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Prevent Chimney Fires with US Chimney

A recent house fire in our area was caused by flames igniting creosote, a harmful residue present in the smoke produced by burning wood that accumulates on the flue. This dangerous incident could have been prevented.

This winter, take proactive steps to keep your family safe by contacting US Chimney. Let us help you prevent becoming another statistic.

A firefighter on the scene provided the following insight: “I strongly recommend an inspection using a camera. Installing a metal liner in the chimney is the best solution to avoid worrying about mortar degradation.” Contact US Chimney today for comprehensive chimney services.

Fires require three elements to burn: heat, fuel, and oxygen. Chimneys coated with even a thin layer of 1/8-inch of creosote provides flames with ample fuel to become dangerous.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and cleaning. Our professional team is here to keep your home and family safe.

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Secure Your Chimney Now for the Next Season!

One common question we often receive is: How often should I have my chimney cleaned? The simple answer is once a year.

According to the National Fire Protection Association Standards, it is recommended to have your chimney, fireplaces, and vents inspected annually.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests that open masonry fireplaces should be swept once they have accumulated ⅛” of sooty buildup, or sooner if there is glaze in the system.

Another theory is to clean your chimney after burning every two cords of wood.

At US Chimney, our recommendation is to have your chimney cleaned annually. Even if you don’t use your fireplace or stove frequently, an annual chimney inspection provides professional insight into the condition of your heating systems, venting systems, chimneys, stoves, and furnace flue. This inspection offers peace of mind regarding the safety of your home during the winter months.

As a homeowner, you might not be able to identify a ⅛” buildup, but you can certainly tell when the season has changed and it’s time to bring in a chimney sweep to inspect and potentially clean your chimney, fireplace, and/or stove. If you rely on wood as your primary source of heat, you might consider a mid-season chimney cleaning after burning two cords of wood.

Contact us today to schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning. We are here to ensure the safety and functionality of your chimney.

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Are You Unknowingly Harming Your Family?

The smoke emitted by your solid fuel appliance contains a variety of harmful particles, including volatile organic compounds and carcinogens. This smoke not only pollutes the air inside your home, but it can also have negative effects on the surrounding environment. Prolonged exposure to these harmful particles can lead to serious respiratory problems for you and your family.

To ensure the safety of your home and loved ones, it is crucial to rely on the expertise of trained and certified professionals, such as US Chimney, for chimney sweeping and maintenance services.

At US Chimney, our team of trained and certified experts is equipped to handle all your chimney needs. With full insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home and family are protected during any necessary chimney work.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take proactive steps to safeguard your family’s health and well-being.

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Don’t Ignore Chimney Cracks

If you notice water running down the flue or leaks in the attic, these are telltale signs that your chimney may have underlying problems. It’s important not to ignore these signs, as doing so can lead to further damage to your chimney.

While chimneys come in various shapes and sizes, the majority of them, even newer ones, are still constructed using traditional methods with brick and mortar masonry. While advancements have been made in chimney design and safety, the fundamentals of chimney construction have remained largely unchanged over the past few centuries. As a result, the porous nature of the brick and mortar material can lead to water absorption, which gradually degrades the masonry. Protecting your chimney against the elements is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your home.

To ensure the longevity and safety of your chimney, it’s essential to address cracks and other issues as soon as they are detected. Contact us today at (516) 605-1074 for professional chimney repair services. Our team is here to assist you and keep your chimney in optimal condition.

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Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide

Similar to fire, carbon monoxide poses a deadly threat. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible toxic gas that claims the lives of approximately 400 people per year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, many more individuals experience sickness as a result of carbon monoxide exposure.

While carbon monoxide poisoning can occur due to malfunctioning home appliances and heating systems, poorly maintained chimneys can also be a source. The chimney and chimney connector serve as the exhaust system for furnaces. If debris is blocking the chimney, carbon monoxide can accumulate inside the house.

One of the most important rules for fall chimney maintenance is to install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors both inside and outside of bedrooms. It is crucial to replace the batteries in these detectors each season and regularly test their functionality. If a detector is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced to ensure continued effectiveness.

By taking these precautions, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of carbon monoxide. Contact us for professional chimney maintenance services and any further assistance.

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Basic Safety Tactics for Your Chimney and Fireplace

Once your chimney has received the all-clear, it’s important to follow these basic safety tactics to ensure a safe environment for your chimney and fireplace:

Clear the Area: Keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of paper and debris. While it may be tempting to place decorations close to the fireplace during the holidays, it’s important to keep them at a safe distance.

Use a Wire Mesh Screen: If your fireplace doesn’t have a glass door, make sure to use a wire mesh screen to prevent sparks and embers from escaping.

Burn Seasoned Hardwoods: Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for at least six months to a year. Avoid burning “green” wood, as it creates more creosote. Refrain from burning your Christmas tree (pine can create more creosote) and never throw wrapping paper, boxes, or trash into the fireplace.

Clear the Area Near the Chimney: Ensure that the area near the chimney is clear. If you have trees hanging over the house near the chimney, make sure branches and leaves are at least 15 feet away to minimize fire hazards.

Install a Chimney Cap: Cap your chimney with a top that has wire mesh along the sides. This will help keep out rain, snow, birds, and other critters that may be roaming around on the roof.

Burn Wood Smartly: Avoid burning too much wood at once, as it can lead to chimney cracks and the risk of creosote build-up. Burn wood on a grate placed near the back of the fireplace for optimal burn control.

By following these simple safety tactics, you can enjoy your chimney and fireplace while ensuring the safety of your home and loved ones. Contact us for any chimney services or questions you may have.

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Don't Neglect Chimney Maintenance in the Summer: Why it's Important to Maintain Your Chimney Year-Round

Timing Is Everything: Summer is the time of year when we experience the heaviest rainstorms. By catching minor cracks or repairs early on, you can prevent costly floods. Scheduling a chimney sweep in the summer allows you to beat the rush of fall and ensure timely service. Avoid the difficulty of trying to schedule a chimney service when everyone on your street realizes they need one at the same time.

Why Should I Get My Chimney Swept? Regular chimney sweeping is crucial because as you burn wood in the fireplace, a layer of smoke residue called creosote begins to build up on the surfaces inside your chimney. This creosote is highly flammable and can lead to a dangerous chimney fire if too much builds up. Additionally, routine chimney sweeps can extend the life of your flue system. Creosote and soot contain corrosive chemicals that, when combined with moisture buildup, can prematurely corrode your flue system. By getting your chimney swept regularly, you can mitigate this risk.

Don’t wait until fall to think about chimney maintenance. Take care of your chimney this summer to avoid potential risks and ensure the longevity of your chimney system. Contact us for professional chimney maintenance services.

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Why a Functional Chimney Cap is Essential

A chimney cap is an essential component of your chimney system. Here are five reasons why you need a functional chimney cap installed:

Reduces Moisture: A chimney cap will keep rainwater from coming down your home’s chimney and potentially damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers, and chimney mortar joints. Moisture from rainwater can also produce mold and mildew and create costly damage. We offer professional chimney cap installations that can help prevent these issues.

Keep out animals: Wild animals like birds, raccoons, and squirrels often attempt to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these critters will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying, which can introduce maggots, flies, and unpleasant odors into your home. A properly installed chimney cap, sized accurately, will prevent animals from entering the chimney area.

Block Downdrafts: A chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts, which can occur when the wind is blowing in a particular direction. Without a chimney cap, if you’re using a wood-burning fireplace, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home.

Stop Sparks and Embers: Chimney caps are also referred to as spark arrestors, as they prevent lit embers or sparks from traveling up the chimney and landing on the roof, which could catch it on fire.

Prevent Debris Build-up: Chimney caps prevent leaves, branches, twigs and other debris from entering a chimney, preventing build-up and expensive damages.

Don’t wait until it’s too late; get a chimney cap installed today. Contact us for more information on professional chimney cap installations.

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Tips for Safe and Efficient Wood Burning: A Guide for Fireplace Owners

Before burning wood in your fireplace, it is essential to have it inspected by a reputable company such as US Chimney Corp. Our experts can inspect your fireplace and chimney to ensure safe and efficient wood burning. Contact us for more information.

To minimize the expense and environmental impact of indoor wood-burning, follow these tips recommended by the American Lung Association:

Only burn seasoned firewood. Never burn painted or treated wood, plastics, glossy magazines, particle board, or plywood as these materials release toxic chemicals into the air, which can be harmful to your health and damage your fireplace.

Allow at least a year for your wood to fully cure before you burn it. This will give the wood enough time to dry completely. You can check if the wood is ready by hitting two pieces together. If you hear a sharp crack, the wood is ready to burn. If you hear a dull thud, it’s not yet ready.

Split your firewood into pieces with diameters of 4-6 inches. Wood dries from the surface inward, so splitting helps the wood dry out faster. The more surface area exposed to the flame, the better the wood will burn.”

By following these tips, you can ensure efficient and safe wood burning while saving money and reducing your environmental impact.

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Common Causes of Chimney Leaking

Cause #1: Rain Entering from the Top
Chimneys without covers are susceptible to rainwater falling directly into them. It’s important to install a chimney cover to not only keep rain out but also prevent birds, animals, and debris from entering. The primary benefit of a chimney cover is to keep the chimney clear because blockages can lead to CO poisoning.

Cause #2: Cracks in the Chimney Crown
The chimney crown, the cement part on top of the chimney, is designed to prevent rain and snow from entering around the flue liners. When cracks develop in the crown, water can seep through them and cause leaks. It is crucial to address these cracks to maintain a watertight seal. Learn more about chimney cleaning to keep your chimney in good condition.

Cause #3: Leaks due to Condensation
Gas fumes, especially at lower temperatures, contain a significant amount of moisture. In an oversized or cold chimney, these fumes can condense on the inside, leading to constant moisture on the bricks. The implementation of a chimney liner can effectively resolve this issue and prevent further leaks.

Cause #4: Problems with Chimney Flashing
Flashing is used to prevent water from entering where the brick structure intersects with the roof or comes close to it. If the flashing is not properly sealed, there is a gap that water can easily flow through. Oftentimes, aluminum flashing is used and sealed with waterproof “stuff,” such as tar. While tar is not the ideal choice, it is frequently used for this purpose.

Addressing these common causes of chimney leaks is crucial to maintain a dry and safe chimney system. If you’re facing any of these issues, it’s recommended to consult professionals for appropriate repairs and solutions.