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Fall chimney maintenance and proper cleaning are key steps to keeping your family safe and warm as the temperatures drop. Neglected chimneys accumulate creosote, a combustible byproduct of charred wood, along their walls. Add to that a high internal flue temperature and you’ve got a potentially dangerous chimney fire on your hands.
The best way to avoid a house fire caused by the fireplace or chimney is to hire US chimney sweep to inspect for cracks and loose bricks. We can also clean your chimney. Chimney inspections are typically broken down into three categories.
Level 1 is a standard, annual inspection for chimneys that have no major changes to investigate. The chimney inspector will examine the interior and exterior, as well as the chimney connection. The general soundness of the chimney will be examined, and any obstructions will be noted.
Level 2 is an inspection that follows a change in fuel type or changes to the shape or materials in the flue.
Level 3 is rare. These inspections are conducted when a hazard is suspected. Typically, part of the building or chimney is removed to examine the chimney thoroughly.
Once your chimney gets the all-clear, you should follow some basic safety tactics when it comes to your chimney and the vicinity of the fireplace or woodstove:
• Keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of paper and debris. It can be tempting during the holidays to place decorations close to the fireplace, but keep them at a safe distance.
• If your fireplace doesn’t have a glass door, use a wire mesh screen.
• Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for six months to a year. “Green” wood creates more creosote. Don’t burn your Christmas tree (pine creates more creosote) or be tempted to throw wrapping paper, boxes, or trash into the fireplace.
• Keep the area near the chimney clear. If you have trees that hang over the house near the chimney, make sure branches and leaves are at least 15 feet away.
• Cap your chimney. A top that has wire mesh along the sides will keep out rain and snow, birds, and other critters that might be running around on the roof.
• Think small. If you try to burn too much wood, the chimney can crack and you run the risk of creosote build-up. Burn wood on a grate placed near the back of the fireplace.
Like fire, carbon monoxide can be a deadly threat. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible toxic gas that kills about 400 people per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and sickens many more.
While carbon monoxide poisoning can result from poorly functioning home appliances and heating systems, it can also come from poorly maintained chimneys. The chimney and chimney connector serve as a furnace’s exhaust system. If debris is blocking the chimney, carbon monoxide can accumulate inside the house.Perhaps the most important rule of all when it comes to fall chimney maintenance is to install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors inside and outside of bedrooms. Replace the batteries each season and test the detectors regularly. If the detector is more than 10 years old, replace it.
One thing most people don’t think about in the summer is getting their chimney cleaned. It just doesn’t seem to be that important among vacation time and keeping the kids busy. However, it is the best time of the year to get this chore done and out of the way and here are three reasons why.
1. No wait time, you are first in line to have your chimney swept.
2. The early bird gets the discount – Check out our Summer Special. https://uschimney.com/coupons/
3. Sweeping early reduces odors.
The take away is there are some very good reasons to get your chimney cleaned during the summer months. Why don’t you make that call and just get this one chore out of the way right now.
Just because summer is coming, does not mean you do not need to maintain your chimney
Timing Is Everything
Summer is the time of year when we get the heaviest rain storms. A costly flood can be preventable if minor cracks or repairs are caught early enough.
Timing a chimney sweep for summer will help ensure you can beat the rush on chimney sweep services that can occur during the first cold snap of fall. It may become more difficult to schedule a timely chimney service once every home on your street decides they need one at the same time.
Why Should I Get My Chimney Swept?
Getting your chimney routinely swept is important because a layer of smoke residue called creosote begins to build up on the surfaces inside your chimney as you burn wood in the fireplace. Creosote is highly flammable and can cause a full-out chimney fire if too much of it builds up in your chimney.
Having your chimney swept regularly can also extend the life of your flue system. Since creosote and soot contain corrosive chemicals, they can combine with moisture buildup to prematurely corrode your flue system. Routine chimney sweeps can help mitigate this risk.
Don’t Ignore Chimney Cracks
Water running down the flue or leaks in the attic are telltale signs that your chimney may have underlying problems. While some may try to ignore the situation, doing so can lead to further damage.
While chimneys come in all shapes and sizes, the vast majority of even new chimneys are still made the old fashioned way, out of brick and mortar masonry. While chimney design and safety have come a long way, the fundamentals of chimney construction have changed little in the past few centuries. And over time, the porous brick and mortar material will absorb water, which degrades masonry. Ensuring that your chimney is protected against the elements is one of the best things you can do for your home
Contact us today (516) 605-1074
Now is the time for that chimney
Are you unknowingly harming your family?
The smoke that your solid fuel appliance produces is full of harmful particles, including volatile organic compounds and carcinogenic. Smoke can foul up the air both inside and out, and exposure to the stuff can cause serious respiratory problems.
Always use a trained and certified chimney sweep such as US Chimney to keep your home and family safe.
We are trained and certified with full insurance for your protection.
Now is the time of year to secure your chimney for the next season!
One of the most common questions we get is: How often should I have my chimney cleaned? The quick answer is every year.
The National Fire Protection Association Standards say you should have your chimney, fireplaces and vents inspected once a year.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept once they have ⅛” of sooty buildup or sooner if there is glaze in the system.
Another theory is to clean your chimney after every two cords of wood.
We at US Chimney recommend annually. Just because you don’t use your fireplace or stove very much, an annual chimney inspection gives you professional insight into all your heating systems, venting systems, chimneys, stoves and furnace flue. This inspection provides you peace of mind toward the safety of your home for the winter months.
As a homeowner, you might not be able to identify whether you have a ⅛” buildup, but you surely know when the season has turned and it is time to bring in your chimney sweep to inspect and possibly clean your chimney, fireplace and/or stove. If you are burning wood as your sole source of heat, you might consider a mid season chimney cleaning after you’ve burned two cords of wood. Contact Us Today!
Prevent Chimney Fires with US Chimney!
A firemen on scene had the following to say “I strongly suggest an inspection with a camera,” Patterson said. “The best bet is having a metal liner in the chimney so we don’t have to worry about mortar going bad.” Contact US Chimney today.
A fire feeds off heat, fuel and oxygen.
Chimneys coated with as little as 1/8-inch of creosote give flames ample fuel.
Chimney Liner Installation
In need of a new Chimney Liner Installed? Chimney Liners (Flue) often crack or corrode with age if not Installed properly by a licensed Chimney Liner Installation Company. We always install modern stainless steel liners for optimal functionality and they are guaranteed to last. Read more about our Chimney Liner Installation Here
US Chimney provides Chimney Inspections to prevent any major problems in the future. Whether your chimney has not been used in years, or you have it cleaned annually, chimney inspection is a good preventative measure to protect your family and home. Most of the times problems are minor, such as small masonry cracks that can be fixed in minutes; but cracked mortar in vulnerable areas can be a serious fire hazard. Our experienced chimney professionals can identify and resolve these problems easily. Find out More About our Chimney Inspections
Wood Burning Tips
Before you burn wood in your fire place you should have your fire place inspected by a company like US Chimney Corp. We can inspect your fireplace and chimney and ensure you are burning wood as efficiently and safely, as possible. Contact Us for more info.
- Only burn seasoned firewood. Never burn painted or treated wood, plastics, glossy magazines, particle board or plywood. These materials release toxic chemicals into the air that can damage your fireplace, and be harmful to your health.
- Give your wood about a year to fully cure before you burn it. This allows enough time for the wood to completely dry out. You can test it by hitting two pieces together. If you get a sharp crack, the wood is ready to be burned. If you get a dull thud, it is not ready yet.
- Split your firewood. Wood dries from the surface inward, so splitting helps it dry much faster. Split your wood into 4-6 inches in diameter. The more surface area is exposed to the flame, the better the wood will burn.
Why you need a functional chimney cap this time of year.
1. Reduces moisture
A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew. We Do Chimney Cap Installations.
2. Keep out animals
Animals like birds, raccoons and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these critters will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
3. Block downdrafts
If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
4. Stop sparks and embers
Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
5. Prevent debris build-up
Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.
Is your Chimney leaking? Here are common reasons why
#1 The Simplest Cause of Chimney Leaking: Rain Going Straight In from the Top
It’s not hard to picture that. Chimneys without covers get a lot of rain falling straight down into them. A chimney cover makes sense to most people. Not only does it keep the rain out, but keeps birds, animals and debris out. The greatest value of the chimney cover is really keeping these out because when chimneys get blocked at the bottom, people get sick (or even die) from CO poisoning.
#2 Many Chimney Leaks are from Cracks in the Chimney Crown
cracked chimney crown
The chimney crown is the cement part on top of the chimney. The bricks go up around the tile flue liners, but at the top you need something to stop the rain and snow from just falling in around the tiles. You can see that the very purpose of the chimney crown is to keep rain out. . When your crown has cracks, the water goes right through those cracks. Find Out More About Chimney Cleaning.
#3 Chimneys Leaking From the Inside Out from Condensation
damage from chimney condensation
Gas fumes are very low temperature and have a lot of moisture in them. These fumes were condensing on the inside of this too-large, too-cold old chimney, literally soaking the bricks and keeping them moist all the time. All it took was a chimney liner and we solved the problem.
#4 Chimney Flashing Causes Leaks bad chimney flashing
The flashing is what keeps water from going into the place where the brick structure comes through the roof (or otherwise comes close to the roof.) There’s a fairly large gap between the bricks and the roof and water will pour through that hole if it’s not sealed up. Flashing is often aluminum that goes in between a couple bricks and bends to go on top of the shingles. Some sort of water proof “stuff” seals those spots. Though it’s far from the best choice, the “stuff” is often tar.