Chimney Care Company's Blog

Reduce Fireplace Hazards This Winter

Your fireplace helps you to keep your home warm and cozy all winter long. But the knowledge that fireplaces also can be a fire hazard can leave you feeling anything but cozy. You can implement fireplace safety tips to reduce fireplace hazards and enjoy your fireplace without fear this winter.

Have your fireplace swept and inspected.

The No. 1 thing you can do to lower the fire hazard in your home is to have your chimney swept and inspected at least once per year, preferably between fire-burning seasons. A chimney sweeping and inspection ensures that your chimney is free of flammable creosote and other obstructions that could pose a danger. It also ensures that the fireplace and chimney are free from damage and in good operating condition.

Clear the space around the fireplace.

Embers can jump out of the fireplace and ignite nearby objects or burn anyone sitting too close. Items that are too close to a fireplace can overheat and begin to burn. To reduce this fire hazard, make sure that the area around your fireplace is free of any flammable materials, and encourage pets and children to stay away from the hearth when a fire is burning. All flammable objects be kept at least two feet from the hearth to avoid a fire hazard. Make sure you also check your mantle to be sure that there aren’t any objects dangling too close to the flames.

Screen your fireplace.

Another way to keep popping embers from your fireplace from posing a fire hazard is to use a fireplace screen. Keep mesh curtains on your fireplace and close them when a fire is burning. If your fireplace doesn’t have a built-in screen, invest in a removable screen or spark arrestor to keep sparks, ashes and logs safely in the fireplace.

Don’t burn anything other than the intended fuel.

Wood-burning fireplaces were designed to safely burn seasoned firewood. Gas fireplaces are made to safely handle gas fires. Pellet stoves safely accommodate pellets. Never burn anything other than the intended fuel in your fireplace. Wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and scraps of woods can cause flare ups that can’t be safely contained by your firebox and chimney.

Practice proper ash disposal.

After your fire has visibly extinguished, the ashes can still pose a danger. Embers hidden within the ashes can burn for days after your fire was put out. When clearing out your fireplace, be sure to use a metal shovel to scoop ashes into a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Only remove the ashes to a garbage bag or other receptacle once you are sure that they have cooled entirely.

Consult the experts.

If you have concerns about fire hazards and your fireplace, make sure you consult the experts. At The Chimney Care Co., we view it as part of our responsibility to educate our customers on the safe operation of their fireplaces. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your fireplace.

What is HeatShield®?

Your chimney may look good on the outside but can have hidden dangers lurking on the inside. A video inspection of your entire flue system is a good first step, as it will be able to spot missing or damaged mortar joints, cracks, and/or spalling that a professional may miss by doing a visual inspection alone after cleaning. If it is determined that you have a damaged chimney liner and repairing it is an option (which will save you a good chunk of change), HeatShield® can restore your chimney’s clay flue liner and save you the expense of rebuilding or relining with a stainless steel chimney liner.

What exactly is HeatShield® anyway? 
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HeatShield® is a chimney liner repair system that eliminates the hazards and draft problems caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling in otherwise sound masonry chimneys. It is a specially formulated “cerfractory” coating, which combines the strength of a high-fired ceramic with the heat resistance of high temperature refractory cement to restore the integrity of your chimney’s flue. This restored integrity allows your flue to properly vent hazardous flue gases up and out of your home.

Developed in Europe over 20 years ago, HeatShield® has been independently tested and has been found to exceed all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Outlines of Investigation for chimney repair and resurfacing products.

What options are available to me?

HeatShield® provides several options to address varying degrees of chimney liner deterioration:

  1. Joint Repair System—recommended for the repair of defective mortar joints
  2. Resurfacing System—recommended for cracked or spalling chimney liners
  3. CeCure Sleeve Relining System—recommended for chimneys with more serious defects or those that are unlined

Your certified chimney professional will be able to let you know which option is best for your particular job depending on the severity of the identified defects. Each of the available options will help restore your chimney to its original peak level of safety and efficiency in a very timely and cost-effective manner.

The sealant is supplied as a dry powder that your chimney professional then mixes with tap water immediately before use. Once it has been applied, the compound dries to a hard ceramic-like material that’s both moisture- and corrosion-resistant. Once allowed to cure, it has been proven to withstand moisture, corrosive flue gases, and temperatures in excess of 2,900°F. ASTM rated it as a “Super-Duty” refractory mortar, which more than meets National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and International Residential Code (IRC) requirements, as both only require “ Medium-Duty” refractory mortar for use in fireplaces and chimneys.

Remember that not all chimney liner repairs and systems are the same. For very severe flue system damage, it is possible that HeatShield® will not be the appropriate option. Chimney repair is nothing to mess around with; following professional and manufacturer instructions as well as local building and fire codes is an absolute must. Contact Chimney Care Company to schedule your next chimney inspection sooner rather than later so we can ensure that your flue system hasn’t been compromised. You owe it to yourself and to your family to take this issue very seriously. Your lives depend on it!

Spring Checklist for Your Chimney

As days grew shorter and the weather got colder, many of us retreated indoors to the warmth of our homes and hearths. For those homeowners who made used their fireplace(s) during the colder months, spring is a great time to schedule a chimney inspection to make sure your chimney system is in good working order. If your assessment uncovers any issues that give you pause, call in a chimney professional to diagnose the problem before it gets big, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Deterioration of mortar joints, broken or spalled bricks, and water penetration are all signs that your chimney may need repair.

Homeowners who used their fireplace during the colder months should view spring as the perfect time to schedule an inspection to ensure their chimney system is in peak operating condition.

Homeowners who used their fireplace during the colder months should view spring as the perfect time to schedule an inspection to ensure their chimney system is in peak operating condition.

My Mortar is Crumbling

Open mortar joints and cracks in the mortar also cause water to penetrate your brickwork. A good repointing job, using proper materials, will enhance your chimney’s lifespan and will enhance its appearance, too. Repointing is far more than simply forcing some new mortar into your chimney’s cracks. The process requires different skills than traditional masonry, and even brick masons with years of masonry experience might not even have significant experience repointing chimneys.

My Bricks are Cracking and Breaking

Brick is known for its durability, but time and the elements can cause bricks to crumble or flake, a condition commonly referred to as spalling. Spalling is caused when the masonry absorbs too much moisture from rain/snow and is subjected to freeze/thaw cycles. Spalling bricks have cracks and breaks in the surface and often large, crater-shaped chips. The best way to avoid brick spalling is to eliminate the moisture. If the area around your chimney crown is cracked or the cap itself is defective, this allows water to seep into the brickwork below.

Water Penetration is Destroying my Chimney

Chimneys are notorious for leaking; the flashing is a common culprit of these leaks, as it lies at the point where the chimney rises above the roof. It keeps water out of the chimney, protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are made from a variety of materials—aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and/or tin. You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed if yours is missing, rusted through, falling out, or completely covered with roofing tar (a common short-term fix that could be hiding a bigger problem).

An annual inspection of your chimney by a qualified chimney professional should include a thorough examination of the external structure to look for signs of deterioration or weakness, as well as a visual inspection of the flue inside your chimney to ensure that it’s in proper working order, too. The chimney professionals at The Chimney Care Company are fully prepared to meet all of your chimney inspection and repair needs. Give us a call or stop by our showroom today!

Different Levels of Inspection

Let our highly skilled and CSIA certified professionals handle your chimney problems. Make an appointment with us now.

Let our highly skilled and CSIA certified professionals handle your chimney problems. Make an appointment with us now.

If you are a homeowner and have a fireplace, you need to make sure you are always up to date on your chimney maintenance. Without it, your chimney can become at risk for chimney fires and draft problems. Since chimney sweeping has evolved over time, it can now be done quickly and easily. To schedule your appointment call The Chimney Care Co. today.

Why do I need a sweep?

It is important to have sweeps because creosotes can build up in your chimney, which can then cause harm to your family’s health. The longer you go without a chimney cleaning, the more the creosote builds. As it accumulates, it becomes more and more flammable. Creosote can also cause draft problems, the air will not flow out of the chimney and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Nature can also block your chimney by ways such as animal droppings and leaves and twigs.

It is important to make sure that whoever does the sweep is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified. This means that the technicians follow the standard guidelines used across the nation that will get you the most of your appointment. Find a certified sweep here.

Level 1 Inspection

Level 1 inspection is the most basic level of sweeping that also comes with an inspection of all the visible parts of the chimney and also your flue. This is what your technician will find beneficial if you keep your maintenance up to date.

Level 2 Inspection

A level two inspection is a little more complex than a level 1 inspection. These are usually required whenever the technician notices a problem in the chimney. If they alert you of a problem do not use the unit, as it could be unsafe. Also, if you change the structure or fuel type of your chimney you will need a level two inspection. Lastly, if you are a new owner to the home you should have a level 2 inspection to familiarize yourself with the structure.

Level 3 Inspection

A level three inspection is the most in depth level of inspection. This is done when a problem starts in the chimney and spread to the home’s foundation and then leads to the removal of part of the home. These instances can be things such as fires or mold. If there has been any damage to your chimney, you need a Level 3 inspection as well. Make sure that no matter what kind of inspection you are having done, you have the space ready for the technicians to work by moving furniture and locking up pets. Also, don’t burn any fire for more than 24 hours to let the chimney cool down.

 

 

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