We remove dangerous, flammable creosote from inside the chimney. We clean brick fireplaces, prefab fireplaces, inserts and wood stoves. A fireplace standard cleaning includes a visual inspection and removal of the flaky creosote deposits from the fireplace system (the chimney flue, smoke chamber and firebox). Special rods, chimney brushes, hand brushes and a vacuum are used. Creosote is flammable and the risk of a chimney fire is present. If this creosote is ignited, the intensity of the heat can crack the tile liner and flames pose a fire hazard to the home. The tile liner is one of the many areas we check during an inspection.
A fireplace is a warm and inviting fixture in the home. If you use it throughout the year, this fixture can provide an alternative heat source from a central heating system. Fireplaces, however, are prone to safety issues, fire hazards and smoke problems, especially when they do not receive proper care and maintenance. When a fireplace begins to smoke, several factors might be to blame.
Dirt and Creosote
One of the most common causes of smoke entering the home from a fireplace is dirt or creosote buildup in the flue. Known as "flue gas," creosote is vaporized carbon-based steam that builds up and causes condensation on the interior sides of the chimney. Creosote often occurs from the burning of wet wood, which creates limited heat that is unable to burn off the condensation, thus leaving creosote buildup behind. Inspect and clean your chimney once a year to prevent buildup and odors that come from a dirty chimney.
Blocked Damper or Flue
A damper is an apparatus that allows smoke to escape the chimney, and a flue is a small duct that allows smoke to escape. If the damper or flue is blocked, smoke will build up and return down to enter the home from the fireplace. This issue can fill a home with smoke very quickly, which is not only a fire hazard, but a safety hazard as well. If the damper or flue is blocked, rusted or damaged, replace it immediately.
The weather outside can affect how smoke escapes from a chimney. During high winds, a downdraft can push the smoke back through the chimney and into the home. Prevent this by using a chimney cap, which deflects high winds and allows smoke to escape from the top of the chimney. It is best to have a professional install a chimney cap, because one that is too small will cause the flue to become undersized and increase the smoke within the home.
Certain household activities can affect a fireplace's ability to release smoke from the top of the chimney. Open windows, fans, dryers and exhaust fans can suck smoke from the inside of a fireplace and chimney and disperse it throughout the room. If smoke is entering the home, make sure that windows are closed, fans are turned off and the door to the laundry room is closed to see if that stops the smoke from coming back down the chimney.
It is a great idea to have annual chimney inspections just to make sure everything is in working order and operating correctly. You may be due for a cleaning or have other deficiencies that may interfere with the proper use of your fireplace, wood stove, furnace or other heating appliances. Don't risk having a serious defect that could turn into a disaster, get your chimney inspected by our trained technicians.
When Do I Need A Chimney Inspection?
When having performance issues with your fireplace, chimney or heating system your symptoms may indicate that things are not operating the way they should. Don't wait, schedule an inspection. Waiting always results in more costly remedies and repairs and unfortunately can result in property loss, injuries and death. Each year over 200 million dollars are lost because homeowners were using unsafe systems.
If you have recently purchased a home, it is always a good idea to get the chimney and flue system inspected. If you have upgraded or changed heating systems, or added a wood stove - you really need to make sure that your chimney and venting systems are working properly and designed to handle the changes, if you have not used your fireplace in a long time that is a good reason to get a chimney inspection. When you don't use the fireplace much, that can give pests a chance to clog your flues with their nests. Winter freezes and thaws take a toll on masonry and liner materials over many years of exposure. Many times homeowners experience weather related deterioration that if left unchecked can affect the structural integrity of your chimney and flue.
Your chimney crown is the area that is around the top of the chimney. Not the chimney cap that is an attachment that is added to the top of the flue pipe. The chimney crown tops off the masonry walls of the chimney, usually with a wider masonry or cement area. This solid covering stops moisture from filtering down through your brick or stone work in your chimney. It protects the mortar that holds everything together.
Time, weather, heat and cold all play a part in the deterioration of the chimney crown. It is the most exposed part of your chimney, as such needs to be inspected yearly.
Protective coatings can reduce the amount of water that is allowed to enter your chimney. Bricks are porous and once they are worn they will allow water to penetrate deep into and even through the chimney. You can reduce this problem by having Fireplace Chimney Sweep Solutions apply Water Repellent Coating to the exterior of your chimney. The longevity and function of your chimney can be improved by adding this layer of protection. Water, left unchecked can cause deterioration, corrosion, spalling and efflorescence. These things will result in long-term damage to your chimney and ultimately water can cause complete failure of the chimney. We advise that any middle aged chimneys (15 or more years old) should be treated in order to prolong their useful age. The cost of treatment is far less that treating the problems that can arise if water gets where it doesn't belong.
Water Damage Can Take Many Names - Here are just a few!
Leaky chimneys present real problems for your home. The most common place we find leaks is where the chimney meets the roof. The area surrounding the chimney as it goes through the roof needs to be sealed with flashing so no moisture enters your roofing, attic or ceiling areas. Torn, loose and missing chimney flashing can cause tremendous structural damage to your home including wood rot, mold and drywall damage. If you have any leaks at all around your chimney please allow us to do an inspection and make the proper repairs. Many times when leaks begin you won't even know it because the damage starts in areas that you don't see. A trip to the attic to inspect the area surrounding the chimney as it enters the roof may be a good preventative measure.
One of the most important components of your whole chimney and heating system is the flue and the chimney liner. Any time our technicians examine your chimney during an inspection we look closely at the condition of the chimney liner. The liner moves all the gases and smokes out of your home and allows extremely hot and toxic gases to exit your home safely. Any breaks or openings in the chimney liner can lead to serious problems, potentially allowing a spark or floating ember to escape into the area between the lining and the chimney.
The chimney needs a non-combustible lining that allows complete and efficient venting of the smoke, gases and particulate matter that drafts out of your chimney. Chimney liners can be made of many materials like clay tiles, cast masonry mix, aluminum or stainless steel.
This drawing illustrates a typical chimney relining for a wood burning insert. (It is not drawn to scale, and doesn't show all necessary parts and materials.) Relining involves inserting a new central lining or flue inside an existing chimney. It is the most effective, affordable way to repair chimney damage or to upgrade an unlined, dangerous chimney to acceptable safety standards. The repair is completed quickly and with minimal expense compared to rebuilding the chimney from the ground up.
A chimney cap does a great job at keeping moisture, leaves and pests out of your chimney. This is extremely important to the longevity of your chimney. Moisture, rain, wind, snow and ice are all enemies of the inside of your chimney. The more you block them from coming in the less damage they will cause. Having a chimney without a chimney cap is like heating your home and leaving the front door open. Water is the biggest problem with all types of chimney liners, so take steps to reduce the intrusion of moisture with a good cap. If you don't have a chimney cap on your chimney, give us a call now. It is the best long-term investment that you can make for your chimney's sake. Chimney caps come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Most popular are those made from copper and stainless steel (As seen in the picture below).
Animals and birds love to find homes in your chimney over the summer, so you better close the door at the top with a good, secure chimney cap. If you don't want to share your home this season with raccoons, squirrels, rodents and birds you had better cover the top of your chimney opening now.
In today's air tight homes, indoor air quality is a growing concern. Most household dust contains mites, mold, mildew, pollen and animal dander. Many of these contaminants are circulated through the central air systems in most homes and can aggravate the symptoms of asthma and allergies.
How can these contaminants be removed from the air duct systems? Our Professionals have combined their proven techniques with the video-assisted Roto brush air duct cleaning system. This advanced cleaning method is the only one available that brushes and vacuums at the point of contact, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals such as sealers. You are left with the assurance of fresh, clean and virtually contaminant-free air in your home and office.
The powerful yet flexible Roto brush air system easily cleans all types of air duct construction (e.g. flex duct, round metal ducts, square metal ducts, fiberboard) including right angle turns, reducers and multiple bends found in most types of duct systems.
There are 16,700 Dryer Vent Fires A Year*
And the number continues to rise. Why? Most people don't know their dryer vents need to be cleaned. They clean out their lint filter and think that's it. But the dryer vent duct is where the lint can really build up and get clogged. And lint is highly flammable, accounting for most, dryer vent fires.
In addition to lint build up, improper installation of your dryer vent system can also pose a serious danger to you. A dryer vent cleaning professional will detect potential hazards such as the presence of flammable vinyl duct or a duct run that is improperly router. So ensure your families safety with a professional inspection from Fireplace Chimney Sweep Solutions Today.
* Source: The consumer Products Safety Commission.
Lint Buildup Takes More Energy (And Money) to Dry Your Clothes
If your dryer isn't drying your clothes like it used to, you may not need a new dryer! A dryer vent clogged with lint reduces airflow so your dryer doesn't dry as efficiently as it used to. An inefficient dryer uses more energy, thereby costing you more money.