Chimney Care Company's Blog

The Dangers of Creosote & Reasons to Invest in a Certified Chimney Sweep

Every fall, fire safety, home improvement, and chimney experts caution homeowners about the importance of having their chimneys swept and inspected. If you have a wood-burning appliance, creosote is the primary concern with your chimney. Here’s why.

The dangers of creosoteCreosote poses real danger to your home

Every time wood burns in a fireplace, creosote has the potential to form in the chimney. As the smoke from your wood fire travels up the chimney it cools, and forms condensation on the chimney walls. That condensation hardens into creosote. If the creosote isn’t swept away, it continues to accumulate on the walls of the chimney, and that’s when problems can occur. Creosote is highly flammable. When it builds to a thickness of 1/8 inch or more, it can easily catch fire. An errant spark or burning ember that enters the chimney from your fireplace can cause the creosote to ignite. When ignited by a spark, creosote can damage your chimney or even pose a risk to your home.

A fire risk isn’t the only danger creosote buildup can cause. Creosote can build up and block your chimney, restricting the flow of smoke up and out of the chimney and allowing the smoke and carbon monoxide from your fireplace to be forced back into your home. Creosote that flakes off of your chimney walls also can pose health risks, and, at a minimum, creosote can cause a foul odor to fill your home.

The value of a certified chimney sweep

The surest way to save your home from the dangers posed by a buildup of creosote is to hire a certified chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney. Chimney sweeps use high-speed rotating brushes to free the creosote buildup from your chimney walls. In addition, your chimney sweep also will perform a thorough inspection of your chimney and fireplace to ensure that there are no weaknesses, damage or other problems that could put your home at risk of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. Many chimney sweeps also will conclude their sweepings and inspections with a video inspection of the inside of your chimney so you can be sure that all of the creosote has been safely swept away, and you can see first hand the state of the interior of your chimney.

Save your chimney — and your home — from the dangers of a chimney fire with a certified chimney sweeping. If your chimney hasn’t been swept in recent memory, it’s time to schedule an appointment now! To remove creosote and reduce the risk of chimney fires, your chimney should be swept and inspected at least once per year, preferably in between fire-burning seasons. Before you light your first fire of the season, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule your sweeping and inspection.

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!

Closing out your fireplace and chimney for the season

Closing Your Fireplace & Chimney Photo - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CoHave you burned your last fire for the winter season? If you haven’t yet, you likely will soon. As the annual fire-burning season ends, it’s important that you properly close out your fireplace for the spring. When you’re sure you won’t be burning any more fires for the spring, there are a few things you should do to ensure that your fireplace and chimney will be in good shape when the fall rolls around.

Look for any signs of damage

With whipping winds, freezing temperatures and plenty of wet weather, winter is hard on your chimney. Spring is the time to examine your chimney and fireplace for any signs of damage. On the outside of your home, walk around your chimney and look for cracked or crumbling bricks and mortar, stains or discoloration on your chimney, or any other changes to your chimney. If you are able to see your chimney top, or easily venture onto your roof to check it, make sure that your chimney cap is damage free and securely in place, that your chimney crown or chimney chase cover is in good repair and that the flashing remains securely against the base of your chimney without any signs of cracks or corrosion.

Inside the fireplace, look for rust on fireplace doors, grates and the damper, and make sure your firebox is free from any cracks, crumbling tiles or other damage. Check the ceiling and walls for any discoloration or signs of a leak. If you spot any damage, don’t wait to call in a chimney sweep! Spring and summer are the best time for repairs.

Clean and close out your fireplace

Don’t be tempted to leave ashes or other fireplace debris in the firebox for the summer. Ashes are corrosive, and can cause undue damage to your firebox if they are left to sit. When you know the ashes have fully cooled since your last fire, use a fireplace broom and shovel or an ash vacuum to clear the ashes and debris. Ashes can be thrown away with your regular trash or turned into fertilizer for your lawn or garden.

If you have a gas fireplace that doesn’t require cleaning, make sure you turn off the pilot light. In all fireplaces, you will want to make sure that the damper is closed for the summer. A closed damper will ensure that conditioned air stays in and that any animals or pests that might make their way into your chimney stay out of your home.

Have your chimney swept

Fall might be the traditional time for a chimney sweeping, but spring is a good time for a chimney sweeping, too! You will want to have your chimney swept in the spring if you missed your fall cleaning, if you used your fireplace heavily this winter or if you notice foul smells coming from your fireplace in warmer weather. If your chimney was swept in the fall and shouldn’t need a spring cleaning; think ahead — Schedule your fall chimney sweeping and inspection now so you don’t have to worry about it as summer is drawing to a close!

If you notice chimney damage, or to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection, call the Chimney Care Co. today!

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

Top 10 Reasons Not to Clean Your Chimney

There are certain dangers in operating your fireplace without having it cleaned and inspected annually.

Top-10-Reasons-Not-To-Clean-Your-Chimney-CincinnatiOH-ChimneyCareCo

Keep this information in mind when thinking about your chimney.

Why Does My Chimney Stink?

 

Stinky chimney problem? Hold your breath no more! Call us and say goodbye to that stench in your chimney.

Stinky chimney problem? Hold your breath no more! Call us and say goodbye to that stench in your chimney.

Chimney odor problems may be attributed to a variety of different things, the most notable of which come from creosote deposits — a natural byproduct of burning wood — inside your chimney. The odors are usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high, on rainy days, and/or when your air conditioner is running. A visit from a CSIA-certified chimney sweep can help eradicate these unwelcome odors from your home!

The Root of the Problem Lies Beneath the Surface

Due to the nature of the porous masonry construction inside your chimney, creosote impregnates its smell deep beyond the masonry’s surface. A chimney sweep will remove the surface buildup of creosote to limit the possibility of a chimney fire; however, the odors that have absorbed into the masonry itself are still left behind. How can you keep the smell out of your house? The answer to this question should come as no surprise.

Don’t Let the Draft Problems get You Down

The real problem is air coming down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems. Normally, as long as the draft is working correctly and there is no negative airflow in the home, the inherent smells will remain in the chimney. Upon closer inspection, in the event that your chimney has developed a drafting problem, the intruding air brings the chimney odors right along with it as it comes down your flue. It’s likely that your chimney is just the victim of a negative pressure problem. A quick solution to the negative air pressure issue is to simply crack a window at all times to let the pressure change through the window rather than the chimney.

Is Your Chimney’s Odor Putting a Damper on the Mood?

For a more permanent approach to keeping the smell that’s exuding from your chimney’s masonry inside the chimney and away from your nose, you need to limit the amount of air that’s able to come down your chimney and into your house in the first place. Closing your throat damper is a good start, however, the metal-on-metal closure here is anything but airtight. A top-sealing damper can help to minimize the airflow and accompanying unpleasant odors from coming down your chimney. In addition to limiting the airflow problems, the top-sealing damper will keep rainwater and moisture out as well.

There’s never a bad time to have your chimney inspected. Chimney sweeps are available year round to inspect and clean your entire chimney system. Why allow these smells to become a problem if you don’t have to? As soon as you first notice unpleasant odors coming from your fireplace, contact the chimney professionals at The Chimney Care Company right away. To schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 513-248-9600 or fill out our online appointment request form. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you keep your family safe and warm for years to come!

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