Who is GC fires?

At GC fires we offer the sales and installation of a wide range of freestanding and built-in closed combustion fireplaces, pellet stoves, ceramic fire pots, portable pizza ovens, stainless steel flue kits and all the necessities. We supply portable and built-in braais and accessories. We also sell and install gas fireplaces and gas ovens and hobs, with certified staff available to do site inspections for gas and COC certificates for residential gas installations.

Our company is special, because we provide a full service to our customers all under one roof with 3 permanent, highly skilled installation teams on duty and a total staff body of 15 members. We don’t use 3rd party installers for your installation, so you can contact us for the full service. Our teams are used to working within our client’s houses. They provide a clean and professional installation, leaving your home exactly the way they found it. We cover your floors and protect your furniture, and prefer to be the last people in on a building or renovation project. With Dutch ownership, we provide a high standard of service, with a focus on service excellence and a fantastic after sale service.

We strive to make the process of buying and installing a fireplace for your home as uncomplicated as possible. Knowledgeable, friendly staff are always ready to assist you in selecting the most suitable fireplace for your home and budget.

We have brought together 20 years of excellence in client service and 25 years of experience in the installation of fireplaces! You can contact us via our website, by email, by phone, or visit us and view the fireplaces in our showroom. We are based in Somerset West / Strand just off the N2, after the bridge at the intersection, in the Asla Business Park. Go through the security gate, turn left at the circle and follow the road straight into the end park. We are on the left at Unit 1. This is where you’ll find our offices, showroom and warehouse.

We cover the greater Cape Town area.

You will find the best quality at the best prices – guaranteed!

What do our specials include and how do they work?

Our special is special not only because it’s one service from start to finish all under one roof, but because we also discount you on installation when you buy and install one of our listed specials.

Our specials are an all-inclusive offer – which includes a fireplace, a 4.5m 304 stainless steel flue kit, delivery and installation thereof. The specials include the installation of a freestanding fireplace in a standard single story house.  A standard single story house has a maximum total height of 4.6m and a maximum ceiling height of 2.6m. Extra optional accessories ordered by you will be added over and above to your individual order.

To confirm the price of the special, you will need to send us photographs.

  1. One inside your house showing where you would like your fireplace installed showing floor and ceiling.
  2. One of the outside of your house showing the house and the roof, with the area of the roof where you think the flue will exit, a side or front view will be sufficient.

If you are in the process of building or renovating, then a current floor plan showing the height elevations is acceptable. Clearly indicate the fireplace position and ensure that you supply us with any further information that we might require for your specific installation. This information should include details such as whether you require a floor plate; whether we are installing on the ground or first floor; measurement floor to ceiling; measurement ceiling to the apex of your roof; your full address and your contact details. Please refer to this link further information – Which photographs and information do I need to submit and why?

We also liaise with builders and architects on a daily basis to ensure a successful outcome. If your installation is not a standard installation, let us know and we will quote you accordingly for your specific installation.

All of this can be done through our website or you can visit us at our office and showroom to discuss this over a cup of coffee.

What sort of flue kit is included in the special?

All our specials include the European CE certified Atritube flue system, which is imported from Greece. All Atritube flues are made from superior 0.4 mm thick, non-magnetic, 304-grade Stainless Steel, which is a great choice in terms of anti-corrosion properties. 304SS is suitable to withstand the effects of long-term corrosion caused by the weak acids within the flue gases created during combustion in closed combustion fireplaces and over time they corrode the inner walls of flues. Our flues are seam welded and utilize a clamping method of assembly. We avoid drilling and pop riveting.

Please note that all stainless steel flues discolour over time. This is due to a natural chemical reaction which is the result of exposure to 02 in the air and the heat from your fireplace. This natural reaction creates ‘living art’ in your home, as the colours range from golden amber to purples and blues, depending on how hot your fireplace is fired.

The flue installed within your house below the ceiling is single skin, but once we guide the flue through the ceiling and the roof, we then switch to an insulated, double skin flue. This is for maximum safety and durability, and all our installations are done this way.

A 4.5m flue kit for a standard single story house includes:

  • 2 x 1m 304SS plain flues
  • 1 x 1m 304SS insulated end-cap
  • 1.5 x 1m 304SS insulated flues
  • 1 x 304SS Ceiling plate
  • 1 x 304SS Cowl
  • 5 x 304SS Clamps
  • 1 x EPDM flashing for a waterproof seal

You can choose to have your flues sprayed the same colour as your fireplace in Black, Anthracite grey or Ivory at an additional fee. Let us know this in advance when requesting a quote.

What information and photographs are required for my installation and why?

With our experience, all the information that we request from you is relevant to your installation. By supplying us with it, we are able to speed up the process of quoting, planning and scheduling your installation. We have fine-tuned this process to an art to provide you with the best service.

We use the photographs or building plans to assess, plan and prepare your installation. It enables us to confirm the prices quoted on our website for your unique installation. During our peak season between (March and August), we do all our quoting and planning off the information and photographs provided.

Information required for a freestanding fireplace & installation:

  1. A photograph of the area within the house where the fireplace is to be installed – showing floor and ceiling
  2. A photograph of the outside of the house, showing the house with the area of the roof where the flue chimney would come through, or the side of the house, including the roof and wall where the flue would exit through the wall and go up the side of the house. (Current building plans showing the height elevations are acceptable).
  3. Your name, surname, installation address and contact numbers.
  4. Measurement of the area/room you would like to heat – Width x Depth x Height?
  5. Measurement from floor to ceiling?
  6. The total height of the house?
  7. Do you have a flat or angled ceiling?
  8. Is the fireplace being installed on the ground or first floor of your house?
  9. Which fireplace on our website would you like to purchase & install?
  10. Do you require a floor plate to protect your combustible floor covering?
  11. Are there any stairs that our installation team will have to use between the parking area and area of installation?
  12. Invoice to be made out to / Vat no?

Information required for an insert / built-in fireplace and installation:

  1. A photograph of the area in the house where the fireplace is to be installed – showing the fireplace hearth.
  2. A photograph facing up the chimney, showing the chimney opening.
  3. A photograph of the outside of the house, showing the house and the area of the roof with the chimney (Current building plans showing the height elevations are acceptable).
  4. Your name, surname, installation address and contact numbers.
  5. Measurement of the area/room you would like to heat – Width x Depth x Height?
  6. Measurement of the fireplace hearth/opening – Width x Depth x Height?
  7. The total length of the existing chimney?
  8. Does your chimney run straight up without any obstructions/bends?
  9. What is the chimney’s inside diameter?
  10. Is the fireplace being installed on the ground or first floor of your house?
  11. When last did you use the chimney and is it functional?
  12. Which fireplace on our website would you like to purchase & install?
  13. Do you require a floor plate to protect your combustible floor covering?
  14. Are there any stairs that our installation team will have to use between the parking area and area of installation?
  15. Invoice to be made out to / Vat no?

If we feel that your installation is not straightforward after accessing your information, we will then contact you for a site visit. We charge a small fee for this, but it will be deducted from your total when you purchase and install your fireplace with us. However, this is usually unnecessary, as most installations are straightforward for us. During peak season, March to August, site visits are only done at our discretion and then only in the Helderberg area.

Can I organise everything through your website?

Yes, absolutely, and we’ve made it really easy for you.

Submit the contact form via ‘Contact us’, with the required information and the photographs. Please ensure that you supply us with any further information that we might require for your specific installation. This information should include details such as whether you require a floor plate; the make and model of your fireplace; whether we are installing on the ground or first floor; measurements floor to ceiling, and ceiling to the pitch of your roof, your full address and full contact details.

You will be contacted within 24 hours with your quote provided we have all the relevant information. Once you have accepted our quote, you may pay the deposit and we shall then schedule your installation.

Questions are welcome; you are welcome to email or call us.

Email: info@geniusconcepts.co.za

Tel: (021) 851 3187

Do we do site visits for clients?

Yes, we do. This is done free of charge in the Helderberg area, but please note that during our peak installation season, we do all our quoting and planning of the information requested from us and provided by you. Only if we feel that the installation is not straightforward, will we then suggest a site visit, but most installations are generally straightforward, and you can trust our experience and skills.

Outside the Helderberg area, we charge a fee to compensate for our traveling cost. This will be refunded upon purchase of a fireplace. We don’t do site visits outside the Helderberg area during our peak season between March and August. You need to trust our knowledge and skills. Our professional staff will always be happy to assist and advise if needed.

Do you have a showroom that I can visit?

Yes, we have a large showroom with most of the ranges on the floor for viewing. You are very welcome to visit us from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. Other times can be arranged in advance by appointment.

We stock a wide range of freestanding and built-in closed combustion fireplaces, pellet stoves, ceramic fire pots, portable pizza ovens, braais, stainless steel flue kits, and accessories.

Our showroom is at Unit 1, Apex Park, Henry Vos Close, Asla Park, Somerset West / Strand.

We are off the N2, over the bridge and right at the first traffic lights into the Alsa Business Park. If you pass the BP petrol station on your left, then you have gone too far. Drive through the security gates and turn left at the circle. Drive straight down and into the park at the end. You’ll find us at the first unit on the left.

If you are purchasing and collecting, then please give a call in advance so that we can prepare your invoice and prepare your merchandise.

Email: info@geniusconcepts.co.za

Tel: (021) 851 3187

What guarantees are there on the fireplaces?
  • Charnwood – 10 Year limited guarantee on all their fireplaces.
  • Invincible cast iron fireplaces & Earthfire ceramic pots – 10-year limited guarantee.
  • Spartherm, Lacunza, Kratki, Invincible (plate steel fireplaces), Hydrofire Boiler Fireplaces and Jetmaster – 5-year limited guarantee.
  • Canature – 3-year limited guarantee.
  • Hydrofire – a 2-year limited guarantee for their steel fireplaces and a 5-year limited guarantee on their cast iron units.
  • Palazetti, Royal, and Chad-o-Chef – come with a 2 Year limited guarantee.
  • Jetmaster – Portable gas PV4 and Legend come with a 1-year guarantee.

All loose internal parts like the grate, ash pan, bricks and baffle plate are guaranteed for 1 year with Hydrofire and Invincible fireplaces, and 2 years with the Charnwood fireplaces. All the guarantees are limited in the sense that there are no guarantees on the glass, paint and ceramic rope.

At the discretion of GC Fires, we will either repair or replace defective parts. The labor cost to replace defective parts will be covered by the guarantee for the first year only.

GC Fires is not liable for any consequential loss or incidental loss, damage or injury what so ever caused. The guarantee will become null & void if the fireplace is not installed in accordance with the installation instructions; is not serviced annually; is subject to misuse or neglect, including the use of non-recommended fuel; or if the unit was damaged due to over firing or water leaks.

To avoid overheating you can purchase a stove thermometer which will help you manage the temperature of your fireplace – https://gcfires.co.za/gc_accessories/stove-pro-flue-thermometer/  .

All claims must be made in writing to GC Fires and must be accompanied by photographs and by proof of purchase. Nothing in this guarantee shall affect your statutory rights.

What guarantee is there on the installation?

All our installations have a 12-month guarantee on the waterproofing.  This guarantee covers the labour and parts. However, we may charge a call out fee to cover travel costs. This is at the discretion of GC Fires and is dependent on the kind of claim and distance to be travelled.

Please make sure that you do not overheat your fireplace as this invalids both the installation and product guarantee. Any cracking of plaster work, tiles or the warping of metal, or damage to electric’s (alarm sensors, plugs, TV’s) is due to too much heat and is at the risk of the person who uses the fireplace and not GC Fires.

To avoid overheating you can purchase a stove thermometer – https://gcfires.co.za/gc_accessories/stove-pro-flue-thermometer/  .

Please do not use your fireplace for the first 36 hours after installation. The waterproofing needs this time to dry. Failure to do so invalidates your guarantee.

Should I purchase a single or an insulated flue kit?

A good flue kit consists of both insulated and plain flue pipes, which is the industry standard. The flue piece which connects the plain flue pipe with the insulated flue pipe is called an insulated “end-cap”, and this item of the flue kit is installed about 300mm below ceiling level and runs into the roof space.

The reason that we use insulated flue pipes when going via your ceiling and roof is that single skin flues get really hot. Single skin flues help to heat your house and serve as an extension of the fireplace. However, an insulated flue is the best choice for when the flue goes through your ceiling, roof space and exits via your roof itself because an insulated double skin flue only gets warm and this is much safer. In this way your waterproofing will be more durable as the outside of an insulated flue pipe will not expand and contract upon heating and cooling down like a single skin flue pipe. Lastly, an insulated flue will vastly decrease the build-up of condensation within your flue, as the insulation prevents the hot smoke from cooling down too quickly. It is therefore preferable and safer to use insulated flue piping once the flue pipe leaves the interior of the room that is being heated.

The standard choice of material is anti-corrosive, 304 stainless steel. This will guarantee many years of safe usage of your fireplace and flue kit.

All our specials include the European CE certified Atritube flue system which is imported from Greece. All Atritube flues are made from superior 0.4 mm thick, 304-grade Stainless Steel, which is suitable to withstand the effects of long-term corrosion by the harsh chemicals within the flue gases of closed combustion fireplaces. These flues are seam welded and utilise a clamping method of assembly. We, therefore, avoid drilling and pop riveting.

Please note that all stainless steel flues discolour over time, due to a natural chemical reaction caused by exposure to 02 in the air and the heat from your fireplace. This natural reaction creates ‘living art’ in your home, as the colours range from golden to amber, even purples, and blues, depending on how hot your fireplace is fired.

If you’d prefer something other than a ‘stainless steel look’, then you can choose to have your flues sprayed in the same colour as your fireplace i.e. black, anthracite grey, Ivory. This is done at an additional fee and needs to be pre-ordered with your fireplace. Feel free to inquire about this when requesting a quote.

Do I need a floor plate?

A tempered glass floor plate protects your floor from the heat of your fireplace. It allows for traditional open or closed combustion fireplaces to be installed on wooden, laminate and carpeted flooring.

Tempered glass is a type of toughened, safety glass processed through controlled thermal or chemical treatments. The tempering process puts the outer surface of the glass into compression and the inner surfaces into tension. The result is tempered glass with far more strength than normal glass. Fully tempered glass can take on a higher load and is four to six times stronger than double glazed glass, so it can take the weight of your fireplace. This type of glass is used when safety, thermal resistance, and strength are important considerations.  Should the glass break, it crumbles into small granular chunks rather than splintering into jagged shards. Please be aware that in the event that you drop a hard object on to the glass, you may still crack or chip the finish even though the glass is tempered.

The building regulations in South Africa stipulate that you are required to utilise a fire hearth if your flooring material near to your fireplace is of a combustible nature.  The regulations are designed for all fireplaces including closed combustion and traditional open fireplaces. The hearth must be of ‘adequate thickness and of an incombustible material’ (SANS 10400: v2010). It is therefore compulsory to have a floor plate if your floor is covered by a material that is not fireproof, for example, wood, carpets or melamine.

The floor plate should stick out at least 5-10 cm on each side of your fireplace when it stands on top of the floor plate. Ideally, you’d want about 50 cm – 70 cm of floor plate in front of your fireplace to catch any accidental spills of hot material. Keep in mind that we install between 15 and 20cm off the wall, so add the fireplace depth to this and add the overlap measurement in front.

Our floor plates come as standard rectangles with a bevelled lip. However you can custom order them from us in any shape and size. You can choose between a glass (12mm thickness) and plate steel (2mm thickness) floor plate. Keep in mind that custom orders have a minimum 2 week lead time.

The black glass has a black solid-coloured underside which features a high gloss finish. The clear glass allows for an unobstructed view of your beautiful wooden or marble flooring and won’t detract attention away from your fireplace or clash with your colour scheme. We seal the edge of this floor plate with silicone, thereby sealing out dust and dirt, so that it always remains clean on the underside. Glass floor plates allow for natural light reflection and ambience. The black steel floorplate has a black matt, solid-coloured finish and is a cost-effective option if you are not using glass. Perfect for a more traditional look and style.

You could also choose to go with your own floorplate like stone, marble or granite. Please enquire about recommended sizes suitable for your fireplace.

What is the difference between a plain flue and an insulated flue?

You can spot the difference between a single skin flue and an insulated double skin flue quite easily. An insulated flue is composed of two plain flue pipes within each other, with an insulation material between them. An insulated flue has a larger diameter than a plain flue.

This insulation material results in the outside of the double skin flue becoming less hot than with a single skin flue pipe. It also prevents a lot of condensation gathering within the flue pipe. This leads to a better and more efficient passage for the smoke to exit through your flue piping.

What is a closed or slow combustion fireplace or stove?

In short, closed (or slow) combustion refers to the process of burning solid fuel in a closed metal box or stove and thereby increasing the heat output, and at the same time reducing the fuel consumption by 20-30% when compared to a traditional open fireplace.

Instead of feeding fuel into a freely, oxygenated open fireplace, where it is burnt up very quickly and where much of the heat is lost up the chimney, you can now control how much oxygen your fireplace gets with various air vents on your stove.

This means that you can regulate your heat much better than with an open fireplace. In addition, by burning the fuel in a stove your fuel achieves a much higher temperature than it would if burned in an open fireplace. The result is a regulated fire with more heat for less fuel, and a monetary savings over time.

Some fireplaces have advanced technology that decreases the number of emissions released, resulting in an environmentally friendly burn. Going for closed combustion supports eco-sustainability and is an environmentally friendly choice.

What is the right size and kW fireplace for my house?

This is not a straightforward question and depends on many factors and variables.

All closed combustion fireplaces carry a Kilowatt rating and we calculate how much area can be heated by applying a common formula used throughout the fireplace industry.

The room’s length x depth x height = Cubic meters (m3).

Cubic volume of the room (m3) divided by 25, plus 2 = the kilowatt rating of the fireplace needed to heat the room volume.

Which means that for every 30 cubic meters = you require 1 Kilowatt.

Where this becomes tricky is that this calculation is very subjective to variables such as the insulation of the room and house, number of windows, and the outside temperature. The desired room temperature should also be considered as well. Generally, most houses in South Africa are not well sealed. With hot air rising, the room heats from the top downwards. So, if your ceiling is 2.6 meters or much, much higher, then the calculation above would not adequately apply, as you would need a higher kilowatt output. The Kw of your fireplace and the heat distribution can always be complemented with a ceiling fan to circulate the hot air down, or you could purchase one of our Stovepro heat powered fans.

https://gcfires.co.za/gc_accessories/stove-pro-heat-powered-stove-fan/. Some fireplace models come with optional or their own integrated fans.

Bear in mind that you can always go bigger and burn less, but that you can never go smaller and over the fire, as this will damage the fireplace by trying to heat an area that it is not designed to heat, and this will nullify your warranty.

You can contact us if you have questions or require advice.

What about kW & efficiency?

The kW rating on your stove is more like a measure of the ‘ideal’ thermal output that your fireplace can maintain inside during the burning process, whilst maintaining a certain level of efficiency, and without prematurely damaging the fireplace body or internal components.

The manufacturers will choose which data suits the market they are targeting and publish accordingly. For example, a fireplace rated as 10 kW with a 75% efficiency, may be able to comfortably kick out 14 kW during the testing process without too much trouble. However, the efficiency at 14 kW may be reduced to 70%, which does not suit the manufacturer’s target market, so they publish the results based on the 10 kW figures.

The efficiency rating is supposed to be the measure of how much of a fuel’s energy is given to your room during the burning process. The ‘scientists’ set a measure for the amount of fuel to be used (weight etc) and how often the re-fuelling will take place. They then test the emitted flue gases in the flue pipe (chimney) for temperature and carbon content. This happens during the burning process and it allows them to calculate how much energy contained in a given fuel has been radiated from the stove to the room compared to how much has not been.

The difference gives you a percentage rating for how efficient the stove is. E.g. a stove with a 75% efficiency rating is effectively transferring 75% of the energy stored in the fuel consumed to heating the room. The other 25% of this potential heat energy heats the flue, and the rest is lost out the chimney. These calculations are useful in principle. The problem is that each manufacturer may use their own test conditions to measure the efficiency, which makes it very subjective! Even within regulated countries like the UK, they can choose which fuel, how much fuel, refuelling times and the oxygen intake they want to use under the test conditions.

This makes it close to impossible to measure exactly ‘like for like’, as you do not know what the test conditions set by the manufacturer are. However, some manufacturers will publish their test conditions and refuelling times which means that you have a much more genuine result and can make a better comparison with others (provided they also publish their test conditions).

What time will the installation team arrive at my house?

Our installation teams leave our offices in Asla Park, Somerset West at 08h00 daily. All our installations are scheduled early in the day so that we can complete your installation. We don’t normally do any ‘late start’ installations. Work out our arrival time using Google Maps, by adding in a 08h00 departure time. Allow for travel time and traffic.

How long will my installation take to complete?

With a straightforward, simple, single story installation through the roof, the team can complete the installation before 14h30. For complex installations, the teams may be busy till 17h00. We will let you know in advance whether your installation will take more than a day and you’ll be quoted accordingly.

Why is my fireplace smoking?

There are no certainties when it comes to smoking closed combustion fireplaces and a number of reasons why they could be smoking.
Dry, seasoned, hard wood weathered from the year before is your best to burn in your fireplace. Dry blue gum is great. Black wattle is ok, but burns up quicker.

Your wood is more than likely wet. Any wood sold during winter is wet. Space the wood for ventilation, use smaller pieces of wood to get the fire going (vents open all the way) and use lots of blitz. Add 2 logs when the small bits are blazing and close your vents by 2/3rds when the logs are burning well. The warmer the chimney and fireplace get…the better the air pull or draft up the chimney.
A chimney clean may be required. A build-up of creosote in the flue can cause smoking and chimney fires. Birds nest can also be a problem. GC Fires offers annual chimney sweeping from November through to March. The fire rope sealing the door may need replacing. Check that the wood you stored in a ‘decorative compartment’ of the fireplace is not smouldering.

Ensure you are not causing back drafts down your chimney by using extraction fans in the kitchen, leaving windows open etc. You want the smoke to pull up the chimney, and not into your house.
If your braai or open hearth is smoking, then you need a chimney sweep. The fireplace may not be deep enough, and you may require brickwork. You could try putting the coal cradle on bricks to raise the fire closer to the chimney opening at the top (worked at my last house).
A cowl could help with drawing the smoke up the chimney, but it’s not a guarantee. Your flue piping or chimney may not be high enough resulting in the airflow being obstructed by the roof apex or another structure on the roof. This can also happen when you live up against the mountain. Check your roof space to ensure that the chimney is intact. You don’t want sparks coming through the broken brickwork into your roof space and causing a fire.

Start with dry wood, as this seems to be the number one cause of a smoking fireplace (especially in winter when they sell you wood and swear that is dry).

How do I clean the window of my fireplace and why does it soot up?

This is rather annoying when it happens, but the solution is rather simple.

It’s usually the result of soot build up, indicating that the fuel being used in the fireplace is not burning completely. Ensure that the dampers /air controls on your fireplace remain open until the fire is well established, as this will give the fire enough air to ensure complete combustion of fuels. Adequate dry and well-seasoned kindling and fuel must be used to start and maintain the fire, and to ensure the most efficient burn possible. The chimney should be unobstructed and clean, as this allows the smoke that is produced to escape. Empty the ash pan often.

The easiest way to clean it is by using a commercially-prepared cleanser such as Limpio Cleaner. Only use a product that has been designed specifically for fireplace use or you could end up with glass discolouration. Alternatively, you can clean the glass window by dipping the damp end of a cloth into the cold, white ash left over from your previous fire & gently clean the inside of the window to remove the soot build-up. However, this option takes more time and can be messy.

With either choice, you should scrub the glass using small circular strokes.
Allow the glass to dry, and then buff it with a clean cloth.

GC Fires stocks Stove & Grate polish, and fireplace glass cleaner.

How do I maintain my fireplace?

Fireplaces require occasional TLC, but only when they are completely cooled down.

Clean the outer surfaces of the fireplace with a soft, dry cloth. Don’t use abrasive cleaning materials.

Clean the glass window by using a commercially-prepared cleanser such as Limpio Cleaner or one that is recommended to you by your supplier. Only use a product that has been designed specifically for fireplace use or you could end up with glass discolouration. Alternatively, you can clean the glass window by dipping the damp end of a cloth into the cold, white ash left over from your previous fire & gently clean the inside of the window to remove the soot build-up. However, this option takes more time and can be messy. With either choice, you should scrub the glass using small circular strokes. Allow the glass to dry, and then buff it with a clean cloth.

GC Fires stocks Stove & Grate polish, and fireplace glass cleaner.

An annual chimney sweep can be booked with GC Fires between November & March to clean out creosote & carbon build up in your fireplace, chimney & flue. It’s best not to leave your maintenance too late, as often this creates problems.

The vermiculite firebricks in some models are replacement items & they will crack. This doesn’t affect the fireplace & they only need to be replaced when they crumble. There is no guarantee on the paint, glass and fire rope and often not on the grate or ash pan either.

All stainless steel flues turn coppery overtime ‘like living art’ & this adds to the aesthetic value. This is a natural process and can’t be avoided. If you clean your flues, do a test patch on the back of the flue out of ‘eye sight’, as some cleaning products may remove this copper colouring as well. Alternatively, you can have your flues sprayed the same colour as your fireplace. Place your order with your fireplace, before we install.

When do I need a chimney sweep?

You’ve just finished braaiing a beautiful piece of steak and take the first bite, but it tastes a bit gritty ….….could it be the spices or sand…….or could it be soot from your chimney?

How often you clean your chimney varies on how often you use your chimney or stove, and what kind of wood you use. If you use your chimney often, you may need to clean it about once a year. If you use your chimney rarely, you still need to clean it at least once every two years. It is always easiest to hire a professional to clean your chimney; however, if you choose to clean it yourself, be sure to get sound directions and follow them closely.

We provide an excellent and professional service, using equipment imported from the Europe.

The function of the chimney and flue is to carry toxic smoke and gas safely out of your home.  A clean chimney helps your household air stay breathable, especially with the high incidence of Asthma and Bronchial problems occurring today. Creosote and soot build-up is the main reason for cleaning a chimney. A chimney fire can result if the buildup of creosote and carbon on the inside surface of your flues ignites.

The extremely high temperature of a chimney fire can damage the chimney.  Heat warps metal chimneys and cracks the tile liner on masonry chimneys.  If you don’t repair cracks and holes in the flue, the sparks generated by the fire in the stove could go through the cracks or holes into the attic or the framework surrounding the chimney.  This could cause a serious house fire.

Do I choose a cast iron or a steel fireplace?

Deciding factors of which one to buy and install are influenced by what your space allows, your heating requirements, what suits your decor and budget.

Plate Steel Fireplaces

Construction – Steel is an iron alloy, which is rolled into sheets before forming and the plates are welded together. The joints between the panels are welded shut. With welding technology, plate steel is the modern version of cast iron.

Heating – Steel heats up and cool down faster than cast iron; however steel doesn’t retain the heat as long, although the difference is about an hour or two in relation to fireplaces. This is ideal if you want to heat a cold home quickly or safely extinguish a fire completely before leaving home.

Decor and looks – Steel is the cast iron replacement which is more cost effective and a sturdier alternative to cast iron. It comes in various thicknesses. 2mm Steel is often used in decorative finishes and on some of the ‘convection’ panels that don’t take the brunt of the heat from the fireplace. The structural parts of the fireplace, such as the firebox, are generally fabricated from 4mm steel which is lined with Vermiculite brick to increase longevity of the firebox and the stove. Plate steel fireplaces tend to be plainer, and usually have more modern designs. However, Manufacturers are bringing out more decorative designs.

Drawbacks – Modern, plainer aesthetics. Steel doesn’t hold heat as long as a cast iron and the fire bricks need replacing every 2 years or so when they crumble, but this depends on your usage.

Benefits – The seams are sealed tight when welded together, which benefits the efficiency of your fireplace as no oxygen can reach the fire other then what is allowed through the air vents. Plate steel fireplaces heat up quicker than cast iron fireplaces, so it takes less time to get the fireplace to working temperature.

Cast Iron Fireplaces

Construction – Made of melted iron which is poured into a mould. The joints between the panels are sealed with bolts and caulk.  Cast iron is old school & durable and was the only technology available a hundred years ago that allowed parts to be cast and shaped for fireplaces

Heating – Slow to heat up, but retains and radiates the heat longer than plate steel, but only by an hour or two. This is ideal if you expect your wood fireplace to keep the house warm all night. More efficient heating with less extreme variations in temperature and may stand up to higher temperatures.

Decor and looks – Made from molten iron poured into moulds or “casts”. Cast iron fireplaces were manufactured before plate steel fireplaces, for no other reason than the perfection of the casting process preceding that of welding. Cast iron fireplaces come in a variety of decorative designs, and are often more traditional and contemporary in design.

Drawbacks – Replacement parts are more costly as each individual model must have its own master patterns for casting new panels and parts. It’s heavy and is often constructed of several parts that can have expansion-contraction or separation problems if overfired. Many manufacturers focus more on the decorative appeal, than on function.

Benefits – Ability to tolerate high heat and temperature changes for longer periods of time. Cast iron is a durable yet workable material that allows for panels of it to be drilled into larger, complex assemblies, like fireplaces. Disperses heat nicely, conducting heat well from one part of the stove to another. Years of cast iron manufacturing has made for creative advances in design. With a wide variety of mouldings as well as the ability to take enamel coating, you can find a cast iron wood fireplace for almost any decorative taste.

Which fuel should I use in my fireplace?

Always use very dry, well-seasoned wood. Use fire lighters such as Blitz & chopped kindling wood for starting the fire. Wet wood causes a smoking fireplace; soot blackened windows; a 50% drop in heat output & the fuel usage to double.

Don’t use liquid fuels, tarred wood, shavings, fine coal, pallet crates or use the fireplace like a furnace to burn garbage and waste.

Why is it important to follow the directions of ‘Lighting my first fire’?

Instructions for your first fire

Don’t use your fireplace for the first 36 hours as the waterproofing needs to dry. Failure to do so will invalidate your guarantee.

Very important – When making your first fire you should leave the door slightly open, with the handle left out of the locked position. The curing paint can cause the fire rope in the door to stick to the fireplace, so avoid pressing the fire rope against the paint in the first few hours. Leave the door unlocked until the first fire dies out naturally & the fireplace has cooled down completely. The fire rope is manufactured out of specialised glass fibre & not asbestos.

NB!!! – The demonstration fire done by the installer using newspapers does not qualify as an “Initial Ignition”.

  • Empty the fireplace & ash pan. Remove tools, paperwork, & gloves from inside, & anything from on top of the fireplace.
  • Slide the lower primary & top secondary air controls wide open. With no bottom air vent, open the ash drawer below the door by about 1cm. Most Built-in Fireplaces have air vents situated below the window/door.
  • Your first fire should be started very small & be gradually built up to increase the temperature slowly over 3-4 hrs. Start the fire with a blitz & kindling, & then add 2 logs of wood when it’s burning well. Once the fire is going you can close the vents halfway to 2/3rds, & overtime add 1-2 logs at each time.
  • During the first fire, the paint will start curing. Some odour & even a bit of smoke may come off your fireplace, but this will go away after a few fires.
How do I make fires after the ‘first paint curing fire’?

Instructions for Ignitions after the first fire:

  • Empty the ash pan & unclog the grate (only when cool).
  • Fully slide open the bottom, Primary air vent or the ash pan by about 1cm.
  • Fully slide open the top, Secondary air vent.
  • Add chopped wood kindling & Blitz starter blocks. Light the fire, close the door & allow the fire to burn well.
  • Add 1-2 logs of fuel to maintain fire & close the door. Feed the logs carefully into the fireplace to avoid damaging the glass window, fire brick & to avoid dislodging the baffle plate situated inside the upper part of the combustion chamber. Fuel added after this should be added when the current fuel has reached a basic fire bed.
  • After starting the fire & achieving a comfortable burn, the air vents need to be partially shut by 1 to 2/3rds & the ash pan needs to be closed.
  • Please note – a tumble dryer, extraction fan or open window within the same area of the fireplace can alter the extraction draft in the flue; create bad burning conditions & a backdraft of smoke into the room.
What is causing the noise in my chimney flue?

You may be hearing……………

  • A banging sound when the wind is gusty and howling.
  • A sound like a metal bin being thrown down a gravel road.
  • A rushing noise with moderate wind.
  • A gentle humming noise with very strong wind.
  • A whistling, flute-like noise that goes away when the door is opened.
  • A sound like “blowing-across-the-top-of-a-bottle” with the air inside the flue vibrating like an organ pipe.
  • The noise seems to get amplified in the chimney.
  • A chimney fire could cause a noise which sounds like a very loud, roaring freight train.

Causes and possible solutions………..

Animal invaders such as birds clear out once you’ve removed their nests.

Clicks, cracks, clangs, and dongs are often caused by the thermal expansion due to heat, and these sounds are normal.

If your chimney has no cowl, it could be the wind blowing over the top of the chimney.

A damaged, stuck or loose cowl or a damaged chimney flue.
Secure the loose flue lining the chimney which is banging against the chimney wall with brackets or expanding heat-resistant foam.

The wind blowing across the chimney top is pulling more air up and out, causing an increased draft up with noise. Here you could try installing a stainless steel fixed type of chimney cowl with louvers on each of the square sides which divert the wind upwards and away from the top of the chimney.

A cowl that turns away from the wind will prevent air blowing over the chimney and therefore preventing the noise but are often not a good choice in very high wind areas. However, you could install a storm cowl which is better suited to windy areas.
Structures like trees and building close by may result in you having to extend your flue higher.

A flute-like noise that goes away when the fireplace door is opened. Here you could open the vent sliders in small increments until the noise goes away.

Installing a damper with shuts off or restricts the air flow up the chimney may also help.

A chimney fire sounds like a load, roaring freight train. Close all the air intakes and chimney dampers if you suspect a chimney fire. Exit the building immediately and call the fire department from outdoors.

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to fix noise problems if you live in a high wind area. The wind-noise within a chimney will be intermittent and will depend on the wind and weather conditions. Under safe operation and with regular maintenance of your closed combustion fireplace, it is normal to feel the wind vibrating within the flu. The suggested solutions above may help you. You are welcome to contact us for advice.

Should my builder core drill through the wall or floor in advance of my installation?

No, we prefer to organise this on the day. The reason why is because it’s precision work and it is best done when the fireplace is in its position and the hole is marked in exactly the right spot by our team members. We install to strict safety standards.

The position of the spigot on top of the fireplace, the width and depth of the fireplace, the flue kit diameter and the distance installed off the wall need to be considered before marking the hole to be cut. This can far better be seen when the fireplace is in its position. If it’s not done on the day, then we find that it is seldom exactly right, and sometimes this will delay the installation of your fireplace to a later date.

We use a professional core drilling team, who accompany our installation team for that portion of your installation.

(Core drilling is the process whereby precise, circular holes are cut through concrete surfaces).