Chimney Care Company's Blog

Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Your home houses many devices that create carbon monoxide: Your furnace, your fireplace or heating stove, your gas stove or oven, your clothing dryer, your water heater and your car, to name a few. We all know that these devices are perfectly safe when they are well vented and operating properly. But when vents get blocked or damaged, when appliances fail, or when human error intervenes, these devices can put you and your family at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyAt its lowest levels, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause nausea, vomited, feeling lightheaded or sleepiness. At worst, it can result in confusion, organ damage or even death. That is why it is crucial that you take steps to protect your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

To prevent carbon monoxide from building up within your home and to keep your family safe:

  • Have heating appliances cleaned and inspected annually. Furnaces, fireplaces and heating stoves should have their vents cleaned at least once per year, and the appliances should be checked for damage or malfunction that could put your home or your family in danger.
  • Make sure appliance vents stay clear. Appliance vents should remain clear at all times. Check that vents are clear after major storms or in heavy snows. Make sure that vents do not get covered during home renovations.
  • Clean your dryer vents. Over time, clothing dryer vents can become clogged with lint. Just like your chimney and furnace flues, your dryer vents should be cleaned at least once per year to lower your risk of carbon monoxide buildup or a home fire.
  • Only use gas appliances as directed. Never use your gas stove or oven as a heat source. Leave camp stoves or portable gas heaters outdoors where they belong. Do not run a gas-powered generator within your home.
  • Never leave your car running inside your garage. Your car’s exhaust can cause carbon monoxide to build up to dangerous levels in your garage and in your attached home, even if the garage door has been left open while the car is running.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors can be life savers, literally. You should have carbon monoxide detectors installed on each level of your home and near each sleeping area within your home. Test carbon monoxide detectors at least once per month, and replace batteries at least once per year.

Know what to do when carbon monoxide detectors sound!

Make sure every member of your home knows what the alarms sound like and what to do if they hear the alarms’ signals. Exit the home immediately and call 911. Do not re-enter the home until the danger has been cleared. If you experience any of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning — dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, confusion — seek medical attention.

The prospect of carbon monoxide poisoning frightens most homeowners, as it should, but by taking precautions to prevent it and by having alarms in place, you can keep your family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide.

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!

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Do you smell smoke inside your house? Not a good sign! Your fireplace or chimney might need a check-up. Do it now or else the quality of your indoor air will be compromised.

Do you smell smoke inside your house? Not a good sign! Your fireplace or chimney might need a check-up. Do it now or else the quality of your indoor air will be compromised.

How can my chimney improve air quality?

One of the things fire needs is air, or to be more specific, oxygen. That’s one of the three elements needed for combustion (fancy way to say “fire”). The other two elements needed are fuel and heat. Add them all up and boom! You’ve got a fire. The problem is, without the perfect combination of these three elements, you’re going to end up with some pollution. Some of it will stick to the inside of your chimney (that’s called creosote), and some of it will be fumes that float into your home (called spillage, or wood smoke pollution) and can cause all kinds of problems. But don’t worry—there are a few simple measures you can take to stay safe while operating your fireplace.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

It’s a great song, but smoke doesn’t just get in your eyes. Wood smoke pollution releases pollutants and toxic fumes into the air that are harmful to your health in a number of ways:

  • Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that can cause cancer
  • Fine particle pollution (ash) that damages lung tissue and creates respiratory problems
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides

What Goes Up…

Ideally, smoke goes up the chimney, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are a few things that can complicate the situation.

  • Incomplete combustion of fuels
  • Drafts
  • Improper exhaust

Fight Smoke with Fire

Three things you can do to reduce smoke:

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually
  2. Burn dry, seasoned wood
  3. Make sure your house is well ventilated before starting a fire

Having your chimney maintained is your first line of defense. We can point out any problems with exhaust, and we get rid of creosote, which can build up and cause blockage. Wood that is green or has moisture can’t get hot enough, which means that fire has to work just to stay alive, which creates incomplete combustion. Making sure your home is well ventilated gives your fire the air supply it needs, so it doesn’t have to suck air down through the chimney.

Moldy Situations

We can’t end without saying something about mold. Both air ducts and chimneys can be habitats for mold to grow and reproduce. Mold is often an unseen enemy of air quality in the home.
Health risks associated with mold:

  • sinus and respiratory problems
  • coughing
  • headaches
  • eye and throat irritation

The best ways to combat mold are by having your chimney waterproofed and getting your air ducts cleaned. We’ve got a lot of happy customers that we’ve helped with all kinds of chimney issues, including improving the air quality of their homes so they can rest assured that their families are safe while that fireplace is running. Give us a call today, to see if we can help improve the air quality in your home.


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