Chimney Care Company's Blog
The Chimney Care Company has frequently told you how important it is to have your chimney professionally inspected annually to guarantee that your fireplace and chimney system operates correctly and safely. The average annual chimney inspection is generally the most basic Level 1 inspection, but if you are buying or selling a home, you should let us know this information when you schedule your appointment so that we can prepare to provide you with the more detailed Level 2 inspection. This level of inspection is also known as a real estate chimney inspection and will give more in-depth information about the fireplace and chimney system to assure everyone that everything functions properly. The chimney sweeps employed by our company are all certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and this means they have been trained to perform the three different levels of inspections that were established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in its code NFPA 211, the Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances. Our sweeps can thoroughly examine the condition of your chimney no matter which level of inspection it needs.
Can you explain the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 chimney inspections?
During a Level 1 chimney inspection from The Chimney Care Company, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps examine all of the accessible parts of your chimney system, including the firebox, the flue, the chimney cap, and the chimney crown. To ensure nothing is causing the chimney system to function unsafely or inefficiently, our chimney sweeps look out for any problems, including cracks and gaps in the masonry and the liner, blockages of the flue, accumulations of creosote deposits, and rusting and corrosion. Everything involved in a Level 1 chimney inspection is also part of a Level 2 real estate chimney inspection. This level of inspection also includes an examination of the attic, basement, and crawl space. Our chimney sweeps will also address all proper clearances from combustible materials in a Level 2 chimney inspection.
Why would I need a Level 3 chimney inspection?
Whenever our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps find a possibly hazardous problem that needs a deeper inspection, a Level 3 chimney inspection will be recommended. In a Level 3, our sweeps will need to take a closer look at the less accessible areas of your chimney, and this may require us removing doors, drywall, and even parts of the chimney itself and using specialized tools and equipment. We understand that a Level 3 chimney inspection sounds destructive, but we want you to remember that safety is our top priority. You do not want to buy a home with an unsafe fireplace and chimney system. In order to resolve safety issues and hazardous situations, a Level 3 chimney inspection is necessary.
Are you buying or selling a home? Contact The Chimney Care Company to schedule an appointment for a Level 2 chimney inspection.
When you’re sitting in front of a cozy fire, the last thing you’re likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney. However, if you don’t give it some thought before you light that next fire, your enjoyment may be very short-lived. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which can damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people. These fires can burn explosively, causing flames and/or dense smoke to shoot from the top of the chimney. However, slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have enough fuel to be as dramatic or visible, but the temperatures they reach are very high and can cause just as much damage to your chimney’s structure.
THE FORMATION OF CREOSOTE
You’re probably asking yourself, “what exactly is creosote, and how, exactly, is it dangerous to allow it to accumulate inside my chimney?” It’s fairly easy to explain really. Your fireplace was designed to safely contain and expel the byproducts of the combustion process. As these byproducts exit the fireplace and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. When the condensation dries, it gradually hardens, taking the following forms: stage 1 creosote (velvety soot), stage 2 creosote (porous and crunchy), and stage 3 creosote (shiny, rock-hard glaze).
THE PROBLEMS WITH STAGE 3 CREOSOTE
The buildup of Stage 3 creosote is denser and harder than brick, and firmly adheres itself to your chimney’s inside walls, becoming a second skin. Chimney brushes can’t sweep it out and more serious abrasives that would be strong enough to break the glaze would, more than likely, damage the chimney itself. Fresh layers of creosote can build up rapidly, accumulating quickly when previously deposited layers of creosote don’t dry completely. These newly formed layers insulate the older layers from the heat of the rising wood exhaust, which eventually dries them and creates a heavy buildup of sticky creosote that eventually solidifies completely; this results in a rock-solid layer of creosote is often referred to as glaze. Increased amounts of creosote are formed from burning unseasoned softwoods in your fireplace than properly seasoned hardwoods as well.
The improper burning and/or venting of airtight wood-fire byproducts cause the conditions for excessive creosote accumulation to occur. To be more specific, stage 3 creosote deposits will form when there is a draft problem, when green or wet wood is burned, or when the draft control is set too low, which causes your fire to smolder. Stage 3 creosote removal is crucial, as it helps reduce the likelihood of a chimney fire.
Creosote becomes dangerous when it is allowed to accumulate in your chimney because it turns into a fuel source for a possible deadly chimney fire. Unfortunately, the build up of creosote can never be avoided completely; however, burning small, hot fires and using dry, seasoned wood can minimize the buildup. During your annual chimney inspection and sweeping appointment, the CSIA-certified professionals at The Chimney Care Company will come out to assess the situation and will prescribe the proper course of action to cure your chimney’s creosote woes. We will also clue you in on what caused the buildup in the first place and can suggest ways you can prevent future buildups.
A great fireplace, stove or insert not only adds value and warmth to your home, it’s a natural focal point for entertaining purposes. If you’re having a hard time picturing your guests sipping cocktails around your current hearth, it may be time for an updated unit. Lucky for you, summer is the perfect time to update your fireplace, stove or insert with the help of the professionals at The Chimney Care Company. We would love the opportunity to help you transform your outdated hearth into a stunning piece of art and/or a conversation piece for guests once again.
A LITTLE GENERAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Half of all American homes (approximately 55 million) have at least one fireplace or freestanding stove, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Fireplaces rank among the top three features desired by new homebuyers, after outdoor porches and upgraded kitchens. Fifty-nine percent of those homeowners consider the fireplace to be a major design feature of their home, and 73 percent of wood-burning fireplace owners say they use them to enhance the home’s atmosphere. An outdated hearth, however, can detract from the overall appeal of your home.
WE CARRY A VARIETY OF BEAUTIFUL STOVES AND FIREPLACES FOR EVERY TASTE AND SPACE!
After a brutally cold winter, many of us here in Ohio are just glad it’s starting to warm up (although we have to admit there are some people who would be satisfied living on the frozen tundra year round). Regardless of which category you fall into, we’ve got a home heating appliance for you! If you’re one who’s fond of saving money whenever possible, our showroom specials were tailor-made for you. We have an assortment of fireplaces, inserts and stoves and are sure to have something to your liking!
If pellet stoves or inserts are your thing, we’ve got something for you. If you’d prefer a wood-burning stove, insert or fireplace, we’ve got you covered, too. If gas stoves, inserts or fireplaces are more to your liking, we’ve got just the thing for you as well. You honestly can’t go wrong by making a trip to our showroom to get up close and personal with all of our great fireplaces and stoves. We carry a wide variety of quality appliances, and in our 20+ years in business, we’ve kept a focus on finding and recommending only the industry’s most reliable and beautiful products. There’s sure to be something that’s right up your alley!
As you can see, your tired fireplace can easily be taken from drab to fab in a relatively short amount of time (depending on the overall scope of your particular project). If you’re considering having a new appliance installed, The Chimney Care Company can help you from start to finish. We’ll advise you on types of units that will meet your needs and suit your space and the fuel that will best suit your lifestyle and preferences. Contact our team today to and let our experts help you find a great value. You won’t be disappointed in our expert workmanship, professional service or your new fireplace or stove, as all will bring you years of enjoyment!
Laundry is part of life’s weekly grind, but did you know that dryers cause roughly 2,900 home structure fires, 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in direct property loss in the U.S. each year? What’s more, the majority of dryer fires happen in the fall and winter months, with the peak being in January. The most common cause of dryer fires is failure to do a thorough cleaning. Because a lint trap is not a foolproof method for catching all the fuzzy stuff in your dryer, lint can gradually build up and catch fire in the heating element or exhaust duct. Many people are under the impression that cleaning these vents isn’t all that important. Unfortunately for them, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
RECIPE FOR A HOUSE FIRE
Clogged dryer vents are an accident waiting to happen. A partially obstructed vent filled with lint can cause increased drying times and waste energy while a blocked vent can lead to a fire. There are numerous warning signs that will indicate that you have a dirty dryer vent: your clothes are still damp after a complete drying cycle, there’s excessive heat buildup in your laundry room, and/or your dryer is used frequently. One of the ways—perhaps the best way—to decrease the chances of a dryer fire in your home is to simply clean your lint trap before or after every laundry load of clothes.
LINT BUILDUP IS COSTLY
Aside from the inherent danger of fire, buildup of dirt and lint in the dryer vent can also significantly increase your energy consumption, thereby costing you more money. The increased energy usage is due in large part to your dryer taking more time to dry your clothes because of the blockage; it has to work twice as hard to accomplish the same amount of work. Possible signs that a dirty or clogged dryer vent may be to blame include: your dryer no longer dries the clothes in one cycle, your clothes carry a musty smell after a full drying cycle, your dryer seems to run hotter than normal, a visible amount of lint is noticed around the lint filter, and debris is noticed within the dryer vent opening on the outside of your home.
CLEANING DRYER VENTS IS A MUST!
To avoid this potentially dangerous buildup in your vents, following a predetermined maintenance schedule is important. The majority of dryer vents need to be cleaned at least once a year; some dryer ducts need more frequent attention. Some determining factors include: the number of people who are using the same dryer, the age and condition of the dryer, and the length of your dryer vent. The best way to ensure dryer safety is to clean the lint screen after every use and to have your vent and duct cleaned regularly. In fact, studies prove that effective cleaning maintenance of dryer vents and lint screens can reduce the chances of fire by as much as 90%. Not only does vent cleaning help prevent house fires, it also will make sure your clothes are dry and smell nice after each use.
Lint builds up in your dryer vent each time you run your dryer. Cleaning the lint screen will help you keep the dryer running and working well, but a little lint will still remain within the vent itself. It’s very important to keep up with dryer vent cleaning, as the accumulated lint is a fire hazard that endangers your house and everyone in it. Call Chimney Care Company to schedule an inspection and cleaning of your dryer vents today!
NO MORE WAITING GAMES…
Most homeowners with a fireplace have been told about the importance of having their chimney system cleaned annually (or more often depending on how heavily they rely on it during heating season), and a large portion now acknowledge this importance and make an annual inspection and cleaning part of their yearly to-do list. Yet somehow chimney maintenance is de-prioritized until the colder weather begins setting in. Homeowners can then be seen scrambling to make their appointments so they can start using their fireplaces to keep warm at night. What many of these homeowners complain about, however, is the wait time involved between scheduling the appointment and actually having the work completed.
AVOID COSTLIER FUTURE REPAIRS…
They’re not overly excited about waiting a few days or weeks for their respective chimney service companies to be able to fit them into their schedule. Some homeowners, due to their impatience, will settle for a non-certified chimney company; in doing so, they may be saving a few dollars in upfront costs, but they could very well be spending a lot more down the road, as these fly-by-night sweeps could overlook a small issue that could have disastrous consequences for you and your family.
IF YOU DO NEED REPAIRS, THEY CAN BE COMPLETED QUICKLY
Chimney professionals are no doubt the busiest during the fall season. As the temperature drops, the fireplace begs to be used, but only when it is clean and ready. It might be a few weeks before a crew can get to your home, and if they find your chimney needs repairs, there can be more delays keeping you from using your fireplace. The spring and summer are the best times to get your chimney cleaned and inspected and allows plenty of time to address any repairs. Scheduling is usually easier as well as its kind of like getting your air conditioning serviced in winter.
DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN THE BEST…
Rather than settling for an untrained alternative simply because they can come service your chimney system a day or two sooner in October, why not call a reputable company during the warmer spring months to take care of all of your chimney system needs. Your chimney might be one of the farthest things from your mind when it’s no longer cold outside, but it can save you in the long run from lots of hassle and frustration.
A little planning and forethought can help to ensure that you receive your annual service from a reputable, certified company in a timely manner. Enjoy your fires this year with peace of mind. To make an appointment today, call us at 513-248-9600 or click here to schedule an appointment online.