Chimney Care Company's Blog
Images of cold winter nights are often accompanied by visions of a glowing fire — the yellow and orange flicker of flames, woodsy smell and gentle crackling. You can enjoy the ambiance of a wood fire, along with many other benefits, when you install a wood-burning stove in your home.
Lower your home-heating bills
Woodstoves give you the option of heating the rooms you use most. Woodstoves can put out an ample amount of heat. They can be installed either freestanding or inserted into your existing open-hearth fireplace. When a woodstove is heating your main living space, you can lower the thermostat for the rest of the house. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can lower your home heating bills by 3 percent.
The wood that powers your stove comes at a lower cost than other home-heating methods. If you harvest your own firewood, the fuel is nearly free, save your labor, tools and any fuel. Even if you purchase your firewood by the cord, wood remains a low-cost way to heat your home, costing less per BTU than oil, gas or electric heating.
Reduce your environmental impact
Among those who advocate for sustainable living, wood is the gold standard for home heating. An EPA-certified woodstove is an incredibly efficient source of heat, and produces little pollution. Because the wood would have had released the same amount of greenhouse gases had it been allowed to decay naturally, burning wood for fuel is considered to be “carbon neutral.”
Add comfort and value to your home
Nothing is quite as cozy as a woodstove. It keeps you warm on cold winter nights and creates a sense of comfort. Woodstoves and fireplace inserts can add a sense of style and design to a home. Should you decide to sell your home, a woodstove could help attract buyers who also are looking to reduce their home heating costs and their environmental impact.
Have a source of emergency heat
A long-term power outage during a winter cold snap is a scary proposition: How will you keep your family warm and keep your home’s pipes from bursting? If you have a woodstove or wood fireplace insert, your stove can provide a source of heat during a power outage. While many woodstoves do have electric blowers, they will still provide a decent source of heat during a power outage. That can help keep your home and family safe in an emergency.
If you think you stand to benefit from the installation of a woodstove or a wood-burning fireplace insert, call the experts at The Chimney Care Co. We can talk to you about the advantages of woodstoves and show you all of your woodstoves options. With The Chimney Care Co., you can be confident that you’ll find the heating source that’s right for your home!
Dryer vents are often neglected when it comes to home maintenance, but just like your chimney or gutters, regular dryer vent cleaning can keep your home safe and efficient. Making your dryer vents a home maintenance priority can help keep your home safe. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners have their dryer vents cleaned and inspected at least once per year.
The importance of dryer vent cleaning
Each time you dry a load of clothes, hair and lint makes it pass your dryer’s lint trap and builds up in your dryer vents. When dryer vents become too clogged, the heat from the dryer can cause the extremely flammable lint to ignite, posing a major fire hazard to your home. Dryer vents also can be clogged by animal nests and other debris, or poorly placed plants can grow up into the vents, causing blockages.
According to the NFPA, clothes dryers are responsible for more than 15,000 house fires each year, causing more than $230 million in property damage and more than 50 deaths. The NFPA blames the majority of those fires on clogged dryer vents. Blocked dryer vents also can force the gases, including carbon monoxide, created by your dryer back into your home. At the very least, clogged dryer vents decrease the efficiency of your dryer and make it work harder to dry your clothes. That costs you time, as it takes longer to dry each load of clothes, and it increases your home’s energy costs.
Signs of clogged dryer vents
Your dryer may be warning you that your vents are in need of a cleaning. If your clothes are taking longer to dry than normal, or if they feel abnormally hot to the touch at the end of each cycle, your dryer vents probably aren’t allowing all of the hot air to escape from the dryer. Clogged dryer vents can cause your laundry room to heat up when the dryer is running, or can cause a slight burning smell when the dryer is in use. Your dryer sheets also may smell abnormally strong if your dryer vents are clogged.
If you’re concerned about your dryer vents, a quick visual inspection of the vent’s exterior can help you determine if you’re in need of a dryer vent cleaning. Lint blowing out of the vent is a sure sign you’re due for a cleaning. Or, if the vent flap isn’t opening and closing when the dryer is running, it’s a sign that air isn’t properly flowing out of the dryer, and vents should be cleaned immediately.
How dryer vent cleaning works
If you’re overdue for a dryer vent cleaning, or if you’ve observed any of the signs above, call The Chimney Care Co. We’ll use specialized brushes to gently clean the lint from your dryer. As the lint is loosened, we’ll suck it up with our high-powered vacuums, saving your home from any mess. We will also visually inspect your dryer vent system and help you with any needed repairs. With The Chimney Care Co., you can be confident that your dryer vents are clean and damage free, keeping your home safe from a potential fire and maintaining your dryer’s efficiency.
If you’re considering adding a heating stove or fireplace insert to your home, it can be difficult to know what type of stove is right for you. Wood-burning, pellet and gas stoves all have their advantages and disadvantages, which you’ll need to weigh to help determine which type of stove will fit your home-heating needs.
Wood stoves are a natural choice for traditionalists. If you prefer the warm glow and pleasant sent of a wood fire, a wood stove makes sense. EPA-certified woodstoves can be incredibly efficient, returning up to 70 percent of the fire’s heat to your home. EPA-certified stoves also emit relatively low levels of smoke and particulate matter into the atmosphere.
Of course, one of the biggest draws of wood-burning stoves is fuel costs. If you cut, stack and store your own firewood, you can heat your home with a free fuel source. Even if you must purchase firewood, wood-burning stoves can be inexpensive to fuel and can lower your home’s overall heating costs.
Pellet stoves are ideal for people who love the traditional feel of a wood fire, but hate the work and storage space that goes into powering a wood-burning stove. Pellet stoves also are incredibly efficient and environmentally friendly. With pellet stoves, you can expect up to 83 percent of the fire’s heat to be returned to your home. Because pellets are made from dehydrated wood and contain little to no moisture, pellets burn more cleanly than logs, emitting less smoke and leaving less residue in your chimney.
Pellet stoves are easier to maintain than wood stoves, as pellets can be purchased as needed in 40-pound bags, eliminating the need for chopping, stacking and storing firing wood. Because pellets are fed automatically from a hopper into the stove, one load of pellets can heat a home for up to 24 hours. That means a pellet stove can heat your home consistently while you’re at work, running errands or sleeping.
Gas stoves win on convenience and efficiency. With a gas stove, you can enjoy roaring flames with the flip of a switch or the push of a button. Many gas stoves are connected to thermostats, so you can control the temperature. Gas stoves emit next to no particulate matter, and gas stoves return up to 99 percent of the fire’s heat back into your home!
Some people worry that gas stoves will provide an artificial-looking fire, but new models produce incredibly real looking logs and flames, complete with glowing embers. Of course, if you prefer a more modern look, gas stoves also can be fitted with rocks or glass marbles.
We can help you choose!
If you’re trying to determine which type of stove is right for your home, call the experts at The Chimney Care Co. Our experts can talk to you about your home heating needs and walk you through the positives and negatives of each type of heating stove.
Particles of lint like the ones you regularly clean from your dryer’s lint screen also make their way into your dryer’s vent system, clogging the vent and causing a potential fire or carbon monoxide hazard. Because of that, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners have their dryer vents cleaned at least once per year, more often for households that do a high volume of laundry. Having your dryer vents professionally cleaned will help you realize several benefits.
Reduce your fire risk
As lint builds up in your clothing dryer vent, the hot air and gases created by the dryer cannot escape your home. The dryer becomes hotter and hotter, leading the highly combustible lint to catch fire. In fact, more than 15,000 house fires, causing more than $230 million in property damage, are caused each year by clothes dryers. The majority of those 15,000 dryer fires, according to the NFPA, could have been prevented with dryer vent cleaning.
In addition to lint build up, your dryer vent can become clogged from the outside by a variety of items. Animals can make their way into your dryer vent and nest or die, blocking the system. Plants growing close to the dryer vent can grow up into the vent if they’re not maintained. The exterior flap on the vent also can get stuck in a closed position. Having your dryer vent cleaned and inspected annually ensures that your dryer vent is cleared, opened and fully functioning.
Increase your dryer’s efficiency
A clogged dryer vent also reduces the efficiency of your dryer. That means clothes will take longer to dry, meaning you’ll increase the time you spend doing laundry and energy costs related to keeping your dryer going. The lack of efficiency also taxes your dryer. When your dryer is fighting with clogged vents to do its jobs, the dryer becomes overworked. Because of that, clogged dryer vents can reduce the lifespan of your clothes dryer.
Know when to have your dryer vent cleaned
While the general recommendation is to have your dryer vent cleaned and inspected at least once a year, there are some signs that indicate your dryer vents are overdue for a cleaning. When your dryer vent isn’t working optimally, your clothes will take longer to dry than normal; your dryer, the clothes in the dryer or your laundry room may seem unusually hot when you’re drying clothes; you may notice a burning smell when your dryer is running; or the scent of your dryer sheets may seem stronger than usual. You also can perform a quick visual inspection of your dryer vent on the outside of your home: If you see lint blowing out of the vent, or if the flap isn’t opening when the dryer is running, your dryer vent should be serviced immediately.
If you’re overdue for a dryer vent cleaning, or if you’ve noticed some of the warning signs listed above, call the Chimney Care Company at 513-248-9600. We can clean your dryer vents and have your dryer running safely and efficiently.
Does your gas fireplace remain unlit and unused because you’re unsure of its safety? Or did you purchase a new home with a gas fireplace, but you’re afraid to use it because you don’t know when it was last serviced? If you’re unsure about the functioning of your gas fireplace, have it inspected by a professional, and you’ll be enjoying your fireplace in no time.
Signs your gas fireplace is due for an inspection
It’s undeniable that gas fireplaces require less maintenance that their wood-burning counterparts, but they do still require an annual cleaning and inspection. Gas fires release corrosive water vapor that can degrade your chimney, and ceramic logs can break down and clog vents, vents and fans need to be cleaned, and the chimney should be inspected for any leaks. If you’re moving into a new home and don’t know when the last time the gas fireplace was serviced, or if you are overdue for your annual cleaning and inspection, you should call a CSIA-certified chimney sweep before burning any fires.
Even if you’ve kept up your regular inspections and maintenance on your gas fireplace, there are some signs that your fireplace may require service immediately. Those include:
- Soot buildup on any part of your fireplace or chimney
- A bad or odd odor coming from your fireplace
- Discoloration or etching on the glass front of the fireplace
- Slow ignition or no ignition
- Sudden or delayed turnoff
- Unusually dark orange flames.
What to expect from a gas fireplace inspection
When you call in an expert to inspect your gas fireplace, they will look for any cracks in and usually clean the glass. As ceramic logs can sometimes degrade, your inspector will look for and remove any debris from those logs, particularly debris that is blocking the vents. Your inspector will make sure your fireplace is venting properly, that all valves and seals are properly functioning, that all blowers and fans are functioning, and make sure that there are no damaged or worn-out components. Your inspector also will look for condensation, proper clearances, and any cracks in the firebox or chimney. The pilot will be lit to make sure that it is functioning properly, and your technician will inspect the flames to make sure they are burning as they should.
Don’t delay your gas fireplace inspection
If you’re wary of your gas fireplace, don’t delay your inspection! An improperly functioning gas fireplace can put your home and family in danger of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. The certified technicians from the Chimney Care Company can clean and inspect your fireplace to make sure it’s running safely and efficiently. We’ll have you enjoying your gas fireplace in no time!