Chimney Care Company's Blog

What to do about your smoking chimney

When you light a fire in your fireplace, you know the smoke is supposed to flow up and out of your chimney. One of the most common chimney problems is the failure of the chimney to draft properly, causing smoke to flow backward into the home. A smoking chimney can seem like a major problem, but there are many potential causes.

What to do about your smoking chimney - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

Cold chimney

If you notice your chimney smoking infrequently, and only in cold weather, the cold air could be to blame. Cold temperatures outside can cause cold, dense air to fill the chimney, particularly if the chimney is located on an exterior wall. When a fire is lit, the cold air can prevent smoke from rising out of the chimney. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed easily by preheating your chimney.

Faulty damper

You’re probably familiar with your damper’s operation; you open it each time you light a fire and close it when your fireplace isn’t in use to block any cold air from entering your home. Dampers are made from metal components that can rust or warp over time, hindering their operation. A damper that isn’t opening fully can prevent smoke from rising out of the chimney.

Down drafts

If you notice your chimney smoking on windy days, a down draft could be to blame. When wind strikes your chimney, it can force the air downward and force smoke back into your home. The good news is that this can be an easy fix: Often a sturdier chimney cap can block strong winds from making their way down your chimney.

Blocked chimney

If your chimney is obstructed, smoke won’t be able to exit your home. Chimneys can be blocked by bird or animal nests, or by an accumulation of leaves, twigs or other debris. If your chimney is overdue for a cleaning, a buildup of creosote can block the flue and force smoke back into your home.

Lack of oxygen

If your fire isn’t getting enough fuel to burn hot and fast, it won’t be able to direct smoke up the chimney. When a fire burns, it pulls in oxygen from the room, then the hot air and smoke are drawn up the chimney. If your fire isn’t able to pull enough air from your home to burn efficiently, the smoke won’t rise up the chimney quickly enough and will enter your home. Other appliances operating near the fireplace, like furnaces, stove hoods or bathroom fans, can inhibit the flow of oxygen to your fireplace. You also can open a window to help supply more cold air to your fireplace.

Improper chimney construction

Occasionally, improper chimney construction is to blame for a smoking chimney. If a chimney is too short or too small, too wide or too narrow, smoke won’t draft properly. Too many angles in a chimney can interfere with smoke’s path up and out of a chimney.

The only way to know for sure what is causing your chimney to smoke is to call a professional chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and evaluate your chimney’s draft. If you need to address a smoky chimney, call the experts at The Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney caps: Is your chimney protected?

The top of your chimney opens to the outside, meaning it is fully exposed to all of the elements, debris and wandering animals. That is, unless your chimney is topped with a secure chimney cap in good repair.

About your chimney cap

Chimney-Caps-Is-Your-Chimney-Protected-Cincinnati-OH-Chimney-Care-Co-w800-h800Your chimney cap sits at the very top of your chimney. Usually attached by a metal cage, the chimney cap covers the opening of your chimney’s flue. Chimney caps come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials. Chimney caps serve a variety of functions.

Because they serve as a rooftop to your chimney, they prevent water from pouring down the walls of your flue and damaging your chimney liner, firebox, damper and chimney doors. Chimney caps play such a vital role in protecting your chimney system from water, the Chimney Safety Institute of America has dubbed them the cheapest and most effective way to protect your chimney from water damage.

Chimney caps also keep animals and debris out of your chimney. Without a chimney cap, leaves and branches can make their way into your flue, as can nesting animals or wayward birds. Blocked chimneys can cause many problems. They can force smoke and carbon monoxide back into your home. They can pose a fire risk. Animals that become trapped can cause an unpleasant smell and can require professional removal.

Chimney caps also can withstand high winds and help prevent strong bursts of wind from forcing their way down your chimney, chilling your home and potentially filling it with smoke. A chimney cap that is surrounded by fine wire mesh can help keep your rooftop safe. Without the mesh, burning embers can jump out of your flue and pose a fire hazard to your rooftop.

Determining whether you need a new chimney cap

Most chimney caps are made from copper or stainless steel. They are durable, and many come with lifetime warranties. Chimney caps can become disrupted or dislodged. Your chimney sweep should examine your chimney cap during your annual cleaning and inspection to make sure your chimney cap is free from any damage and firmly in place. You also may determine that you need a new chimney cap if you’ve noticed rust running down the sides of your chimney, or water or debris making its way into your flue.

If you need a new chimney cap, The Chimney Care Company can help. Our chimney experts can inspect your current chimney cap and chimney and provide you with your chimney cap options. We offer chimney caps in different metals, different sizes and different styles. You can choose a chimney cap that blends seamlessly into your chimney or one that adds style to your roofline. If you need a new chimney cap, or feel your chimney cap needs to be inspected, call us today!

Protect your chimney with waterproofing

Your chimney is out there to face all of the elements. Weather, particularly moisture, can be incredibly damaging to your chimney. In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America has dubbed water a chimney’s worst enemy and encourages homeowners to do all they can to protect their chimneys from moisture.  At The Chimney Care Co., we recommend our customers consider waterproofing to help protect their chimneys — and their homes — from water damage.

Protect Your Chimney with waterproofing - Cincinnati Oh- Chimney Care Co

Water’s damaging effects on your chimney

The biggest danger from water comes as a result of the freeze-thaw cycle. When water hits the sides of your chimney, weather from rain, snow or ice, your chimney’s porous masonry soaks up some of that water. When temperatures drop, the water inside the chimney’s walls freezes and expands, causing cracking and crumbling. Over time, the constant freezing and thawing of the water inside your chimney’s masonry can break down your chimney’s structure and compromise your chimney’s ability to contain flames, heat and smoke.
Moisture can damage your chimney and fireplace in other ways, as well. Water that finds its way into your flue can mix with creosote and cause an unpleasant smell to fill your home. The water also can lead to rusted dampers, fireplace doors and dampers, or cracked flue tiles. If the water seeps into your home’s structure, it can cause damage to your home, including stained ceilings, sagging wallboard and rotting joists.

How waterproofing can protect your chimney

One of the most effective ways to protect your chimney is with a waterproofing treatment. A waterproofing application prevents your chimney’s masonry from soaking in nearly 100 percent of water. At the same time, it allows your chimney’s masonry to “breathe,” so any moisture doesn’t become trapped in the chimney’s walls, and the smoke and gases from your fireplace can still exit your chimney normally. Most chimney waterproofing applications come with a five to 10 year guarantee for protecting your chimney.

Other ways to protect your chimney

There are other steps you should be taking to keep water from damaging your chimney and fireplace. As part of your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, you should ask your chimney sweep about the state of three important chimney components.

A secure chimney cap prevents water from flowing down your chimney’s flue. A properly formed chimney crown that is free from cracks or damage helps protect the outer walls of your chimney from precipitation and directs water away from your chimney’s opening. You also will want to check your chimney’s flashing — the metal barrier around your chimney’s base — to make sure it isn’t corroded or cracked.

If you’re concerned about water’s effects on your chimney, or if you’ve noticed early signs of water damage, call the chimney experts at The Chimney Care Co. We can talk to you about waterproofing and other ways to protect your chimney from water damage. We also can inspect your chimney for signs of water damage and help you detect and repair any problems.

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The importance of dryer vent cleaning

There’s a fire hazard lurking in your home: Your clothing dryer, or more specifically, your dirty dryer vents. The lint that builds up in your dryer can cause your dryer to overheat and ignite. On top of that, the in itself is highly combustible and likely to cause a fire.

How often should dryer vents be cleaned?

Dryer vents should be cleaned at least once per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. There are, however, other factors that could lead you to require more frequent cleanings. If you have pets in your home, their fur sticks to your clothing and linens and leads to additional buildup in your dryer vents. If you do a lot of laundry each week, this also means your dryer vents will become clogged more quickly and require more frequent cleanings. You also will want to call in professionals if you notice any changes in your dryer’s function, such as clothes taking a longer time to dry or become abnormally hot, or if you notice the laundry room becoming very warm or filling with the scent of your dryer sheets while the dryer is running.

 Dryer Vent Cleaning - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Company

Why does professional dryer vent cleaning matter?

It can be tempting to pull out your vacuum and use the attachments to clear away the lint from your dryer and dryer vents, but a do-it-yourself dryer vent cleaning isn’t adequate to keep you dryer running safely. There are many catch points where lint is likely to build up, and professionals know where these catch points are, how to access them and how best to clean them. Most dryer vents are made from a flexible, accordioned material that twists and turns to reach an outside terminus. While dryer vent cleaning attachments are available for home vacuum cleaners, they do an inadequate job of reaching all of the nooks and crannies in a dryer vent, leaving homeowners with a false sense of security. A professional dryer vent cleaning utilizes a rotating brush that ensures that the dryer vent is totally cleared of lint and debris.

What are the other benefits of dryer vent cleaning?

In addition to reducing your home’s risk of a dryer fire or carbon monoxide buildup from your dryer, dryer vent cleaning comes with some other benefits. When dryer vents are cleared, your dryer operates at maximum efficiency, reducing your energy bills by lowering drying times. Clean vents also extend the life or your dryer because your dryer does not have to work as hard to dry each load of clothes. When you have professionals clean your vents, they also will inspect the vents and connections for any signs of weakness or damage that could cause a hazard in your home.

To keep your home safe from the dangers of dirty dryer vents, call the professionals at The Chimney Care Co. We’ll make sure your dryer vents are completely clear of debris, free from damage and a safe part of your home’s infrastructure.

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Discover the benefits of a woodstove

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!

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