What Kind of Wildlife Does (and Doesn’t) HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Exclude?

A wildlife control professional installing a HY-GUARD EXCLUSION code-compliant dryer vent guard

What Kind of Wildlife Does (and Doesn’t) HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Exclude?

When you’re a homeowner, there’s no shortage of problems and maintenance issues to keep up with. One week, your faucet starts leaking and you need to call a plumber. The next week, you discover mold in the basement carpet and have to call a cleaning service. The freedom of homeownership means your house is yours — but the downside is that the upkeep and repairs are yours, too.

One home ownership problem we’re acutely aware of at HY-C is that of invasive wildlife. Raccoons, squirrels, bugs, you name it — depending on where you live, the threats are varied and vast. Our line of HY-GUARD EXCLUSION screens, caps, and guards are designed to mitigate and even eliminate the threats of local wildlife getting into your home.

But what kinds of critters can these exclusion products keep out? And, more importantly, what kinds of critters can’t they keep out? In this guide, we’ll cover exactly that. By the time you’re done, you’ll know the vulnerable entry points where animals and insects can get into a home, which HY-GUARD products will keep them out, and the limitations of those products. You’ll be ready to utilize exclusion products to keep the common local wildlife out of your home.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets in Your Chimney?

Starting at the very top of the house, the most vulnerable entry point for wildlife is the chimney flue. By far, the most common chimney invaders are raccoons. Raccoons are great climbers; so great, in fact, that they’re one of the only animals that can climb up and down a chimney flue. It’s not uncommon for a female raccoon to set up shop on a chimney’s smoke shelf and create a nest for her young.

The other critter most likely to invade a chimney is a chimney swift. These birds are different from other birds in that they hardly need any horizontal momentum to start flying. They can essentially take off from a standing start and, as a result, they tend to use the limited confines of a chimney as a safe spot to build their nests (hence their name).

Less common candidates to get into a chimney include bats, mice, and squirrels. Contrary to popular belief, bats don’t tend to make homes in chimneys; unlike chimney swifts, they can’t fly straight up, so if they wind up in a chimney, they’ll likely become trapped there. Same goes for squirrels and mice — neither can climb back up the chimney flue, so unless the flue tile itself is cracked (providing a spot to come and go), mice and squirrels will get stuck in a chimney.

The Solution: A Chimney Cap

Roofer installing a stainless steel HY-C single-flue bolt-on chimney cap onto a chimney flue

A chimney cap, with its solid top and diamond mesh sides, will keep raccoons, chimney swifts, and other birds from accessing your chimney flue while still providing enough ventilation for smoke from the fireplace to dissipate. Our Draft King and Shelter brand chimney caps are made from stainless steel and most of them are bolted onto the flue, meaning curious animals won’t be able to remove or damage them to gain access.

Critters That May Still Gain Access

Most chimney caps are made with a ¾” diamond mesh pattern that’s small enough to exclude most animals, especially bigger, roof-loving animals like squirrels and raccoons. This mesh is still wide enough (in theory) to let in a small bat or a baby mouse, though.

Despite the protection a chimney cap offers, the mesh openings are still vulnerable to insects, too, most commonly stink bugs, bees, and wasps.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets in Your Roof Vents?

Roof vents are vital for maintaining air circulation, which is pivotal for regulating temperature, preventing mold and particulate buildup, and promoting healthy breathing. These vents allow air in and out of your attic. They may also be connected to appliances in the home, like bathroom vent fans or stoves.

While the vents themselves are typically designed with animal exclusion in mind, that doesn’t stop certain critters from getting in — especially over time. Raccoons are strong and dextrous enough to peel vents open so they can slip through. Squirrels have strong enough teeth to chew through vents made of weaker metals (especially aluminum). Also, weather damage may create a hole or crease in a vent, providing just enough space for either animal to squeeze in.

The Solution: Roof Vent Guards

Roofing professional installing a HY-GUARD EXCLUSION roof vent guard on a roof with gray shingles

The vent itself is often not a good enough guard to keep animals out, so our HY-GUARD EXCLUSION line includes a variety of roof vent guards. These guards are made from stainless steel mesh and are installed over the vent as an added layer of protection. When installed and secured properly, they’ll keep out the raccoons and squirrels while still allowing your vents to function properly.

Critters That May Still Gain Access

Like chimney caps, HY-GUARD EXCLUSION roof vent guards are made with a few different mesh sizes: ⅝” at the largest and ¼” at the smallest. These sizes will keep out virtually any animal with four legs or wings, but you may still be vulnerable to wasps, bees, yellow jackets, stink bugs, or spiders (depending on which mesh size you choose).

There is a solution, though: simply add some bug screen mesh inside the vent itself before installing a roof vent guard. Many roof vents come with bug mesh pre-installed, but if yours doesn’t have it, adding it can go a long way towards keeping out insects.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets in Your Soffits?

Like roof vents, soffit vents exist to promote airflow (mostly to and from the home’s attic). While they’re usually made with small enough entry points to keep animals out, the problem with these vents lies with their materials. Many soffit vents are made from relatively weak materials like aluminum or plastic which tend to wear down or crack over time.

Raccoons love making homes inside of soffits. The area offers protection from the weather and predators, and it provides a great spot to raise offspring. Squirrels can get access to a damaged soffit vent too, usually by way of a nearby corner or windowsill. Even a mouse or a rat may find its way up into a soffit.

The Solution: Soffit Vent Screens

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION soffit guards installed over soffit vent openings on a home

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION soffit vent screens are made from stainless steel (like most products we offer). They’re also drilled directly into the soffit through pre-cut holes. This combination means that curious critters can’t bite through them or rip them off of the house, ensuring your soffit and attic stay raccoon- and squirrel-free.

Critters That May Still Gain Access

Despite the sturdy materials and construction style, HY-GUARD EXCLUSION soffit vent screens are made exclusively with ⅜” mesh. While this will keep out raccoons, mice, rats, squirrels, and birds, the soffit is still vulnerable to wasps, bees, yellow jackets, stink bugs, and spiders.

Even still, similarly to the roof vent guards, the threat from insects can be mitigated with a bit of bug screen. Luckily, bug screens are easy to cut through. Just cut out a few pieces that are the same size as the soffit vent cover and screw them both into the soffit.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets in Your Dryer Vents?

The most common type of wall vent on a home is a dryer vent. Dryers work by moving lots of hot air through the tumbler, and that air needs somewhere to go. A hose on the back of the dryer connects to a wall vent, allowing gasses to exit out of the side of the house.

A lot of dryer vents feature hanging louvers on them — a clever design that allows the vent to open up as air rushes out, but keeps it closed off to bugs and critters when the dryer isn’t running. Unfortunately, though, those louvers are made of plastic and can be easily broken by animals.

Birds are far and away the most likely critter to invade a dryer vent — specifically, European starlings. This invasive species of birds love to get into places where they don’t belong, and they often make nests in dryer vents. Even if they leave your vent alone after a while, it will still be damaged after their occupation, leaving it open to mice, squirrels, and other common animals.

The Solution: Dryer Vent Guards

A white universal code-compliant dryer vent guard installed on a house with stone siding

A European starling may be able to chip away at the plastic louvers of a dryer vent, but they won’t be able to get past a stainless steel dryer vent guard. Bolted directly onto the side of the house, these guards will not just keep out birds, but also squirrels, mice, rats, or other small animals common in your area.

Critters That May Still Gain Access

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s dryer vent guards come in two styles: one with ⅜” mesh, and another with vertical bars. The diamond mesh style will essentially exclude everything except for bees, wasps, stink bugs, and yellow jackets, but the louvers on the vent itself (provided they’re not damaged) should keep those out just fine.

The style with the vertical bars excludes birds, but it only acts as a deterrent to everything else, meaning bats, squirrels, mice, and rats can still break through its defenses if they’re determined enough. It’s also important to note that some of these vertical bar-style vents are made from plastic, a relatively vulnerable material that some pests might be able to break through.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets in Your Foundation Vents?

Roof vents provide ventilation to a home’s attic. Foundation vents provide ventilation to a basement or crawl space, and ventilation in these spaces is equally important. Due to their low location, though, foundation vents are perhaps some of the most vulnerable points of entry on a house. Any ground animal that gets curious enough can find its way in.

Foundation vents typically make homes for the usual suspects (i.e., squirrels, skunks, raccoons, opossums, etc.). Depending on the size of the vent and the strength of its material, though, animals of all sizes may get in. It’s rare, but there are documented incidents of full-sized bears invading crawl spaces and hibernating there during the winter.

The Solution: Foundation Vent Screens

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION foundation vent guard installed on the side of a brick house by an installer using a yellow drill

Like the soffit screens mentioned earlier, foundation screens are bolted on over foundation vents. They allow air to continue to circulate in the basement or crawl space while preventing small and large animals alike from getting in.

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s selection of foundation vent screens come standard with ⅜” diamond mesh and a stainless steel construction. They’ll keep out anything from squirrels to skunks and opossums to raccoons — even bears.

Critters That May Still Gain Access

It should be clear by now that diamond mesh is great at keeping animals out, but it has a bit more trouble keeping insects out. Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and stink bugs can still get through our foundation screens and into a basement or crawl space. Since foundation vents are near to the ground, you should also be mindful of smaller insects like ants and spiders.

However, similarly to the soffit vents and roof vents, all you need is a little bug screen. Just cut it to fit and attach it along with the foundation vent guard during installation.

Is HY-GUARD EXCLUSION the Right Fit for Your Home?

Keeping your home under control is a war with a lot of battles, and keeping critters out is one of the toughest battles of all. There are so many points of entry for a diverse list of wildlife to make their way through, and accounting for all of them can be overwhelming.

Thankfully, at this point, you should have a good understanding of those entry points and how to barricade them. From here, the best thing for you to do is determine what your house has:

  • A chimney
  • Roof vents
  • Soffit vents
  • Wall (dryer) vents
  • Foundation vents

It’s also a good idea to take an inventory of the local wildlife. Do you have squirrels in your area? Lots of raccoons? Stink bugs? Or different animals and insects altogether?

Once you know your home’s vulnerable spots and are aware of the common types of invasive species in your area, it’s up to you to decide which points of entry you’d like to guard against which species. Finally, take that information to a wildlife control professional in your area. They’re trained in exclusion products, and they’ll be able to install all the screens and guards you need to keep your home pest-free.

Fire Chief FC1000E wood burning furnace on white background

Is a Wood Burning Furnace Right for You?

The majority of homes in the United States use natural gas as their primary fuel source for heat. Of the homes that don’t use natural gas, electricity and propane are the next-most-popular heating energy sources. While wood burning appliances are still around, they’re certainly not as ubiquitous as they once were.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t viable in the right circumstances.

You may have wondered at one point or another whether a wood burning forced-air furnace is right for you. There are a lot of variables, though: do you live in the right climate? Is there a potential for a return on your investment? Is your living space even fit for a furnace? It can be tough to decide whether or not a wood furnace is even worth your while.

As manufacturers of the Fire Chief FC1000E — one of the few EPA-approved residential wood burning furnaces around today — we want to help answer those questions. And we should be clear: our goal is not simply to sell a Fire Chief furnace to every home in the country. Our goal is to help you decide whether a wood burning furnace is even right for you to begin with, and from there, to help you find the right one  — whether it’s a Fire Chief or not.

By the time you’re done here, you’ll know if you should stick to your electric or natural gas furnace, or if you’re the right kind of person to give wood heating a try. And, if you decide you may be interested in a wood burning furnace, we’ll help you start to narrow your focus on the right one to buy.

4 Signs That a Wood Burning Furnace is Right for You

1. You Live in a Cold Climate

Natural gas furnaces work a bit differently than wood burning furnaces. Imagine that a natural gas furnace is like a faucet. As you turn your thermostat up, gas is fed into the furnace. That gas catches fire, and the heat from that fire is distributed into the rest of your home. Once the thermostat’s temperature is met, the gas stops flowing, the fire goes out, and the furnace turns off.

Wood burning furnaces work similarly: they’re attached to a thermostat, and warm air from the burning wood is blown throughout the house. The difference, though, is that you can’t just shut off a wood fire. Even when the blower turns off and warm air stops flowing into the ducts, the furnace itself still radiates heat into the room in which it’s located (because the wood inside is still burning).

Because wood burning furnaces are continuous use devices, they’re best-suited to cold climates, usually areas that have an average temperature of about 50°F or lower. As that heat continues to radiate, it will fight the cold air seeping in from the outside, keeping your home warm.

2. You Have Limited Access to Natural Gas

Natural gas furnaces rely on a vast national infrastructure in order for their fuel to be delivered to the device. The gas follows a series of pipes from the local gas company to a home or business — and that’s not even mentioning the huge undertaking of finding, producing, and processing the gas from its natural source.

Map of Natural Gas Pipelines in the United States

Unfortunately, some areas of the U.S. simply don’t have much (or any) infrastructure to deliver natural gas for heating, as is evident in the image above. These areas need to rely on other methods (like propane or coal) to heat their homes.

If you live in a cold climate and don’t have access to natural gas, a wood burning furnace is a great alternative, especially because good firewood is readily available virtually anywhere in the country.

3. You’ll Save Money (or at Least Break Even)

The price of natural gas varies from state to state, potentially resulting in huge discrepancies in heating costs. Depending on the price of natural gas in your area, the size of your home, and the temperature at which you keep your thermostat, you could wind up paying well over $1,000 on your annual heating bill.

Let’s run through a quick example. On average, our Fire Chief FC1000E furnace costs between $2,500 and $3,000 (let’s say $3,000 for this example). Let’s also assume that you pay $1,500 per year to heat your home with your gas furnace. Finally, let’s imagine you decide to install a Fire Chief furnace, and you end up paying $500 per year for firewood.

You would wind up saving $1,000 per year in heating costs ($1,500 for gas heating minus the $500 you spend on wood), and your $3,000 wood burning furnace would take 3 years to pay for itself.

This example is admittedly oversimplified; for example, it doesn’t take into account the electrical costs of running the furnace’s draft blower and distribution blower, and the cost estimates for firewood and natural gas can change depending on a number of factors.

Still, the opportunity to save money on heating with a wood burning furnace is definitely there. Be sure to plug in the numbers specific to your living situation to see how long it will take to start saving.

4. You Have a Pre-Existing Chimney and/or Ductwork

Like a natural gas furnace, a wood burning furnace can’t function without two vital components:

  1. Air ducts to distribute the heat
  2. A chimney to vent out smoke and other gas

The process of installing a wood burning furnace is a battle in and of itself, but it’s made much easier if your home already has ductwork, a chimney, or both. If you’re replacing a gas or electric furnace, your new wood furnace can simply hook up to the existing ducts and chimney system, saving on time and cost.

DIYers will likely be able to take on this project on their own. But if you don’t feel confident in installing your furnace yourself, have a certified installer do the work. You’ll incur hundreds of dollars more in upfront costs, but you’ll save yourself some huge headaches down the road (e.g., warm air not distributing evenly or correctly, or a home full of smoke from an improper chimney connection).

3 Signs That a Wood Burning Furnace Isn’t Right for You

1. You Live in a Warm Climate

Image of a Desert Climate

Remember: the fire in a natural gas furnace can turn on or off with the simple adjustment of a thermostat. The fire in a wood burning furnace, on the other hand, continues to burn even when the draft blower and distribution blower turn off. For this reason, heat continues to radiate from the furnace even when it’s idling.

This is advantageous in cooler climates — environments where, especially in the winter, a continuous supply of warm air and heat is the goal. In a state like Texas or Florida, though, a wood furnace — even in moderate temperatures — can quickly cause a room (if not an entire house) to overheat.

For this reason, a wood burning furnace may not be the right heating appliance for you if you live in an area where temperatures don’t often fall below 50°F.

2. You Live in an Apartment or a Mobile Home

Wood burning furnaces are, on the whole, designed to go into a house. While they can be used for supplemental heating (in parallel with a natural gas forced air furnace), apartment complexes don’t typically allow tenants any control over which central heating unit is used in their living space. Plus, a wood furnace installation requires a bit of electrical work and ductwork, and you likely can’t (or aren’t allowed to) access the components you’d need to install a wood burning furnace in an apartment.

Mobile or modular homes aren’t a good fit for wood furnaces for a similar reason: in most cases, they lack the robust HVAC system a wood burning furnace requires. The space requirement can be limiting in a mobile home, too.

3. You don’t have the Space for a Wood Burning Furnace

Wood burning furnaces tend to be big and heavy. While their dimensions may be similar (if not a bit shorter in height) than a natural gas furnace — our Fire Chief FC1000E measures 26” x 45.5” x 42”, for example — they’re quite a bit heavier. Most natural gas furnaces weigh around 100 pounds, while the FC1000E weighs 435 pounds.

You need a big enough space to put the furnace in, and the foundation of your domicile needs to be able to support the weight of the furnace over time. For this reason, apartments, mobile homes, modular homes, or houses with a lack of floor support aren’t a good fit for a wood furnace.

It’s also vital to adhere to a wood burning furnace’s clearance-to-combustibles ranges. These are the distances from which the front, back, and sides of a furnace must be kept away from flammable materials like wood, cardboard, or drywall (after all, there’s essentially a live campfire right inside the firebox).

Again, using our Fire Chief furnace as an example, its clearance-to-combustibles are 48” from the front of the furnace, 12” from the rear, and 6” from the sides. If you don’t have a roomy basement or utility closet for a wood furnace, your home may not be right (or even safe enough) for one.

How much does a wood burning furnace cost CTA

What if You’re the Right Fit for a Wood Burning Furnace?

In all likelihood, you came to this article wondering whether or not your living space is right for a wood burning furnace. You should have a good sense of the answer to that question by now based on the climate in which you live, the prices you’ll pay both for gas heating and wood heating, and your existing ductwork and electrical work.

If it sounds like a wood furnace won’t work for you, that’s ok — natural gas, propane, or electrical furnaces are completely viable options. They’re easy to use, and they tend to require less maintenance and attention than a wood burning furnace.

But if you fit the criteria and you’re starting to think about getting a wood burning furnace of your own, a great next step is to start comparing popular wood burning furnace models. This will give you a good sense of what to look for in a wood furnace, the extra features available, what you’re looking at in terms of cost, and so much more.

And, whether you buy one of ours or a different model, we hope you eventually decide to jump into the world of wood burning forced air furnaces if you can. We’re passionate about wood burning products. We build furnaces right here in the USA every day, and we want anyone who’s interested, willing, and able to have a wood furnace that will keep them warm and satisfied for years to come.

HY-C Employees Building Chimney Caps

Custom Chimney Caps: Do You Need One?

A chimney cap serves a humble role. It sits securely atop your chimney, keeping out rain, hail, snow, and even critters. It does its job passively but unceasingly, its sturdy metal frame bolted tightly onto your chimney, braving the elements season after season.

Most people don’t think or know much about their chimney cap. After all, they can last well over 50 years, and homeowners generally only have to consider them in a select few circumstances:

  1. When building a new home
  2. After a problem is discovered with their existing cap
  3. When replacing a cap purely for aesthetic reasons

Because they’re the type of thing you don’t buy often, people tend to have a lot of questions about chimney caps when they actually do have to think about them. One of the most important ones to consider while shopping around is, “Can I buy a standard chimney cap, or do I need a custom-made chimney cap?

Well, we’ve been making chimney caps at HY-C for over 75 years. In fact, our factory floor is no more than a few yards from where this very article is being written. We make a few dependable lines of standard caps, and we also take custom chimney cap orders all the time. We know how to make them, who needs them, and everything in between. And we want to teach you all about it.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about chimney cap sizes. Whether you’re looking for a 5” x 9” rectangular single-flue cap or a multi-flue custom-skirt copper cap, by the time you’re done, you’ll know how chimney cap sizing works, and you’ll understand whether or not you need a custom chimney cap on your home.

Which Standard Sizes Do Chimney Caps Come In?

Think about chimney cap sizes like shoe sizes: when you shop for shoes, do you expect to have to special order them? Probably not — shoes are made in specific, incremental sizes, and unless you have especially small or big feet, the standard sizes will probably work for you.

Chimney caps basically work the same way. Manufacturers make chimney caps in very particular sizes, and we do that because those standard sizes fit most chimney flues around the country. In fact, one of our company owners estimates that 90% to 95% of the chimney caps we sell are standard-sized caps.

Put simply, the only situation in which you’ll need a custom-made chimney cap (outside of aesthetic reasons) is when your chimney flue or crown doesn’t fit within the standard flue or crown size ranges. So in order to understand whether you need a custom cap or not, learning about the standard sizes is a great place to start.

Chimney caps fall into one of four categories:

  1. Single-flue square/rectangular bolt-on
  2. Single-flue round bolt-on
  3. Single-flue round slip-in
  4. Multi-flue

Each type of chimney cap has its own size range, and it’s very likely that your chimney flue (or crown, in the case of a multi-flue cap) falls within the standard size ranges.

Single-Flue Square or Rectangular Bolt-On Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Square Bolt-on Chimney Cap

The bulk of the chimney caps on the market connect directly to your flue tile (the brown pipe that protrudes from the concrete chimney crown). They make this connection one of two ways: they bolt onto the tile or they slip into the tile.

Square or rectangular chimney caps designed to bolt onto a single, square- or rectangular-shaped flue come in a range of sizes. The following table contains standard chimney cap dimensions and the flue sizes on which they fit.

If you have a square or rectangular flue whose dimensions are within the following range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with dimensions between…Need a cap with dimensions of…
3.5″ x 7.5″ to 5.5″ x 9.5″5″ x 9″
7.5″ x 7.5″ to 9.5″ x 9.5″9″ x 9″
7.5″ x 11.5″ to 9.5″ x 13.5″9″ x 13″
7.5″ x 16.5″ to 9.25″ x 18.25″9″ x 18″
9.75″ x 9.75″ to 12″ x 12″11″ x 11″
10″ x 14″ to 12.5″ x 16.25″12″ x 16″
11.5″ x 11.5″ to 13.5″ x 13.5″13″ x 13″
11.5″ x 16.5″ to 13.25″ x 18.25″13″ x 18″
13.75″ x 13.75″ to 16″ x 16″15″ x 15″
16.5″ x 16.5″ to 18″ x 18″18″ x 18″
18.5″ x 18.5″ to 20.25″ x 20.25″20″ x 20″

Single-Flue Round Bolt-On Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Round Bolt-on Chimney Cap

If your chimney flue is round instead of square or rectangular, don’t worry — there are standard chimney caps for you as well. Instead of length and width measurements, though, the cap you need will depend on the diameter of your chimney flue.

The table below will help you to find the chimney cap diameter you need based on the diameter of your round chimney flue. If your flue is within this range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with diameters between…Need a cap with a diameter of…
9.5″ to 10.5″10″
11.5″ to 12.5″12″
13.5″ to 14.5″14″
15.5″ to 16.5″16″
17.5″ to 18.5″18″

Single-Flue Round Slip-In Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Square Bolt-on Chimney Cap

Not all customers want or need a bolt-on chimney cap. For this reason, manufacturers design round caps that slip into the chimney flue instead of being bolted on. The installation process is much easier; you just slide the legs of the cap into the flue, and they’re held in place by tension.

Despite the installation method varying, round slip-in caps essentially fit the same flue sizes as round bolt-on caps (with one additional smaller size available). If your flue has a diameter within this range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with diameters between…Need a cap with a diameter of…
7.5″ to 8.5″8″
9.5″ to 10.5″10″
11.5″ to 12.5″12″
13.5″ to 14.5″14″
15.5″ to 16.5″16″
17.5″ to 18.5″18″

Multi-Flue Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Black Galvanized Multi-Flue Chimney Cap

Multi-flue chimney caps are quite a bit different than single-flue caps. Installers screw these caps directly into the chimney’s crown — the concrete slab poured on top of the masonry and around the flue tiles.

These caps are measured in screen-to-screen dimensions, but it’s important to note that they come with flanges on all four sides of them — metal edges that are perpendicular to the chimney cap’s mesh screen.

The flanges on our multi-flue chimney caps come with pre-drilled holes to make them easier to install. The flanges themselves measure 1.25 inches, meaning they add a total of 2.5 inches to the screen-to-screen length and screen-to-screen width of the cap (since there are two on each side).

Close-up of a multi-flue chimney cap flange

The following table lays out both the screen-to-screen and flange-to-flange dimensions of our multi-flue chimney caps. If the dimensions of your multi-flue chimney’s crown fall within any of the ranges on the table, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Crowns with dimensions between…Need a cap with flange-to-flange dimensions of…Cap’s screen-to-screen measurement (for reference)
14.5″ x 14.5″ to 15″ x 15″12.5″ x 12.5″10″ x 10″
14.5″ x 18.5″ to 15″ x 19″12.5″ x 16.5″10″ x 14″
17.5″ x 23.5″ to 18″ x 24″15.5″ x 21.5″13″ x 19″
18.5″ x 18.5″ to 19″ x 19″16.5″ x 16.5″14″ x 14″
21.5″ x 21.5″ to 22″ x 22″19.5″ x 19.5″17″ x 17″
18.5″ x 25.5″ to 19″ x 26″16.5″ x 23.5″14″ x 21″
18.5″ x 30.5″ to 19″ x 31″16.5″ x 28.5″14″ x 26″
18.5″ x 34.5″ to 19″ x 35″16.5″ x 32.5″14″ x 30″
18.5″ x 38.5″ to 19″ x 39″16.5″ x 36.5″14″ x 34″
19.5″ x 41.5″ to 20″ x 42″17.5″ x 39.5″15″ x 37″
21.5″ x 34.5″ to 22″ x 35″19.5″ x 32.5″17″ x 29″
21.5″ x 39.5″ to 22″ x 40″19.5″ x 37.5″17″ x 35″
21.5″ x 45.5″ to 22″ x 46″19.5″ x 43.5″17″ x 41″
21.5″ x 53.5″ to 22″ x 54″19.5″ x 51.5″17″ x 49″
21.5″ x 57.5″ to 22″ x 58″19.5″ x 55.5″17″ x 53″
21.5″ x 62.5″ to 22″ x 63″19.5″ x 60.5″17″ x 58″
21.5″ x 68.5″ to 22″ x 69″19.5″ x 66.5″17″ x 64″
What Kind of Custom Chimney Caps Does HY-C Offer CTA

What if Your Chimney Falls Outside the Standard Size Ranges?

Before now, you probably knew very little about chimney caps, let alone how to measure one. As you can tell, though, it’s pretty easy: just figure out which one of the four categories your chimney falls into, and check to see whether or not its dimensions can accommodate a standard chimney cap. If you’re like 90% to 95% of people out there, a standard cap will work for you.

If your flue or crown falls outside of the standard dimensions, though, you’ll probably need to purchase a custom chimney cap. If that’s the case, you’re in luck: we make custom-sized chimney caps all the time.

Wondering how to get started? Our customer service team can help you figure out what style, color, and dimensions you’ll need for your custom chimney cap based on your current chimney flue or crown. Reach out today to find the perfect chimney cap for your home.

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Roof Vent Guard Installation


Proper ventilation is essential for any home. Whether it’s air being drawn in through your soffits, into the attic, and out through the roof vents or outlets for appliances like a dryer or fireplace, keeping fresh, clean air is important for the health of the home and the homeowners alike.

Unfortunately, though, ventilation comes with tradeoffs. Ventilation means holes in your home, and holes in your home mean any number of unwelcome guests could creep through. From small or medium-sized animals to crawling, flying, and stinging insects, the last thing homeowners want is for outside wildlife to get inside the house.

The solution to keeping wildlife out comes in the form of exclusion products. And while there are plenty of great brands on the market, at HY-C, we manufacture HY-GUARD EXCLUSION: a line-up of wildlife control products engineered to keep critters out of your home while still allowing that all-important air circulation to take place.

But what kinds of products are in the line? How do they work? And what are they made of? In this guide, we’ll answer those questions (and more) to help familiarize you with what wildlife control products are and what they do. By the time you’re done, you’ll know exactly what kind of pests to keep out and how you can stop them from getting into your home.

What Kind of Wildlife Control Products Does HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Make?

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION products have multiple purposes and keep out all kinds of critters, but each product falls into one of three distinct categories:

  1. Exclusion caps
  2. Exclusion screens
  3. Exclusion guards

Exclusion Caps


Exclusion caps are made exclusively to sit atop chimneys. There are two varieties of exclusion caps: chimney caps, and chimney guards. Chimney caps feature both a solid, metal top that keeps snow and rain out of your fireplace and mesh sides that still allow smoke and gasses to vent out as logs burn.

Exclusion guards are basically the same, but instead of a solid, metal top, they feature a mesh top (and mesh sides). These guards are typically used in areas with low precipitation that require spark arresting, a process in which the tight mesh “catches” sparks to prevent them from floating away into dry vegetation, potentially causing wildfires.

Both chimney caps and chimney guards come with mesh patterns that are tight enough to keep out local animals (and, if the mesh is tight enough, bees and wasps). These caps are often bolted on, preventing animals from ripping them off and making a home in your chimney.

How to Keep Wildlife Out of Your Chimney CTA

Exclusion Screens

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Screen Installation

Exclusion screens are pretty straightforward: they come as a flat “sheet” with a solid, metal frame and a diamond mesh body. These screens go anywhere on your home that have a sizable opening — typically on a soffit or over an opening in the house’s foundation.

Like exclusion caps, exclusion screens are bolted into place, so curious animals won’t be able to rip them off and get inside. Depending on the tightness of the mesh, these screens can keep out decently sized insects, too.

Exclusion Guards

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Guard Installation

Finally, HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s lineup also features a few different exclusion guards. These guards exist to cover vents from products that need to put out some kind of exhaust — products like dryers, fireplaces, or wood burning furnaces or stoves.

Exclusion guards are also bolted onto the house. They may be made from either plastic or metal. While metal is obviously stronger, even plastic guards are capable of withstanding the prying claws of a critter. A tight-meshed guards can keep out small critters or large insects.

Where on Your House do HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Products Go?

HY-GUARD Exclusion Products on House

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION products quite literally cover everything from a home’s roof to its foundation. Whether the opening in the home exists for ventilation purposes or to service the exhaust needs of an appliance, there’s a cap, screen, or guard to cover it.



Starting at the highest point on the home, exclusion caps and guards are bolted onto chimney flues to keep animals out. While there are technically no chimney caps or guards under the HY-GUARD EXCLUSION name, other HY-C brands (like Shelter and Draft King) make chimney products engineered for wildlife control.

Roof Vents


Staying near the top of the house, HY-GUARD EXCLUSION manufactures an entire line of roof vent guards. The vents themselves allow air to circulate through a home’s attic while the guard keeps birds or dexterous mammals from getting into the attic and building their nests.

These roof vent guards are designed with swooping angles to look architecturally pleasing. They also come with pre-cut holes to accommodate screws that go directly into the roof’s shingles so the vent guard stays securely in place.



Plenty of critters (especially raccoons) love to make their homes in soffits. Many soffits come with a layer of hardware cloth built in, but most animals have no trouble ripping off this flimsy mesh and climbing through to set up camp. HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s soffit vent covers are made from galvanized steel, which is significantly harder for animals to gnaw or claw through.

Dryer Vents


The majority of vents that appear on the side of the house are dryer vents, and animals can get into them quite easily. HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s dryer vent covers come either with diamond mesh or code-compliant, vertical bars to keep local animals out of your dryer vent hose.


HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Foundation Screen

It’s important for an attic to breathe, and it’s important for a basement to breathe, too. To prevent stale air from gathering at the base of a home, some houses come equipped with foundation vents to promote circulation.

These areas are very vulnerable to bugs and critters, and HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s foundation vent guards keep these intrusions out while still allowing airflow into the basement.

What Kinds of Wildlife do HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Products Exclude?

HY-GUARD EXCLUSION’s caps, screens, and guards are designed to keep out a large range of animals and insects based on the biodiversity of your local environment. The vast majority of the products are made with stainless steel mesh, and the size of each product’s mesh helps to determine what kind of animals or insects it will exclude from your home.

⅝” Mesh


The widest HY-GUARD EXCLUSION mesh option, ⅝” mesh will keep out larger intrusive animals. Some of the most commonly excluded are:

  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Squirrels
  • Skunks
  • Beavers
  • Birds

It should be noted that bats and mice are not on this list. While ⅝” diamond mesh should keep mice and bats out of your house in theory, in practice, animals are sometimes determined to squeeze through tight spaces. At the end of the day, it is theoretically possible for a bat or a mouse to get through ⅝” diamond mesh.

⅜” Mesh


The next-tightest mesh option, ⅜” mesh represents the threshold at which mice and bats can no longer get in (but insects still can). This mesh size is commonly designed to keep out:

  • Mice
  • Bats
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums
  • Squirrels
  • Skunks
  • Beavers
  • Birds

¼” Mesh


Finally, at just 0.25” in length, this mesh size is engineered to exclude all the critters listed above (and other similarly sized animals) plus medium to large-sized insects. Some of the most common insects kept out by ¼” mesh include:

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Yellow jackets
  • Stink bugs

Keep in mind that while ¼” mesh does keep out some bigger invasive insects, smaller ones (like ants) can still make their way through the cracks.

What Kind of Wildlife Does (and Doesn't) HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Exclude?

Are HY-GUARD EXCLUSION Products Right for You?

Before now, you may not have even known about some of the spaces on your home that were vulnerable to insects and animals. After reading this, you may feel compelled to take a peek at your dryer vent, or to glance up at your soffit to see if it has any vents.

Depending on what you find, you may decide you want some exclusion screens or guards. After all, wildlife control products are designed to be preventative, keeping a bat colony out of your attic or a stink bug infestation out of your basement before it can even begin.

If you decide you want to keep animals and insects out of your house with wildlife control products, your next step should be to contact a wildlife control professional — they’re qualified and licensed to install products like HY-GUARD EXCLUSION.

Keep the ventilation spots we mentioned in mind — spaces like chimney openings, roof vents, soffit openings, dryer vents, and foundation vents. Ask a professional which of these are present on your home, and ask them to find the appropriate screens and guards to cover up these vulnerabilities.

After the installation is complete, you’ll be left with peace of mind and a clean, well-ventilated home that’s set up to minimize pest invasion and maximize comfort.

Fire Chief FC1000E Furnace

How to Install a Fire Chief FC1000E Wood Burning Furnace

The installation of a wood burning furnace is typically a pretty involved process. It can involve hiring a sheet metal fabricator, an HVAC professional, an electrician, and maybe even a mover to get the furnace to its desired location. And if you’re like most buyers, the thought of a self-installation won’t even cross your mind — many people simply defer to the professionals.

If you’re DIY-inclined, though, and you end up buying one of HY-C’s Fire Chief FC1000E furnaces, you’re in luck: we designed it to be about as self-install-friendly as a wood burning furnace can be. So if you’re interested in installing your FC1000E without professional help, you’re in the right place.

By the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll understand the 9 steps of the Fire Chief FC1000E’s installation process, and you’ll be ready to hook your new wood burning furnace up all on your own — no professional assistance required.

9 Steps of the Fire Chief FC1000E’s Installation Process

Step 1: Place the furnace as close to the chimney as possible

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 1

The first step sounds easy: put the furnace where it needs to go. It’s tougher than it sounds, though, as wood burning furnaces are heavy; the FC1000E weighs over 400 pounds, and most wood burning furnaces are installed in basements. Maneuvering the furnace into your house and into place is a delicate process, so do it carefully and thoughtfully (preferably with a dolly).

Installing the chimney flue is critical to ensuring efficient wood burning performance. Note that the connecting pipe from the furnace to the chimney may not have a horizontal run greater than five feet to function properly, so place your furnace accordingly.

It’s also crucial to abide by the FC1000E’s suggested clearance-to-combustibles ranges — the distances from which the furnace must be kept from any flammable materials (like drywall, wood, cardboard boxes, etc.). These distances are as follows:

  • Front of the furnace: 48”
  • Rear of the furnace: 12”
  • Sides of the furnace: 6”

Before moving on to step 2, if you would like to set your furnace on a furnace stand, now’s the time to do it.

Step 2: Attach the distribution blower

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 2

The distribution blower is the big, motorized fan that pushes warm air created by the fire in the firebox throughout the rest of your home. Attaching the FC1000E’s distribution blower is fairly straightforward: the furnace comes with angle brackets, nuts, bolts, and mounting screws.

Just attach the angle brackets to either side of the distribution blower with the nuts and bolts, and then secure the distribution blower to the base of the furnace with the mounting screws.

Step 3: Assemble and attach the filter box

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 3

An air filter helps to protect the distribution blower and circulate clean air throughout your home. In order to add an air filter, you have to assemble the filter box. The box consists of four panels — a bottom panel, a top panel, and two side panels. Each panel comes with pre-drilled holes and sheet metal screws for easy assembly.

Put the filter box together and attach it to the furnace around the distribution blower. After you’re finished installing your furnace, slide an air filter into the filter box. Do note that the FC1000E does not come with an air filter.

Step 4: Install the draft blower

While the distribution blower is the fan that blows hot air from the furnace into the rest of the home, the draft blower is a smaller fan that blows air directly onto the fire to keep it burning longer and hotter. Installing the draft blower on an FC1000E furnace involves 3 steps.

1. Attach the draft blower

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 4.1

The first step is to use the included hardware to mount the draft blower itself onto the front of the furnace (near the ash pan door).

2. Mount the electrical control center

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 4.2

Next, attach the electrical control center to the filter box. Two important components will connect to the electrical control center: a wall thermostat (to help regulate how much heat your furnace puts out), and the distribution blower.

The wall thermostat must be connected with 28-gauge thermostat wire (more on that in a bit). The distribution blower, on the other hand, features “plug and play” electrical components that plug into the control center similarly to a wall outlet.

3. Attach the fan limit control

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 4.3

Finally, attach the fan limit control just to the left of the flue exit. The fan limit control is the mechanism that tells the distribution blower when to turn on and off. It does so by detecting the temperature in the plenum — the open area in the top of the furnace just beneath the two ductwork attachment points.

With these three components installed, the draft blower installation process is complete.

Step 5: Install a thermostat

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 5

Connecting your FC1000E furnace to a thermostat allows the distribution blower and draft blower to know when to turn on and off to deliver (or stop delivering) heat. We recommend installing a new, separate thermostat (included with your FC1000E furnace) next to your current household thermostat.

A lot of this step should already be done for you: if you have a gas or electric furnace in your home, it should be connected to your current thermostat. We recommend running 28-gauge thermostat wire along the same path as the wiring to your existing home thermostat.

From there, just mount your new, Fire-Chief-specific thermostat on the wall next to your existing thermostat, and connect the 28-gauge wire to the new thermostat and your furnace (the connecting points on the furnace are located on the electrical control center from step 4.2).

Step 6: Connect your furnace to a chimney

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 6

When connecting your furnace to a chimney, you have two options:

  1. Connect the furnace to an already-existing chimney
  2. Build a new chimney and connect your furnace to it

Connecting to an existing chimney is common in older houses that have (or previously had) a coal or wood burning stove. Whatever the case, if you’re connecting to an existing chimney, be sure to have it inspected to ensure it’s in proper working order. It’s also very important not to connect your Fire Chief furnace to a chimney that’s already servicing another appliance.

Each homeowner’s chimney connection process will be unique. But whether you’re installing a new chimney or connecting to an existing chimney, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • We encourage lining the chimney with a 6” stainless steel chimney liner (this may be required by law in some areas)
  • The pipe connecting the furnace to the chimney should be a minimum of 24-gauge black stove pipe
  • If you need to install any pipe horizontally, remember that there should be 2” of rise for every 12” of horizontal run

Finally, NEVER use galvanized pipe to connect your wood furnace to your chimney. Doing so will result in the generation of deadly, poisonous gas. Galvanized pipes should be used for air ducting only.

Step 7: Connect your furnace to your ductwork

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 7

Next, it’s time to connect your furnace to your HVAC system. Like the chimney connection, each ductwork connection project will be unique. It’s important to note, though, that the two starter collars at the top of the furnace are eight inches in diameter, which necessitates 8” ducts.

You should never use more than a 45-degree elbow when connecting ducts; this will cause the heat not to be distributed correctly. The distribution air should be connected to the ducts at an angle, and should be directed downstream to ensure proper airflow as well.

Step 8: Connect the cold air return

Fire Chief FC1000E Installation - Step 8

Your furnace’s main function is to distribute heat into your home. Perhaps equally important, though, is to allow air to flow through the filter and into the back of the furnace to keep it functioning properly.

To provide this return air, the simplest option is to promote proper circulation to the area which houses your furnace — usually a basement. There are three good ways to ensure proper air circulation:

  1. Simply leaving the door to your basement open
  2. Installing louvers in the basement door
  3. Installing vent registers in the basement’s return air ducts

If you decide to install vent registers in the basement’s return air ducts, be sure to keep them closed in the summer to allow your air conditioning system to function properly.

If you still have your electric or gas furnace attached to your HVAC system, another option for supplying return air to your Fire Chief furnace is to connect it to the same, already-installed return air system of your existing furnace.

Should you decide to go this route, a word of caution: be sure your existing furnace does not pull your Fire Chief’s heated air into the return air ducts. To prevent this, simply install a damper to the distribution air duct of your existing furnace.

Step 9: Start your first fire

After the electrical components are installed, the chimney is connected, the distribution air ducts are set up, and you’ve ensured your Fire Chief is receiving adequate return air, the installation process is complete! All that’s left to do is plug the furnace into an electrical outlet and start your first fire.

A quick note — if you notice a moderate amount of smoke coming off of your furnace during your first few fires, don’t worry! This smoke is coming from the oils used during the manufacturing process in our factory. The issue should dissipate on its own relatively quickly.

Wood Burning Furnace Best Burn Practices CTA

What if You Have Trouble Installing Your Fire Chief FC1000E?

While this guide should give you everything you need to get your furnace installed properly, we know that every installation is unique. Should you run into any problems, reach out to our customer service team. We’ll be more than happy to help you with any issues you may experience during installation.

SpinAway Web Removal Tool

SpinAway vs. Cobweb Duster: Which is Best to Remove Spider Webs?

If you’re a pest control professional, you know that de-webbing — the removal of spider webs from a client’s home — is an important part of the job. You may not put much thought into your cobweb duster, though; in fact, it’s possible that you’ve been using the same company-assigned spider web removal brush for years at a time without even realizing that there are different options available.

One such option is SpinAway, a drill-powered extendable brush that HY-C manufactures. SpinAway is good for all kinds of cleaning jobs, and, as we’ve used it and tested it ourselves, we’ve been particularly impressed with its de-webbing capabilities.

But is it the right tool to add to your pest control toolkit?

In this article, we’ll compare SpinAway to the classic, tried-and-true cobweb duster. After you’re done reading, you’ll know the pros and cons of each kind of de-webbing tool, and you’ll be ready to decide whether you want to keep using your traditional brush or if you’re the right kind of person to give SpinAway a try.

SpinAway: 3 Cobweb Removal Pros

Click and drag the image above to rotate it. Double-click to zoom in.

1. Automated Spinning Brush Head

When removing spider webs from a home, pest control professionals are taught to rotate their brush to sweep cobwebs away effectively and efficiently. With traditional brushes, this is a labor-intensive process. But SpinAway is designed to do the job for you.

SpinAway is made with a drill bit built into the end of its handle. All you have to do is attach the bit to a drill, extend the brush head to the appropriate length, and pull the drill’s trigger. The brush head will spin, utilizing centripetal force to sweep cobwebs from gutters, downspouts, and eaves — no arm or wrist twisting required.

2. Pain-Free De-Webbing

Pest control professionals know that as the day wears on, cobweb dusting can take its toll. Pushing and spinning that brush head back and forth across multiple houses for hours at a time is demanding on back and arm muscles.

SpinAway takes the torque out of your muscles and transfers it into the drill. All an operator has to do is hold the brush head in place and maintain proper posture. The rotation from the drill provides the cleaning force, giving your muscles a reprieve.

3. Faster Cobweb Removal

Cleaning spider webs from a house with a cobweb duster is a lot like mopping a floor: you have to push back and forth, ensuring you sweep up every web from every surface. De-webbing this way necessitates some overlap in the sections you’re scrubbing, which can add to the time it takes to get the job done.

With SpinAway, there’s no need for the “mop method” of de-webbing; just touch the brush head to the surface of the house, pull the drill’s trigger, and walk a straight line from one corner of the house to the next. The rotating head will catch the webs from all the cracks and crevices of the home with little to no need to go over the same surface twice.

SpinAway: 3 Cobweb Removal Cons

SpinAway Cobweb Removal Extended

1. Requires a Cordless Drill

One of SpinAway’s biggest strengths as a de-webbing tool may also be its biggest weakness to some: to use it to its potential, you’ll need a battery-powered drill. This can mean additional upfront costs ($40 to $100 or more for a drill and $30 to $50 or more for batteries), and if the batteries die or the drill breaks, it goes back to being just like any old cobweb duster.

The saving grace here is that most pest control professionals already have a cordless drill for removing downspouts, drilling holes to add and bait, etc. Even if you do already carry a drill with you on the job, be sure to note that SpinAway is very demanding on the life of your batteries, and it may be necessary to purchase a few extras. Also, keeping all those batteries fully charged will be its own battle.

2. Shorter than Traditional Cobweb Dusters

Classic extendable de-webbing tools clock in at anywhere from 12 to 20 feet long — plenty long enough to remove cobwebs from the exterior of just about any home. SpinAway, on the other hand, extends only to 5 feet in length, falling well short of even average-length cobweb dusters.

If you’re a pest control professional who works mostly on single-story buildings, SpinAway’s length shouldn’t be a problem. In terms of total reach (i.e., the length of the tool itself plus the amount of distance an average user can reach), SpinAway is good for about 10 feet. If you’re de-webbing two-story houses or other taller structures, though, the extra length of a traditional cobweb duster may be better for you.

3. Price

SpinAway retails for about $60. Other comparable cobweb dusters typically cost somewhere from $30 to $45, and that’s without even factoring in the cost for a drill and batteries, which can easily add at least another $50.

SpinAway Drill Brush an Honest Review CTA

Is SpinAway the Right Web Removal Tool for You?

Before now, you may not have given much thought to your cobweb duster. Now that you’re aware of SpinAway and its de-webbing capabilities, you may be wondering whether or not it’s the right tool for you.

If you’re looking to keep a low budget, you don’t already have a cordless drill, or you need to de-web two-story houses on a frequent basis, SpinAway may not be the right cobweb duster for you.

But if you have some money to spare, you already have a drill and some batteries, or especially if other de-webbing tools have been causing you pain in your back, hips, or arms, you may want to give SpinAway a try. It’s light, it’s quick, and its rotating brush head does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, keeping you fresh for the next job.

Liberty Foundry Co. Fireplace Grate

How Much Do Liberty Foundry Co.’s Fireplace Grates Cost?

After years of use and abuse from roaring fires, your fireplace grate may be a little worse for wear, especially if it was a middle-of-the-road model. Maybe it’s time for a new one. But a fireplace grate is something you don’t (and shouldn’t have to!) buy very often. So the question is, “How much should I pay for a new grate?”

HY-C manufactures several styles of fireplace grates. Just one of our brands, Liberty Foundry Co., has a few distinct varieties available. In this guide, we’re going to break down the cost of each of our Liberty Foundry Co. fireplace grates. We’ll explain the factors that determine the cost of our grates and, even if you don’t think a Liberty Foundry Co. grate is the right choice for you, you’ll be able to use this pricing guide as a measuring stick against other popular brands on the market.

The Two Big Factors That Determine the Cost of a Fireplace Grate

There are a few things that determine the cost of a fireplace grate. With so many grates on the market — some of which may cost as little as $50 and others as much as $300 or more — it’s natural to wonder why there’s such a big price gap.

And while the factors that determine the cost of a fireplace grate are relatively complex, for the purpose of this guide, we’re going to focus on two of the biggest: grate material and grate size.

1. Grate Material

There are two common fireplace grate materials: cast iron and steel. Steel is the more expensive option of the two, as it’s stronger, has a higher melting point, and takes more time and energy to shape and mold.

As an example, our Sampson G500-20 cast iron grate measures 18” x 15” x 7.5” and costs around $100. Our similarly-sized Steel Bar Grates G200-18 is made of steel, measures a comparable 18” x 15” x 7.5”, and costs around $125.

2. Grate Size

The second major factor that affects the price of a fireplace grate is its size. It’s a pretty simple concept: bigger grates require more material to make, so they cost more than smaller grates made from the same material.

Our Franklin G Series consists of four cast iron grates, all with a similar, basket-style shape. The only difference between them is their dimensions. The Franklin G16 measures 15” x 9” by 5” and costs around $115, while the Franklin G27 measures 27” x 13” x 5.25” and costs upwards of $200. Bigger dimensions mean more material which means a higher cost.

Liberty Foundry Co. Fireplace Grates Pricing

Liberty Foundry Co. manufactures six lines of fireplace grates:

  1. The Franklin G Series
  2. The G800 Series
  3. The G1000 Series
  4. The G500 Sampson Series
  5. The GT SAF-T-GRATE Series
  6. The Steel Bar Grate Series

The price of each grate is determined (among other factors) by its size and the material from which it’s made. Please note that while the following price ranges are fairly accurate, prices may differ from retailer to retailer.

The Franklin G Series

Liberty Foundry Co. Franklin G Series Fireplace Grate

These one-piece, flat-bottom, basket-style fireplace grates are made from cast iron and feature a pained black finish. The Franklin G Series is available in four sizes, and their price increases with size. The G17, G22, and G27 models are also available with a longer four-inch clearance height, which provides more room toward the bottom to accommodate log lighters.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
G1615 inches$90 to $120
G1717 inches$100 to $140
G2222 inches$110 to $160
G2727 inches$160 to $200

The G800 Series

Liberty Foundry Co. G800 Series Fireplace Grate

The G800 Series consists of three styles of grates: the G800-20, G800-24, and G800-27. All three basket-style grates are made of cast iron, and they come standard with a 4” leg clearance length. They feature a painted black finish and are available in three different sizes.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
G800-2020 inches$100 to $125
G800-2424 inches$125 to $150
G800-2727 inches$130 to $175

The G1000 Series

Liberty Foundry Co. G1000 Series Fireplace Grate

Made from heavy-duty cast iron, the G1000 Series consists of two curved, basket-style fireplace grates models. Both grates in the series come standard with a 2.5” leg clearance, but they’re also available with a 4” leg height to offer some more room to light the fire and scoop out ashes. The longer-legged models cost a bit more than the standard versions.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
G102424 inches$220 to $240
G1024 (with 4” legs)24 inches$220 to $245
G102828 inches$230 to $250
G1028 (with 4” legs)28 inches$230 to $260

The G500 Sampson Series

Liberty Foundry Co. G500 Sampson Series Fireplace Grate

The G500 Sampson Series is one of our most robust lines of fireplace grates. These cast iron grates feature a curved design, allowing logs to roll down the grate as they burn and for new, fresh logs to be added on top. They’re modular, too; if you need to elongate your grate, you can purchase an eight-inch-wide extension section and add it to any of the five models.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
G500-2018 inches$100 to $105
G500-2422 inches$115 to $130
G500-2826 inches$135 to $160
G500-3230 inches$160 to $180
G500-3633 inches$170 to $190


Liberty Foundry Co. GT SAF-T-GRATE Series Fireplace Grate

Our GT-SAF-T-GRATE Series puts the highest emphasis on safety of any of our grates. They’re very similar to the G500 Sampson series, only bulkier, ensuring embers stay on the grate and don’t fall out of your fireplace. All three models are made from cast iron and feature a self-feeding design to keep old logs rolling down and fresh logs coming in.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
GT-1817 inches$170 to $185
GT-2223 inches$200 to $215
GT3030 inches$220 to $245

The Steel Bar Grate Series

Liberty Foundry Co. Steel Bar Grate Series Fireplace Grate

As its name implies, our Steel Bar Grate Series is made of steel — the only line of Liberty Foundry Co. grates not to be made from cast iron. These bar-style grates feature an ember guard mesh, ensuring burning wood stays on the grate and in your fireplace. There are four sizes available in the series, each with a black, painted finish and 4.5” of leg clearance.

ModelFront WidthRetail Price
G200-1818 inches$110 to $130
G200-2424 inches$130 to $150
G200-2727 inches$140 to $160
G200-3030 inches$150 to $170

Should You Get a Liberty Foundry Co. Fireplace Grate?

That entirely depends. With prices from $100 to $250, our grates tend to be more expensive than other models on the market. One of the problems with those other models, though, is that as time goes on and you use your fireplace more and more, grates made from more budget-friendly materials tend to wear and warp. In some cases, the grate may even break into pieces.

While they’re certainly more of an investment up front, Liberty Foundry Co. grates feature durable metals perfect for those who use their fireplace often. If you only light two or three fires per year, a cheaper grate may be perfect for your circumstances.

The cost of a fireplace grate is probably a topic you rarely (if ever) think about. And when it comes time to buy a new one, you may be left feeling like you have no idea what you should pay.

Now that you have some decent insight into how much a high-quality grate will cost, shop around to see if you can find one with the features to fit your budget. And if you want to give a Liberty Foundry Co. grate a try, we’ll be happy to help you find a distributor.

Fire Chief FC1000E Wood Burning Furnace

How Much Does a Wood Burning Furnace Cost?

Choosing the right wood burning furnace can seem like an overwhelming, logistically complex process. The purchase tends to involve dozens of variables and hundreds of questions, but the one we hear most often from our customers is, “How much will this cost?” After all, the cost of the furnace itself is half the battle; installing the furnace brings a whole slew of additional options (or hurdles) that affect its price.

At HY-C, our furnace-making operations take place in the same building as our office. From the price of raw materials to a furnace’s function and features, we know exactly what goes into building a wood burning furnace from the ground up. We do it every day.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand — from the price of the unit itself to its installation — how much a wood burning furnace may cost you. We’ll also outline the pertinent questions to ask your installer to help avoid cost-related surprises during a consultation.

How Materials Affect the Price of a Wood Burning Furnace

The price of a wood burning furnace essentially boils down to two distinct factors: the cost of the furnace itself, and the cost of the furnace’s installation. The cost of installation can vary widely, and we’ll touch on that in a bit. For starters, though, let’s talk about the attributes that determine the cost of the actual furnace.

At its core, a wood burning furnace is just a big steel box. The price of steel tends to be volatile; many factors — especially the COVID-19 pandemic — have caused wild fluctuations in the price of steel during the early 2020s. 

For example, at the beginning of 2016, a ton of rebar steel cost about $1,800. By October of 2021, the same amount of the same steel cost nearly $6,000. As you dive into the buying process, keep an eye on the price of steel, as its current rate could impact how much you pay for your furnace.

Some wood burning furnaces may use more steel in their construction than others. Furnaces with thicker steel fireboxes, solid cast iron doors and grates, and other high-quality components will demand higher prices. The upside of a higher price, though, is durability (especially if you operate and maintain the furnace according to the manufacturer’s recommendations).

How EPA Regulations Affect the Price of a Wood Burning Furnace

EPA Wood Burning Furnace Regulations

In 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency issued new performance standards for residential wood burning furnaces. In order to meet the new EPA requirements, furnaces became more complex than ever. The design of the furnaces, the location and size of their intake ports, the airflow throughout the furnaces, and the additional technology to control these (and other) factors can all potentially drive costs up.

Getting a wood burning furnace EPA-approved can add to their cost, too. On average, companies pay about $100,000 to get their wood burning furnace through the process from start to finish. This cost includes permits, fees, research and development, and any other odds and ends associated with the stringent review process.

Companies have no choice but to pass these costs onto consumers since, as of 2017, all new wood burning furnaces need to be EPA-approved. If a company sells 1,000 furnaces a year on average and spends $100,000 to get their furnace approved, they’ll have to add $100 onto the retail price of their furnace to recuperate some of that cost.

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How Labor and Location Affect the Price of a Wood Burning Furnace

Wood Burning Furnace Construction

Once the raw materials are gathered, they need to be assembled into a finished, fully functional wood burning furnace for your home. Like any other product, the nuances of this process have an effect on the final price tag. Today, the United States, Canada, and China are the three most common manufacturers of EPA-certified wood burning furnaces.

Manufacturers in the United States and Canada utilize expensive, skilled labor to assemble their wood burning furnaces. The “Made in USA” sticker is a well-recognized stamp of quality; just be aware that it tends to come at a higher cost. Parts manufactured overseas tend to utilize less expensive labor and lower-quality materials to help keep their prices low. Bear in mind, too, that overseas cost savings may be offset by tariffs and additional freight costs.

After taking tariffs, transportation, steel, and labor into consideration, a furnace made in the USA or Canada costs (on average) about 30% more than a furnace made in China.

Two Additional Features that Impact the Price of a Wood Burning Furnace

A wood burning furnace may just seem like a big, self-contained steel fireplace, but there’s much more to them than that. They come with a variety of bells and whistles that affect how much they cost, how conveniently they operate, and how cleanly they burn. Here are two common features of wood burning furnaces that have an effect on their pricing.

1. Firebox Material and Capacity

Fire Chief FC1000E firebox

The firebox is the portion of the furnace that houses the burning wood. The material from which the firebox is made determines how well-insulated and durable it is, and most fireboxes are made either from firebrick or high-temperature insulation wrapped in stainless steel.

Firebrick absorbs heat, while insulated stainless steel keeps the heat contained in the firebox, ready to be transferred to the hot-air plenum. Both materials are durable and long-lasting, but not without their issues; firebrick can chip and crumble, while stainless steel might become dented over time.

The capacity of the furnace’s firebox is an important consideration, too. Measured in cubic feet, firebox capacity indicates how much wood a furnace can hold. Bigger fireboxes take more material, resulting in a higher price.

2. Blower System

Fire Chief FC1000E distribution blower

As the fire burns in the furnace’s firebox, warm air needs to be pushed out in order to heat the house or building. The furnace does this by way of a distribution blower, a high-powered fan that forces warm air from the hot-air plenum above the firebox into the air ducts (and, subsequently, into each room of the home). The power of a distribution blower is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the blower’s CFM, the more warm air it can push out of the furnace.

Bigger distribution blowers tend to entail higher price points. A blower with 1,800 CFM has about 40% higher capacity than an 1,100 CFM blower and, as a result, effectively costs about 40% more.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Wood Burning Furnace?

Fire Chief FC1000E duct collars

After you find the right furnace with the right features that meet your needs and budget, the final step is to install it in your home. We do not recommend attempting to install a wood furnace yourself. Instead, you should hire a professional to install your furnace. With that in mind, the question naturally follows: “How much does it cost to install a wood burning furnace?

Coming up with a definitive price is difficult; every home is unique, every furnace is different, and every installation professional charges different rates. As a helpful starting point, there are some good questions to ask, as their answers will determine the cost of your furnace’s installation. Keep these questions (and their answers) handy for your consultation with your installer of choice (and, if you don’t know the answers, be sure to ask your installation professional):

  • Are you replacing an existing furnace or installing a new one?
  • Do you have an existing HVAC system that your new furnace will be supplementing?
  • Will you need to install additional ductwork for return air?
  • Do you have an existing chimney or flue?
  • Where will your thermostat be installed, and what additional obstacles does its installation entail?

Remember, installation prices may vary from region to region, installer to installer, or furnace to furnace. That said, we can offer an estimated range based on years of experience with furnace installations:

  • The lowest-cost, best-case scenario is that of a home with existing ductwork and an existing chimney or flue. Installing a furnace in this situation may cost as little as $300 to $500.
  • Furnaces without an integrated plenum require custom sheet metal work. These installations may cost between $300 and $800.
  • If your furnace installation requires new ductwork or a new chimney, you could pay as much as $3,000 to $8,000.

Is a Wood Burning Furnace Right for You?

The purchase and installation of a wood burning furnace is clearly not an easy process. From the materials, the size of the firebox, the capacity of the distribution blower and more, there are a lot of complicated variables to consider.

By now, though, you should have a clear idea of which features to look out for, what affects the price of a furnace, and how much its installation will cost. To get an idea of how two furnaces compare and contrast with each other, it’s good to compare two popular models, like the HY-C Fire Chief FC1000E furnace and US Stove’s HB1520 furnace.

And even if you don’t buy either of those furnaces, you’ll still come away with a good understanding of the process of shopping for a wood burning furnace. That will put you well on your way to finding a whole-home wood burning heating solution.

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LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit In Use

The Top 3 Dryer Vent Cleaning Kits: Compared

You’ve almost certainly cleaned your dryer’s lint trap. But have you ever cleaned the vent hose? It’s a harder task, but it’s vital to perform — lint buildup in a dryer vent can lead to a fire in your laundry room that can quickly spread out of control.

Many people hire a professional cleaner, but DIY dryer vent cleaning is becoming a popular alternative. We should know — we own LintEater, the first retail dryer vent cleaning kit designed specifically for homeowners. And though we were the first, we’re not the only ones on the market anymore; plenty of other impressive dryer vent cleaning kits have hit the shelves since LintEater. But, with so many options available, which kit is right for you?

Let’s take a look at three rotary dryer vent cleaning kits: LintEater, Lint Wizard, and — far and away the most popular manufacturer on the market — Holikme. We’ll compare them along five different attributes:

  1. Rod length
  2. Rod material
  3. Rod attachment style
  4. Accessories
  5. Price

By the time you’re done, you’ll understand the ins and outs of what makes a rotary dryer vent cleaning kit work. You’ll also have a sense of the similarities and differences between three of the top kits on the market so you can find the right kit for your cleaning needs.

What Is a Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit?

LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit Diagram

Residential dryers have a vent hose attached that runs from the back of the dryer to the exterior of the home. Think of the dryer vent hose as the “exhaust pipe” of a dryer. Clothes can’t dry unless the moisture has some place to escape through, and that place is the dryer vent hose.

Over time, clothing lint inevitably gets sucked into the dryer vent hose and accumulates. The lint trap is supposed to help prevent this buildup, but lint traps can’t catch everything. Lint buildup in a dryer vent hose is very dangerous. Dryers get hot, and if lint gets near the dryer’s heating elements, that’s a house fire waiting to happen. In fact, there are nearly 16,000 dryer-related fires per year in the United States that result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

A rotary dryer vent cleaning kit is designed to help you clean the lint out of your dryer’s vent hose. These function primarily by way of three components:

  1. Extension rods
  2. A brush head
  3. A drill (not sold with the kits)

To operate the kit, just attach as many extension rods as necessary to your drill (enough to reach through the entire length of your vent hose), connect the brush head to the extension rods, insert the rods and brush into your dryer vent, and power on your drill. The rotating brush head will scrape lint out of the dryer vent as you push it in and out.

Comparing the Top 3 Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kits

So, it’s clear that you should clean your dryer vent. Hiring a professional is always a viable option, but it also tends to be more expensive than if you were to do it yourself. And if you want to do it yourself, you need a dryer vent cleaning kit.

But which kit should you buy? One of the three top dryer vent cleaning kits on the market — LintEater, Lint Wizard, and Holikme — is a good place to start.

Let’s compare and contrast these three kits, taking a look at the length of their connector rods, the material of those rods, the method by which the rods attach to each other, the accessories included in each kit, and, finally, the price of each kit.

Rod Length

Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit - Rod Length

In the world of rotary dryer vent cleaning kits, a good rule of thumb is, “The longer the rod length, the better.” Shorter rods mean more connection points, and more connection points make the column of rods less stable as they spin. Longer rods are gentler on dryer vents, easier to operate, and offer superior cleaning results.

The Lint Wizard and Holikme kits offer 24” rods, while LintEater is the only dryer vent cleaning kit that offers 36” rods. And while the “Longer is better” rule of thumb is true, shorter extension rods are viable options for cleaning short, straight dryer vent hoses. So be sure to choose a kit with rods appropriate to the length of your dryer vent hose.

Rod Material

Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit - Rod Material
Demonstration of the flexibility of nylon dryer vent cleaning kit rods

There are two materials that dryer vent cleaning kit rods are made from: plastic or nylon. Nylon is very flexible, which is advantageous — dryer vent hoses tend to twist and bend at all angles to extend from the dryer to the dryer exhaust vent. Flexible nylon rods have no trouble bending to follow the path of the dryer vent hose.

Plastic rods, while somewhat flexible, are a bit more rigid, and can break off and become stuck deep in the vent hose as a result. This could damage the vent hose, and the process of retrieving a broken extension rod can be frustrating.

Holikme kits and Lint Wizard kits come with plastic extension rods, while LintEater kits feature nylon rods. Despite their versatility, nylon rods do come with a glaring downside: they’re more expensive than their plastic counterparts (sometimes twice as expensive as kits with comparable lengths).

Rod Attachment Style

Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kits - Rod Attachment Style

Dryer vent cleaning rods attach to each other in one of two ways: they can screw into each other, or they feature a spring-loaded, button-style locking mechanism. The button-style attachment (pictured above) is much more secure. It ensures the rods stay solidly locked in place during the cleaning process.

The threaded, screw-style method, on the other hand, is a bit more limiting. Because of the way the screw rods are threaded, you can only set your drill to spin clockwise. Counter-clockwise cleaning may cause the rods to become unscrewed from each other, resulting in wobbly rotation or even causing the rods to become disconnected from each other entirely, getting stuck in the dryer vent.

Holikme dryer vent cleaning kits are made only with screw-style extension rods. The Lint Wizard kits use only button-style extension rods. LintEater uses a mix of button and screw-style rods — the original LintEater and the LintEater extension kit use screw-style connections, and the LintEater Pro uses button-based connections.


Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning Kits - Accessories

Dryer vent cleaning kits can come with a slew of accessories, some of which you may want, and some of which may just pad the price of the kit. Aside from the extension rods and the brush head, common accessories include:

  • A narrow lint brush attachment for cleaning lint traps
  • A vacuum adapter to vacuum out your dryer vent
  • A claw-like blockage removal attachment to help extract large clumps of lint
  • A lint-catching bag to attach to your home’s exterior vent to collect extracted lint

Holikme makes 14 different dryer vent cleaning kits, some of which come with just the bare-bones essentials while others come loaded with additional accessories.

LintEater and Lint Wizard kits come with vacuum adapters, lint trap brushes, and blockage removal tools. If you’re looking for a single, all-encompassing option, LintEater and Lint Wizard have you covered. Holikme, on the other hand, offers a great balance of accessory-heavy kits and cost-effective choices with just the essentials.


The four features above (rod length, rod material, rod attachment style, and accessories) are the factors that determine the price of a dryer vent cleaning kit. Kits can cost as little as $17 to as much as $45, and their prices vary between the big three manufacturers.

Holikme is both the most cost-effective and most expensive manufacturer of dryer vent cleaning kits. They make their kits in 15-feet, 25-feet, 30-feet, 40-feet, and 50-feet options. You can buy their rod-and-brush-only kits from $17 to $36 (depending on the length you need), or you can buy a 30-feet, 40-feet, or 50-feet kit with additional accessories for $30 to $44 (again, depending on length).

15 feet30 feet30 feet (12-pc.)40 feet40 feet (12-pc.)50 feet50 feet (12-pc.)
Holikme rotary dryer vent cleaning kits pricing table

Lint Wizard’s options are a bit more straightforward: they sell a small duct cleaning kit for $15 and a large duct cleaning kit for $27. These kits are a great middle-of-the-road option from a price perspective, and they both come with the same number of accessories.

Small DuctLarge Duct
Lint Wizard rotary dryer vent cleaning kits pricing table

LintEater offers both the original LintEater and the LintEater pro for $33 and $41, respectively. Both kits come with identical accessories. We also offer a smaller, more streamlined LintEater Junior with just two, 18-inch extension rods for $19, and the LintEater Pro Jr. (with button-style connection points) for around $21.

LintEater Jr.LintEater Pro Jr.LintEaterLintEater Pro
Gardus’s LintEater rotary dryer vent cleaning kits pricing table

Which Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit Is Best for You?

So much of the answer depends on how your dryer is situated, how long its vent hose is, and how often you use the dryer. Your conditions may require a high-end, heavy-duty kit, or you may just need a bare-bones kit with few to little accessories.

The good news is that by now, you should have a great idea of which kit you need and what kind of features it should come with. After you decide, you’ll be ready to keep your dryer vent hose clean, lint-free, and safe from catching fire.

HY-C Liberty Foundry Co. Fireplace Grate

How Much Does a Fireplace Grate Cost?

You probably don’t think much about your fireplace grate. After all, it’s just a metal rack that holds burning firewood. But when the old grate that’s been in your house since you bought it begins to deteriorate, or when you decide to have a fireplace installed in your home, you suddenly realize two things: firstly, you need a new fireplace grate, and secondly, you (probably) have no idea how much they cost.

The short answer is that a typical fireplace grate costs anywhere from $100 to $250. But why the three-figure discrepancy? What determines the price, and how much should you actually spend?

In this guide, we’ll clear up all the confusion and lean on our decades of fireplace grate manufacturing experience to explain what drives the cost of a grate up or down so you can make an educated buying decision.

Top 3 Fireplace Grate Cost Factors

1. Materials

Materials are at the heart of the variables that determine the cost of a fireplace grate. Premium metals like stainless steel and cast iron provide exceptional durability, corrosion resistance, and longevity. Stainless steel in particular is strong and resistant to rust, while cast iron offers excellent heat retention.

Mild steel and coated steel fireplace grates, on the other hand, are budget-friendly alternatives to higher-quality metal grates. Just keep in mind that these materials may lack longevity; mild steel tends to be susceptible to rust, while burning firewood may eventually remove the coat on a coated steel grate over time.

2. Metal Thickness

Along with the metal itself, its thickness (or gauge) plays a role in determining the cost of a fireplace grate. Grates made from thicker metal are sturdy and durable. They also stand up against warping under heavy loads and burn-through — the process where, over time, burning wood actually splits the metal of the fireplace grate in half, effectively ruining it.

There’s no question that grates made from thinner metal offer a lower upfront price tag — a potentially attractive option depending on your budget. The downside of thin fireplace grates, though, is that they’re less durable. They may experience warping, bending, or burn-through. If that’s the case, it may be time to buy a new grate a little sooner than you’d expected.

3. Customization and Standardization

Some customers may prefer for their fireplace grate to have a unique design or an intricate pattern. Some fireplaces may have non-standard dimensions that require a customized fireplace grate. In either case, these custom grates usually require additional resources, design expertise, and production flexibility from the manufacturer, resulting in a higher price tag.

It’s much easier (and more cost-effective) for a manufacturer to produce standard-sized fireplace grates. With fewer and more consistent sizes to make, manufacturers can streamline the production process and reduce cost, passing the savings on to consumers.

Why Are Some Company’s Fireplace Grates More Expensive?

As you shop around, you may find that some company’s grates cost more than others. That may seem confusing at first, but there are three big reasons for the discrepancies: the quality of the grates, the manufacturer’s reputation in the industry, and the features the grate comes with.

Premium Quality

Like any other product in any other industry, some manufacturers put more effort into the quality of their fireplace grates than others, and they demand a higher price for their grates as a result. Utilizing top-notch materials, applying meticulous craftsmanship, and creating grates with exceptional performance standards drives up the cost of those grates. These manufacturers may also invest in innovation and research & development for their fireplace grates, passing those costs onto their customers.

Brand Reputation

Sometimes, you pay a little more for the name. Established companies with a strong industry reputation command higher prices for their fireplace grates. Their history of reliability, customer satisfaction, and proven quality come with higher buyer confidence — and a higher asking price.

Exclusive Features and Technology

Though they may seem humble and straightforward, there’s more to a fireplace grate than just a few pieces of metal. Some grates feature advanced airflow designs to keep flames from faltering. Some grates are designed with heat distribution systems, ensuring an efficient burn that pushes radiated heat where it’s supposed to go: into the home. Still other grates come equipped with unique safety mechanisms that prevent embers from spilling out of the firebox. These innovative features and technology are nice to have; just remember that they’ll drive up the price of the grate.

Why Are Some Company’s Fireplace Grates Less Expensive?

On the flip side of the cost coin, some companies do a stellar job producing more cost-effective fireplace grates. How do they pull it off? It boils down to three things: cost-effective manufacturing processes, simplicity in the design of their grates, and appealing to a more general market.

Cost-Efficient Manufacturing and Simplicity in Design

Some companies have their manufacturing processes down to a science. Optimizing production, minimizing overheads, and leveraging economies of scale allow for competitive pricing options and more savings for consumers.

There’s beauty in simplicity — and there’s also cost reductions. Producing fireplace grates with less complex designs that come in standard sizes results in a much more straightforward manufacturing process. You, as the homeowner, will pay less for these grates as a result.

Targeting a Mass Market

Not everyone needs a fancy fireplace grate with all the bells and whistles attached. In fact, most consumers will opt for a grate that prioritizes functionality over premium features. Manufacturers implement lower prices to target these budget-conscious consumers in order to attract a wider customer base — a win-win for the buyer and the seller.

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How Much Should You Spend on Your Fireplace Grate?

If you didn’t think much about your fireplace grate before, do probably do now. The materials, the technology, the features, the quality — they’re what determine the cost of the grate, and they’re what you should look out for when you’re making your purchase. Make sure you go over your options with these ideas in mind to find one that fits your budget and your wood-burning needs.

Luckily, after you buy your grate, there’s not much left to do. A bit of simple assembly may be required, but from there, just set it in your fireplace, throw some logs in, and enjoy the crackling comfort. In the meantime, be sure your fireplace has the right chimney cap on top; it will go a long way toward keeping animals out of your chimney and fireplace gasses venting correctly.

HY-C Stove Board

How Much Does a Stove Board Cost?

Why are the two largest stove board manufacturers located just a few miles apart near St. Louis, Missouri? The story starts many years ago when there was only a single manufacturer of lightweight stove boards. After many ups and downs, that company went bankrupt.

Their top salesperson went to work for Imperial Manufacturing Group, and he built a huge stove board business through his established connections to retailers. But the original company’s equipment (heavy presses and molds & tooling) went up for auction, and HY-C bought that equipment. We subsequently launched what became the second-largest stove board operation in America.

Stove boards have always had a humble but critical role: they keep your house or cabin from burning down when loose embers fall out of your wood stove or fireplace. But despite how important they are, the casual observer may be a bit surprised by how much a stove board costs.

So we’re going to explain how steel and backing material determine the price of a stove board to give you a better sense of precisely what you’re getting for your hard-earned money. We’ll also outline the prices of one of our lines of stove boards to give you a sense of how much you can expect to spend.

How Steel Affects the Price of a Stove Board

It’s easy to question why a product made of such thin steel is so expensive. The answer goes all the way back to the steel mills which produce the basic, raw steel. Steel mills manufacture a range of steel sizes and shapes from thick, heavy sheets to very thin gauges of steel coils. Regardless of the result, steel mills charge for their steel by the pound.

A truckload of quarter-inch-thick steel has relatively few sheets, and those sheets are relatively easy to make. A truckload of high-grade, comparatively thin steel coils, on the other hand, is made with ten times as many square feet of steel as the quarter-inch-thick sheets. Here’s the factor that affects price: both truckloads weigh the same (i.e. their volume differs, but their mass does not). Manufacturers pay steel mills by weight rather than by square footage, so mills prefer to produce thicker grades of steel and avoid producing thinner grades.

Even still, our buyers have great relationships with the mills, and the mills are willing to create thinner grades of high-quality material at a much higher price per pound. The bottom line is that the steel that goes into a stove board “feels” more expensive than it should proportionally to other, heavier steel products that weigh more but cost less.

How Backing Material Affects the Price of a Stove Board

First and foremost, a stove board is a safety device for your home or cabin. And in order to earn the top industry-standard stove board safety rating, the key lies in the quality of the backing material of the stove board.

Both Imperial Manufacturing Group and HY-C use the same backing product: a mineral board produced by USG (formerly United States Gypsum Company) that will not burn under any conditions. The effectiveness of our stove boards is measured in terms of R-value.

R-value is the measurement of how well a material resists the flow of heat — the higher the rating, the more insulation the material provides. For reference, a four-inch-thick layer of brick has an R-value of 0.8. Our stove boards’ mineral backing material features an R-value of 1.56, reflecting its ability to protect surfaces from heat.

If you’ve ever tended to a fire in a fireplace, you know that as the wood burns, the fire can shift, and hot coals or embers may roll out onto a combustible floor or carpet. Our stove boards, made from a combination of steel and the mineral board backing material, shield carpet, flooring, and even walls both from loose embers and the sustained, intense heat coming off the bottom or back of a wood stove.

How Much Do HY-C’s Stove Boards Cost?

Liberty Foundry Co. Stove Boards in Black, Woodgrain, and Slate Gray

Two HY-C brands account for the bulk of our stove boards: Liberty Foundry Co. and Shelter. Before we dive into pricing, it’s important to note that stove boards fall into two categories: type 1 and type 2. Simply put, both types provide protection from embers, but type 2 stove boards provide additional heat protection (meaning that the floors or walls they cover won’t get nearly as hot as they would if they were covered with a type 1 stove board).

The Liberty Foundry Co. collection of EmberGuard stove boards all fall into the type 1 category, while Shelter stove boards may come in either type 1 or type 2. Our stove boards are all made from steel and the mineral backing material; the primary factor that determines price differences is the dimensions of the boards themselves. This table of type 2 Shelter stove boards should give you a general idea of how much you can expect to pay for a stove board based on its size (keep in mind that each board is 1 inch thick):

Stove Board DimensionsApproximate Retail Price
18 inches x 48 inches$95 to $105
28 inches x 32 inches$115 to $125
36 inches x 36 inches$140 to $160
32 inches x 42 inches$165 to $185
36 inches x 48 inches$190 to $210
36 inches x 52 inches$215 to $235
40 inches x 48 inches$230 to $260
48 inches x 48 inches$250 to $270

Stove board pricing varies from retailer to retailer (and from manufacturer to manufacturer), but this table should give you a general idea of what to expect. Each Shelter stove board comes in three distinct colors: black, wood grain, and gray slate. These colors are for aesthetic purposes only; they have no effect on the heat-resistant or fire-resistant performance of the board.

Which Stove Board Is Best for You?

If you have a wood furnace or stove, the risk of not having a stove board far outweighs the price of getting one. Even a small, loose ember that pops free can completely burn a house to the ground if it lands on a combustible surface.

Whether you utilize a lightweight stove board made by one of the big two stove board manufacturers or, alternatively, a heavy-duty tile/aggregate/cement stove board (which are highly expensive but also very attractive), by now you have all the information you need to choose the right one for you. All that’s left to do is find the perfect fireplace grate and your wood burning appliance will be set up for comfort, convenience, and safety.

Rocky Raccoon

How to Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

Raccoons, squirrels, birds, bats — at some point or another, you may encounter any one of these critters in your chimney. Their presence can disturb your living space, cause costly damage to your chimney or fireplace, and at worst, curious or frightened wildlife may find its way into the rest of your home.

HY-C’s HY-Guard exclusion products have been protecting homes from nuisance wildlife for decades, and our chimney caps have been on top of flues for over 75 years. In the category of keeping animals out of chimneys, there’s nothing we haven’t seen.

In this guide, we’ll outline how a chimney works, which animals get into them, and how they manage to sneak in. We’ll also explain how a good chimney cap can go a long way towards keeping critters out of your chimney to help you keep your chimney — and your home — protected.

Parts of a Chimney

It’s important to visualize the components that make up your chimney so you can see both where critters get in and where they set up camp. A traditional fireplace is made up of several components, including the firebox, a damper, a smoke shelf, a smoke chamber, the masonry, and a flue. A standard chimney typically looks something like this:


The firebox is what you see when you look into a fireplace from inside your home. Lined with firebrick, it’s where you burn the wood in your fireplace. The damper is an adjustable steel or cast iron plate at the top of the firebox, and its job is to regulate airflow through the firebox, into the smoke chamber, and up through the chimney. Behind the damper sits the smoke shelf — a flat area at the base of the smoke chamber designed to prevent reverse airflow (i.e., backdrafts) into the firebox. The smoke shelf also helps to protect the firebox from water, debris, or wildlife that makes its way down the chimney.

Atop the smoke chamber, the flue is the exit from which smoke and hot gas escape the chimney. It’s supported by the masonry of the chimney and it extends upward through the building, through the roofline, and ends at some level above the shingles.

The flue is the most common entry point wildlife uses to get inside a chimney, either intentionally to create a nest or by accidentally falling in. Critters may also enter the actual chimney structure through flaws in the masonry, missing mortar joints, or other external damage. Smaller wildlife can get in through openings at the base of the chimney if the flashing is faulty. Decay and extensive weathering on older chimneys may offer still more points of entry for local fauna.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets into a Chimney?

Squirrel on fence

Raccoons are infamous for using the chimney as a maternal den site; a female raccoon can easily climb up and down the inside of a flue. Normally, a mother raccoon births her babies (called “kits”) on the smoke shelf of a fireplace, so that should be the first place you check if you hear critters in your chimney.

Squirrels, bats, and birds can also get into the flue. Unlike raccoons, squirrels can’t climb back up the slick flue tile, and bats and birds have trouble navigating the narrow smoke chamber. Chimney swifts are a notable exception, though. These aptly named birds can fly vertically and have no issues making their home in a chimney. Swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and require special permits for removal.

In some cases, small animals might be able to enter through the cracks and crevices in the masonry or flue tiles. These infestations — usually flying squirrels or bats — are sometimes hard to recognize, but typically easy to exclude with regular maintenance.

What Are the Signs of Wildlife in Your Chimney?

There are two sure signs of wildlife inside a chimney: noises and odors. Noises like scratching, clawing, or just general movement indicate that there may be an animal on top of the damper or the smoke shelf. If the damper was left open, the culprit will likely be staring you in the face from your firebox (or even running around your living room). Chirps or chittering are usually indicative of birds or raccoons.

Odor normally suggests raccoons as well, but most homeowners can pick up the scent of a long-term bird roost and the droppings that come with it. If the odor is particularly foul, the critter may not have survived its time in your chimney. In this case, your priority shifts from animal capture to carcass removal.

How to Inspect Your Chimney for Wildlife

Starting an inspection is easy enough; all you need is a flashlight to peek into the firebox to check for wildlife. Inspecting the smoke shelf is a little more difficult. Visual access to the shelf is difficult, so you’ll need both a light and a camera. From the roof, you can use a strong light source and look down the chimney flue for critters, or you can lower a camera down the flue and play the footage back later. It’s important to note that we do not recommend climbing onto your roof. Leave all roof-level inspections to a professional wildlife control operator.

As the flue is being inspected for wildlife and nesting material, be sure to inspect the chimney itself for any signs of damage, blockage, cracks, weathering, or creosote buildup. Repairing these problems will not only keep future wildlife from getting in, but will also ensure an efficient chimney that functions properly. To really keep wildlife out of your chimney, though, nothing beats a top-of-the-line chimney cap.

How a Chimney Cap Can Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

If you don’t have a chimney cap, getting one is an absolute necessity. First and foremost, they keep animals and debris from entering the chimney flue and creating blockages and fire hazards. They also prevent downdrafts and rainwater from getting into the chimney flue.

A chimney cap can also improve the chimney’s draft, helping it to vent smoke and gas more easily. Caps made from galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper are popular choices because they are aesthetically pleasing, and because nuisance wildlife can’t gnaw through them or rip them off the flue.

It’s important to consider the mesh size of your chimney cap, too. ¾” mesh is common on most caps, but homes in some parts of Oregon and California require ⅝” mesh by law (to stop sparks from escaping and causing forest fires). Mesh size is a balancing act; the mesh needs to be small enough to prevent small animals from accessing the flue, but large enough to allow smoke and gas to escape to stop creosote from building up or ice from forming.

How Do You Keep Pests Out of Your Home CTA

Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

The idea of an unwelcome animal making a home in your chimney is unsettling. By now, though, you understand how your chimney works, what kind of animals tend to get into it, how to check for those animals, and how to keep them from accessing your flue in the future.

The best thing to do now is to find the right chimney cap with the best functions and the right aesthetic for your home. Once it’s in place, you won’t have to worry about a family of raccoons living on your smoke shelf anymore.

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