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The dangers of carbon monoxide

During the cold winter months, your primary concern likely is keeping your home and family warm. But the same appliances that keep your home cozy can pose a danger to you and your family: carbon monoxide. More than 200 people die in the United States each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. An additional 4,000 people are hospitalized each year, and 20,000 visit the emergency rooms suffering the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The dangers of carbon monoxide - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

To keep your family safe, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning, what to do if you suspect that the levels of carbon monoxide are dangerous within your home and how you can prevent dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Causes of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. That means it is produced by any burning appliance in your home, including furnaces, fireplaces, heating stoves, clothes dryers and space heaters. When those appliances aren’t vented properly — due to improper installation, damage to the ventilation system or dirty or clogged vents — carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels in your home. This buildup can be exacerbated by our focus on energy efficiency. Newer homes are built to be more air tight to conserve energy. Owners of older homes often “weatherproof” to prevent drafts. While that efficiency prevents warm air from escaping our homes, it also means that carbon monoxide put off by a faulty appliance can’t escape the home.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle. Often described as flulike, those symptoms include mild headaches, dizziness and fatigue. As carbon monoxide levels increase in the blood, however, those symptoms can become more severe. At more advanced stages, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause confusion, disorientation, nausea, weakness, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. If anyone in your home begins to suffer these symptoms, your home should be evacuated, and that person should be taken to the hospital immediately. If left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage, organ failure or death.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

The best way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is through the regular maintenance and inspection of fuel-burning appliances. It’s recommended that your chimney, clothing dryer, heating stove, fireplace and furnace should be cleaned and inspected by a professional each year. When your appliances and vents are serviced, your technician will clear any debris from the vents, and inspect the appliance and duct work for any malfunctions, clogs or damage. Freestanding appliances, such as generators or space heaters, should never be run in unventilated rooms.

Even with annual cleaning and maintenance, it’s important to exercise precautions against carbon monoxide. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that carbon monoxide detectors be installed on each level of a home and outside sleeping areas. The batteries in those detectors should be tested regularly. Everyone within the home should know what to do if those detectors go off: Evacuate the home and call 911.

If you’re concerned about your home’s carbon monoxide risk, The Chimney Care Co. can help. We clean, inspect and repair chimneys, stoves, fireplaces and dryer vents. Schedule an appointment to keep your family safe today!

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Protect your home with our dryer vent services

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.

Protect your home with our dryer vent services - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

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.

Wood, pellet or gas – Which type of stove is right for your home?

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-burning stoves

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 Stove Options - Cinncinati OH - Chimney Care CompanyPellet stoves

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

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.

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

The importance of dryer vent cleaning

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

The importance of dryer vent cleaning - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CoAs 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.

Unsure of your gas fireplace? Have it inspected first.

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

Unsure of your gas fireplae Have it inspected first! - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CoIt’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!

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