Chimney Care Company's Blog

Does Your Gas Fireplace Need Service?

As you flip the switch to ignite your gas fireplace this fall, you might be wondering: Does your gas fireplace need to be serviced? Homeowners overwhelmingly favor gas fireplaces, and it’s no wonder why. They provide a warm, glowing fire with ease and convenience. While your gas fireplace may not require the upkeep and care of its wood-burning counterpart, your gas fireplace does need service each year, too.

Why Your Gas Fireplace Needs Service

Does Your Gas Fireplace Need Service - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyIf it doesn’t produce ash, heavy smoke and creosote like a wood fire, why does a gas fireplace need service? There are two primary reasons; cleanliness and complexity.

Prized for their cleanliness, gas fireplaces still require maintenance. The fireplace itself can gather dust that can interfere with blowers or the pilot light. The ceramic logs inside will break down over time and create their own debris that can clog the working components of the fireplace. The chimney won’t fill up with dangerous creosote, but it will collect soot over time. Soot is corrosive and leads to the breakdown of the chimney pipe if it isn’t cleared away. And, of course, regular cleaning will keep your gas fireplace looking great for years to come!

There are a lot of components of a gas fireplace — from pilot lights to blowers to gaskets — that can break down or malfunction over time. If your gas fireplace isn’t in perfect operating condition, it might not light when you want it to, drive your energy bills up by not working efficiently or even put your family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why your gas fireplace needs an annual inspection to ensure it is in good working order.

What Your Gas Fireplace Service Should Entail

So now that you know y0ur gas fireplace requires annual servicing, what should that service entail? First and foremost, your annual gas fireplace maintenance should be performed by a certified fireplace professional. The service itself includes a thorough cleaning of the chimney, blowers, gas logs and glass doors. There is also a full-system inspection to verify that the chimney is properly venting, damage free and unobstructed. We also check that the valves, gaskets, pilot, and blowers are properly functioning. Finally, we ensure that there are no signs of damage, condensation, improper ventilation or deterioration that could compromise the safe operation of the fireplace or chimney. If any problems are spotted, they should be addressed as soon as possible and before the fireplace is used again.

Now that you know your gas fireplace does require annual servicing, don’t wait to schedule an appointment! A certified professional should examine your gas fireplace before you use it this winter. To make sure your gas fireplace is ready to keep your family warm and cozy all winter long, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule your gas fireplace service today!

Is Cost the Most Important Factor in Who I Hire for Chimney Maintenance?

Most responsible homeowners shop around before making a decision on home purchases and service contractors. Choosing a chimney sweep to perform cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your fireplace and chimney should be no different. But many homeowners don’t know much about chimney maintenance, which can make differentiating between chimney sweeps difficult. So how do you choose which chimney sweep to trust with keeping your fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently?

What To Look For in a Chimney SweepIs Cost the Most Important Factor Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

When you’re searching for a chimney sweep, the easy way to make the decision would seem to be choosing the sweep who offers you the lowest quote. But price doesn’t tell you what you need to know about your chimney sweep. Anyone who can purchase the equipment can sell their services as a chimney sweep. That doesn’t mean they are fully qualified to clean and maintain your fireplace and chimney to keep your home and family safe. That’s why the single most important thing to look for in your chimney sweep is a certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

CSIA certifies that your chimney sweep has taken the necessary training courses and passed exams to certify they know the best practices and codes involved in cleaning, maintaining, installing and constructing fireplaces and chimneys. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps also are bound to a professional code of ethics so you know they’ll treat you fairly and follow the guidelines for maintaining your fireplace and chimney. Sweeps have to regularly renew their certification, so you also can be sure that your sweep is up-to-date on their skills and industry developments.

Questions to Ask Potential Chimney Sweeps

Beyond verifying your sweep’s credentials with the CSIA, there are some additional questions you should be asking when choosing your chimney sweep. Those questions include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide current references from customers?
  • Do you have unresolved complaints filed against you?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • What do your standard chimney sweepings and inspections involve?

The chimney sweep you hire should be able to quickly and easily provide satisfactory answers to these questions. They should have a solid business reputation and references, no complaints against them and should carry liability insurance. They should be able to describe the different levels of chimney inspections offered, and their definitions should fit with CSIA standards. When answering these questions, your sweep should be happy to talk about their experience and their services. Any reluctance to answer questions should immediately trigger a red flag.

Who Can You Trust?

If you’re searching in the greater Cincinnati area, call the Chimney Care Co.! We are CSIA certified and proud of our upstanding reputation and 30 years of service. When you call the Chimney Care Co., we’ll be able to answer all of your questions, so you can be confident that our chimney and fireplace services will keep you fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently.

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Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace

Pretty much every homeowner with a fireplace or hearth appliance knows that the industry standards call for having their chimneys swept and inspected at least once per year. Your annual sweeping and inspection ensure that your chimney is clean and your fireplace is prepared for safe operation, reducing your risk of a home fire. Going beyond safety, however, there are other benefits to maintaining your fireplace.

Keep your fireplace operating efficiently. Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

A poorly maintained fireplace, fireplace insert or heating stove won’t operate as efficiently as it could. Rust and dust can block blowers, fans and pilot lights. By properly maintaining your fireplace, you can increase its efficiency and lower your home energy bills.

Reduce smoke in your home.

If creosote or other debris is blocking your chimney, it’s going to have an impact on the way smoke travels up and out of your home. A dirty chimney can negatively impact your chimney’s draft, forcing smoke back into your home. By keeping your chimney cleaned and well-maintained, you will reduce the amount of smoke that enters your home.

Avoid unpleasant odors.

Dirty chimneys can be horribly smelly. Moisture mixing with creosote can smell like hot asphalt. Natural debris in your chimney can smell like rotten compost. Trapped animals or left-behind animal droppings can smell even worse. By keeping your chimney cleaned and maintained, you can avoid unpleasant odors filling your home by way of your chimney.

Keep your hearth looking attractive.

In most homes with fireplaces, the hearth serves as an anchor point. It’s often located in a central living space and placed to serve as a focal point. So naturally, a beautiful, well-maintained fireplace can add to the décor and ambiance of your home, while a poorly maintained, dirty or damaged fireplace can drag down the appearance of your home. Keeping your fireplace maintained can help you maintain your hearth as a beautiful, beneficial feature in your home.

Extend the lifespan of your hearth appliance.

Just like any hearth appliance or home structure, regular maintenance keeps it working well and can expand its lifespan. For a hearth appliance, regular maintenance ensures that all of the working components are in good repair so that the appliance will run properly. Regular cleaning clears away dust, debris, soot and creosote that can degrade both the working and static components of the chimney and fireplace systems. When you maintain your fireplace, you ensure that your that your hearth appliance will last as long as possible.

Good fireplace and chimney maintenance begin with an annual sweeping and inspection. If your fireplace and chimney are overdue for their regular maintenance, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We’ll help you maintain your fireplace and chimney so you can realize all of the benefits of a well-maintained hearth system.

Looking for an alternative to wood? A pellet appliance might be right for you.

Do you love the warmth and glow of a wood-burning fireplace? However, do you hate the thought of hauling, stacking and storing wood? Does your wood-burning appliance sit unused because of the work involved? Are you looking for a heat source that’s comparable to the look and feel of wood, but more efficient, easier to tend, and more environmentally friendly? If so, a pellet appliance might be the perfect home-heating option for you!

Alternative To Wood - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyWhat do pellet appliances burn, exactly?

You might have heard of pellet stoves, or spotted bags of pellets at the local home-improvement store. However, what exactly are pellet-stove pellets? The pellets burned for home heating are made of dehydrated, compressed sawdust. Some of this sawdust is waste put off by wood processing. This makes wood pellets an environmentally friendly option. Some pellet stoves also will burn bio-fuels, such as cherry pits or dried corn kernels.

How much work does it take to use a pellet stove?

The biggest advantage of a pellet appliance over a wood-burning appliance? The work involved in keeping the fire burning. Pellet stoves are outfitted with hoppers of varying sizes. The hoppers are filled with pellets, and an auger automatically feeds the pellets into the fire. Depending on the size of the hopper, pellet stoves can burn for anywhere from 16 hours to more than a day – without being reloaded or tended! That makes pellet appliances an excellent heating source for people who are away from home for most of the day. Not to mention those who don’t like to spend their time tending a wood fire.

How much does it cost to tend a pellet stove?

The cost per ton of pellets averages around $250, and the average home burns about 7.3 tons of pellets per year. That does make pellets slightly more expensive than wood, which costs about $200 a cord, with the average home burning 6.3 cords of wood annually. However, the gap in cost is somewhat narrowed by the efficiency of pellet stoves. Since the wood is compressed and dehydrated, pellet stoves tend to burn hotter and more efficiently than their wood-burning counterparts. The cost difference also might be irrelevant for someone who doesn’t want to fuss with a wood-burning appliance; or someone who lives in an urban area where wood is harder to come by and more expensive.

What are my pellet appliance options?

If you think a pellet appliance might be right for your home, you’ll find plenty of options! There are free-standing pellet stoves, or pellet stove inserts that can be fitted into an existing hearth or built into a brand new hearth! Pellet stoves also come with a variety of styles to fit the look and heating needs of your home. If you’re ready to learn more about pellet appliances, or find the pellet appliance that’s right for your home, stop by the Chimney Care Co. showroom and talk to our hearth experts today!

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!

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