Chimney Care Company's Blog

National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 4 through 8!

Fire Prevention Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyDid you know that as CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, we at the Chimney Care Co. are charged with educating our customers about fireplace safety? We take that charge seriously, that’s why we’re taking the time to honor National Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 4 through 8. Here is what you should know about fire safety, as it relates to your fireplace, chimney and clothing dryer.

Chimney and fireplace safety tips

Fireplaces are a source of warmth and comfort within the home, but they do pose a fire risk. From chimney fires to popping embers, fireplaces can increase your chances of a home fire. Fortunately, you can do a lot to reduce your risk of a fireplace- or chimney-related fire.

  • Have your fireplace and chimney swept and inspected at least once per year. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that all vented heating appliances are swept and inspected at least once per year. Your chimney sweeping removes flammable creosote or any other blockages from the flue, while your chimney and fireplace inspection verifies that all components of your chimney and fireplace are in good repair and operating properly.
  • Keep the area around your fireplace free from flammables. It’s recommended that homeowners create a 3-foot zone around their hearth and keep that area free from flammables, like papers, blankets, paper and décor. Also check your mantel; nothing should be dangling down over the fireplace.
  • Create a barrier over your hearth. Burning embers or shifting logs can fall from your hearth and burn people or pets who are nearby, or ignite your flooring or other flammable objects. To avoid the danger, use a fireplace screen or fireplace doors to contain your fire to the firebox.
  • Never burn other objects in your fireplace. Only burn the fuel your fireplace was intended for. Items like wrapping paper or cardboard can overheat your chimney and spark a fire, while burning a leftover Christmas tree can lead to an excess buildup of flammable creosote in your chimney.

Dyer safety tips

Clothing dryers spark a lot of fires in the United States each year. It’s estimated that dryers are responsible for nearly 15,000 home fires every year. That’s why you need to know how to keep your home and family safe from a dryer fire.

  • Clean your lint trap every time. Laundry lint is largely responsible for dryer fires. Make sure you clean your lint trap between every load of laundry, and never run your dryer without the lint screen in place.
  • Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned. Even if you’re dedicated to keeping your lint trap clean, lint inevitably bypasses the screen and builds up within your dryer vents. Have your dryer vents cleaned at least once per year to keep blocked vents from inhibiting your dryer’s operation and posing a fire hazard.
  • Never overload your dryer. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for load size and operation.
  • Check your dryer vent from the outside. Periodically inspect the exterior exhaust for your dryer vent to make sure that it is clear of any debris or landscaping.

At the Chimney Care Co., we want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to lower your fire risk. Call to schedule your chimney, fireplace or dryer vent cleaning and inspection today!

Now’s The Time To Make Your Chimney Sweeping And Inspection Appointment

Fall has arrived! Cooler temperatures are just around the corner. Before you know it, you will be ready to light your first fire of the fall. However, before you ignite a fire in your fireplace, you need to have your chimney swept and inspected. To avoid missing out on some of the fire-burning season, now is the time to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection appointment. So, why is it so important to have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected before you use your fireplace?

Chimney Sweeping And Inspection Appointment Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyPrevent a chimney fire.

The most important reason to have your chimney swept and inspected before you use it this fall? Preventing a dangerous and damaging chimney fire! Every time you burn a fire in your fireplace, the smoke that travels up your chimney deposits fire byproducts on the walls of your chimney. Over time, those deposits harden into creosote. Creosote is incredibly flammable. Consequently, if it’s allowed to build up too thickly, a spare spark or extreme heat from your fireplace can cause it to ignite. To prevent chimney fires due to creosote, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have your chimney swept and inspected at least once a year.

Make sure your chimney is free from obstructions.

If you haven’t used your fireplace within the last year, or if you didn’t use it frequently last winter, you still need to have your chimney swept and inspected before you light a fire. Animals can make their way into the chimney and become stuck or build nests. Leaves and twigs can find their way into uncovered chimneys. When animals or debris become stuck in your chimney, they will prevent smoke from exiting your home. Chimney blockages can even cause dangerous carbon monoxide to build up within your home.

Spot chimney or fireplace damage.

The inspection component of your annual chimney service is just as important as the sweeping. Your inspection ensures that your fireplace and chimney are properly functioning. In addition, free from any signs of damage or leaks. Unnoticed chimney or fireplace damage can be a fire hazard, and unaddressed chimney damage can worsen to the point where the chimney structure or your home structure becomes compromised. With a chimney inspection, you can spot and address damage before it becomes a major problem!

Enjoy fireplace upgrades.

Of course, your annual chimney sweeping and inspection isn’t all drudgery; you can take the opportunity to ask questions or perform the fireplace or chimney upgrades you’ve been considering! Whether it’s a new fireplace insert, new fireplace doors, or a more efficient top-sealing damper you’ve been considering, your chimney technician can answer your hearth-related questions and help you plan your hearth upgrade.

Are you ready to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection? If so, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We’ll make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean, damage free and ready to warm your home this fall and winter. Don’t miss out on a single fire this fall: Now is the time to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection!

Gas Fireplaces Need Service, Too!

Homeowners love their gas fireplaces because of easy operation and low maintenance. However, many homeowners mistake low maintenance for no maintenance. To keep your gas fireplace or heating stove operating safely year after year, schedule an annual cleaning and inspection!

Why do gas fireplaces need annual service?

Gas Fireplaces Need Service, Too! - Cincinnati, OH - Chimney Care CoGas fireplaces burn very cleanly, without the buildup of soot and creosote that come with wood- or pellet-burning appliances. Nevertheless, they are still subject to buildup and deterioration. Here are some reasons your gas fireplace or heating stove needs annual service:

• Internal debris. Debris builds up within your gas fireplace or stove, where it can clog the burner, pilot or blowers and cause your appliance to look old and dirty. Dust can be a problem, but most of the debris in your fireplace comes from the logs. The ceramic logs within a gas fireplace or heating stove break down over time, leaving small chunks of debris that can cause problems.

• Glass deterioration. Gas fireplaces and stoves include heavy-duty glass doors that are made to stand up to heat over time. However, they can develop cracks or chips that can jeopardize the safe function of your gas appliance.

• Malfunctions. Gas appliances involve a lot of working components. There are blowers, gaskets, and pilots that can breakdown, malfunction or just stop working over time. Regular service of your gas appliance ensures that it keeps operating safely and efficiently.

• Ventilation. Even though the chimney to your gas fireplace or heating stove doesn’t run the risk of becoming clogged with flammable creosote like a wood-burning appliance would, the chimney still can become clogged or work improperly. Animals and debris can clog your gas chimney, and a chimney that isn’t functioning properly can cause a host of problems.

What does annual gas fireplace service involve?

Your annual gas fireplace service should include both a cleaning and inspection. Your technician should thoroughly clean the interior of your gas fireplace or heating stove, removing the logs to make sure they are in good repair and sweeping any debris out of the fireplace’s interior. The glass also should be cleaned and checked for signs of deterioration. Finally, your technician should inspect the soundness and operation of all of the components of your gas fireplace or heating stove. The chimney should be checked for damage and blockages.

Who can I call to service my gas fireplace or heating stove?

To prepare your gas fireplace or gas heating stove for the fall and winter, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment! The Chimney Care Co. cleans, inspects and repairs nearly all makes and models of gas fireplaces and heating stoves. When you schedule your gas appliance service with the Chimney Care Co., you can be sure that your gas fireplace or heating stove is ready for safe and efficient operation this season!

What’s that sound coming from my chimney? Probably chimney swifts.

Are you suddenly hearing a lot of loud noises coming from your chimney? Does the sound of rustling movement and constant chirping have you worried about what’s lurking within? Your chimney likely is playing host to chimney swifts!

Probably Chimney Swifts Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co.What are chimney swifts?

Chimney swifts are birds that are native to North America’s woodlands. Once, they nested on the vertical interiors of dead, hollow trees. As American cities took hold and their natural habitats were largely demolished, chimney swifts adapted by finding shelter inside chimney flues.

How do I know if it’s really chimney swifts?

Of course, chimney swifts aren’t the only animal or bird that can make a home in your chimney. They are, however, extremely common during summer months. To determine if the noise in your chimney is, in fact, caused by swifts, first listen hard. Swifts moving around are often described as causing a rattlesnake-like sound. They are very vocal birds. Meaning you will hear a lot of chirping, especially when adult birds are feeding baby birds inside the chimney. Finally, watch your chimney in the late evening, close to nightfall. That’s when you’re most likely to see a chimney swift. It has a cigar-shaped body and curved wings, and it loves diving into your chimney to take refuge for the evening!

What do I do if it is a chimney swift?

If you are hosting a family of chimney swifts in your chimney, there is nothing you can do. Due to their diminishing numbers, chimney swifts are federally protected birds. Therefore, it is illegal to remove nesting chimney swifts. Fortunately, chimney swifts are migratory birds that will vacate your chimney and move along, once the hatch-lings are old enough. Are you hearing the young chimney swifts chirping in the chimney? If so, you’ll likely only have to wait a few weeks until the swifts move on. In the meantime, you can focus on the positive: Chimney swifts eat up to one-third of their body weight in insects a day. This means your resident chimney swifts will help lower the insect count in your yard this summer!

What do I do once the swifts have moved on?

Once you are sure that the chimney swifts have vacated your chimney, you will need to have your chimney swept and inspected. Their departure likely will coincide with your fall chimney maintenance. Chimney swifts generally don’t damage chimneys in any way. However, you will want to make sure that all remnants of their nests, and any droppings they have left behind, have been safely removed from your chimney. The inspection that follows the sweeping will ensure that your flue hasn’t sustained damage from chimney sweeps!

If your chimney has been occupied by chimney swifts this summer, call the Chimney Care Co. once the swifts have vacated your flue! Our sweeps will be sure to clear away any signs that the swifts were there, and they’ll make sure that your chimney remains in safe, working condition.

 

Water damaged chimney? We repair them!

The Chimney Safety Institute of America has deemed water a chimney’s No. 1 enemy. That’s because nothing can damage a chimney like water. When water makes its way into your chimney, it can damage every chimney component, from the masonry chimney structure, flue liner and firebox to the metal damper, fire grate and fireplace doors. Protecting your chimney from water damage means knowing how water can damage a chimney and spotting and repairing water damage as quickly as possible.

Water damaged chimney Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co.How Water Damages A Chimney

Masonry is porous. When your masonry chimney is hit with rain, sleet or snow, it absorbs the moisture. When temperatures drop, the water within the masonry freezes and expands, causing the mortar, bricks and cement to crack and crumble.

Some common victims of masonry chimney damage include:

  • Chimney crowns.
    Cracked chimney crowns are incredible common, especially if the chimney crown wasn’t constructed from the right materials to begin with.
  • Mortar.
    One of the most common signs of chimney water damage is crumbling mortar. Mortar crumbling from in between chimney joints is unsightly, and it can weaken your chimney structure.
  • Chimney bricks.
    Moisture making its way into your chimney bricks can cause the faces of the bricks to fall or crumble away.
  • Flue tiles and fire box bricks.
    When water manages to make its way into your chimney’s interior, it can cause cracking and spalling of the tile chimney flue liners and the bricks that line your firebox.

Water that invades your chimney’s interior also can cause problems with the metal components of the chimney. It can cause chimney dampers and fireplace doors to rust and stick in place, and it can cause fire grates to rust away.

What To Do About Chimney Water Damage

If you’ve noticed signs of water damage in your chimney, the Chimney Care Co. can help! We repair chimney water damage! If you see signs of a chimney leak or signs of water damage, it’s crucial to call in the professionals immediately! When chimney water damage is ignored, the problem can grow and intensify. Your overall chimney structure can become weak and unsafe, and water leaking in through the chimney can spread to the abutting home structure, causing wood rot and mold.

The Chimney Care Co. also can help you stop chimney damage before it starts.

We can protect your chimney from water damage in several ways, including:

  • Installing a chimney cap.
    Chimney caps are the best defense against water damage. Chimney caps ensure that water doesn’t flow down the interior of your chimney.
  • Making sure your chimney crown is properly constructed.
    Chimney crowns are meant to direct water away from your chimney flue and keep water from running down the sides of your chimney, but they are often improperly constructed and fail to perform their functions. An improperly constructed chimney crown should be rebuilt to protect your chimney from water damage.
  • Waterproofing.
    One of the best ways to protect your chimney from water damage is with a waterproofing treatment. Chimney waterproofing blocks moisture from entering your chimney’s masonry while still allowing your chimney to breath.

If you see signs of water damage on your chimney or if you’d like to protect your chimney from water damage, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today!

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Chimney Care Company | 413 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140