, the MEA cannot offer a grant.
  • You must submit your grant application to the MEA within 12 months of installing the stove.
  • The installation of the stove must pass a final inspection if a permit is required by the county of residence. You must show proof of the passing in order to be eligible for the program.
  • Wood-burning stoves must be on the EPA List of Certified Stoves and emit no more than three grams of particulate matter per hour to be eligible for the program.
  • Pellet stoves must be on the Washington State Emissions Standards list and emit no more than two grams of particulate matter per hour to be eligible for a grant.


How do I apply for this grant?

You can download the application at the MEA website, fill it out according to the instructions, and then mail it to the MEA. You must also include a picture of the installed clean burning stove, the final invoice that proves this project has been completely paid for, and copies of all the inspection and permit documents that were issued by the local authority in your jurisdiction.

Questions about the MEA Clean Burning Wood Stove Grant Program? Contact us at Magic Sweep to find out more about this incentive to install a new wood-burning or pellet stove.