Chimney Care Company's Blog
There are many different ways to warm your home this winter and avoid an especially high energy bill. Simple changes like keeping your temperature a few degrees cooler and bundling up with jackets and blankets, as well as lowering the temperature when you and your family are not in the home will save you a lot of money. If that just isn’t lowering your bill enough, it might be time to think about zone heating.
What is zone heating?
Though this can apply to both heating and cooling, cooler temperatures will have us thinking about staying warm, sooner rather than later. At its most simple, zone heating is a system of separating each area of your house into different zones, and allowing each area to be controlled individually. A more involved process of zone heating and cooling requires outfitting an entire house with a series of dampers in the air ducts, as well as have programmable thermostats to control each area. This can be pricey and time intensive. An easier alternative is using another heat source in the rooms that are most frequented. Using a gas or electric log set, a fireplace, or a stove in rooms with a high volume of traffic will allow you to lower your central furnace use and also the costs associated. Rooms that are not used as frequently, such as guest bedrooms and bathrooms, will remain at lower temperatures while the den, kitchen, and bedrooms can be outfitted with a series of aesthetically pleasing heating sources. We have a variety of options to choose from depending on if you want the ambiance and feel of a more traditional fireplace or log set, or if a vented stove is necessary for a larger room.
How is it going to help me save money?
By being able to control the amount of heat in each room of your house, the amount of wasted heat will be lowered, along with the price of your bill each month. The U.S. Department of Energy states that homeowners “can save up to 30 percent on a typical heating and cooling bill” and up to 40 percent of utility bills by switching to zone heating. That adds up to huge savings!
What are the benefits?
- A beautiful addition to your home that perfectly represents your style
- A new focal point for each room
- Lovely new ambiance
- Lowered heating costs this winter
Thinking about switching to zone heating can be a little overwhelming, but will be hugely beneficial in the long-term plan. There are many heating choices to choose from, and we want to help. Stop by the Chimney Care Company showroom and let us show you our collection of hearth products, and we can figure out together the best option for your budget and taste.
There are certain dangers in operating your fireplace without having it cleaned and inspected annually.
During these summer months our chimneys are one of the last things on our minds, as thoughts are consumed more with maintaining the garden than what is going on with our chimney. Most people don’t think often about the maintenance of not only their chimney, but also the inside lining that does so much to keep us safe. A masonry chimney, which is what most chimneys are considered to be, can be composed of brick, stone, and mortar. The inside of this structure is an inner level called the flue lining aka a chimney lining. This liner can be made of ceramic, clay, or metal, and does a lot of jobs:
- Protection: Lining the inner walls of the chimney means that they are safe from deterioration caused by heat, gases, and other byproducts emitted by the fire. Heat not contained in a liner has been proven to catch fire to the woodwork of a house in about 3.5 hours ().
- Longer Lifespan: Keeping the walls protected means a more stable, healthy life for the chimney with much less erosion over time. Gases released when burning a fire in your fireplace are extremely acidic, and can eat away at unprotected mortar, leaving your home open to exposure to carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases.
- Venting Efficiency: With the correctly sized chimney lining, all of the above benefits are a given. Without the proper measurements, creosote and carbon monoxide can build up and won’t allow the same excretion of gas out of the house.
While clay or ceramic liners have been the traditional routes in the past, we have implemented use of the HomeSaver Relining System to take over when the clay liner fails to work properly due to deterioration or it never having been installed in the first place. It is a stainless steel, flexible pipe that is incredibly durable and strong, to the point that it takes 288 pounds of pressure to crush it! By far the best in the business, it can handle more than two times as much pressure as the competitors.
With a lifetime warranty that can be passed along to your home’s other owners in the future, it is a great choice for all homeowners that want to keep their chimney safe and enjoyable for many years to come. Be sure to give us a call for your annual chimney inspection and sweeping, as well as inquire about installing the HomeSaver Chimney Relining System in your home. Make appointments at Chimney Care Company.
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.