Total Chimney Care's Blog

Check Out Our Fireplace Store

Fall’s chill soon will be setting in, and that means one thing: Fireplace season. If your fireplace needs to be updated or accessories, or if you’re looking to add a new fireplace or heating stove to your home, check out our fireplace store — The Cozy Flame — now to prepare your hearth for fall! At The Cozy Flame, you’ll find everything you need to improve and tend your hearth, including:

Fireplaces Check Out Our Fireplace Store Image- Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

At The Cozy Flame, we carry top-of-the-line fireplaces from Regency Fireplaces and Superior Fireplaces. We offer wood-burning fireplaces that will fill your hearth with the crackling warmth and gentle glow of a traditional hearth, as well as convenient and efficient gas fireplaces that allow you to fill your home with warmth and ambiance at the push of a button.

Fireplace Inserts

If your fireplace has become unsightly, if it’s starting to fail or if you would like to increase its efficiency, The Cozy Flame can help! We carry gas and wood-burning inserts that will instantly transform your fireplace. With a new fireplace insert, your hearth can become an attractive centerpiece in your home, as well as a clean and efficient heating source.

Gas Logs

Do you love your open-hearth fireplace but hate the work it takes to build, tend and clean up after a wood fire? You can continue to enjoy your open-hearth fireplace by outfitting your fireplace with gas logs from The Cozy Flame! Gas logs provide the look and feel of a traditional wood-burning fire, but without the work.

Heating Stoves

A heating stove can help you to lower your wintertime heating bills by providing heat where you need it the most. When you install a gas, wood-burning or pellet stove in the heart of your home, you can concentrate your heat on the rooms you spend the most time in while turning down the thermostat for the rest of your home. Or, you can even rig your heating stove up to provide heat to your entire home! At The Cozy Flame, we carry an array of heating stoves so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs and your home’s style.

Fireplace Accessories

Fireplace accessories can make your hearth more beautiful, more functional and more efficient. At The Cozy Flame, we carry all of the fireplace accessories you need, including fireplace doors, mantels, tool sets and other accessories.

If you’re ready to prepare your home and your hearth for the chilly days of fall, stop by The Cozy Flame today! Our hearth experts can help you find the heating appliance or fireplace accessories that are right for your home and your hearth. Our showroom is conveniently located at 116-Q Research Drive in Milford, Conn. We’re open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

By Steve Sobczak on August 17th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Keeping Animals Out of Your Chimney

If your chimney isn’t protected, you could find it playing home to an animal. Whether they enter the chimney by accident or are tempted into building a nest by the warmth and shelter of the chimney, birds, bats, raccoons, and squirrels are common intruders in chimneys. Those intruders can cause some serious problems, which is why you should take measures to prevent animals in your chimney.

Keeping Animals Out is ImportantKeeping Animals Out of Your Chimney Image - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

Once inside your chimneys, animals can bring a host of problems. At the very least, you can’t use your fireplace if the chimney is blocked by a trapped animal or an animal nest. And having animals removed from your chimney by a professional can be expensive. Some of the other problems animals in chimneys can cause include:

  • Chimney damage. A trapped, frantic animal can damage your chimney with clawing and scratching. A nesting animal can damage the chimney as it enters and exits, and as it builds the nest.
  • Fire hazard. Animal nests are usually constructed of flammable materials. If you have a nest in your chimney that you’re not aware of and you light a fire, the nest could ignite and start a chimney fire.
  • Carbon monoxide hazard. If your chimney is blocked by an animal or an animal nest, gases generated by your fireplace, including carbon monoxide, can’t exit the chimney. That can cause the gases to build up to dangerous levels within your home.
  • Foul odors. If a trapped animal can’t escape the chimney, it can die and decay, filling your house with a horrible smell. Nesting animals can leave behind smells from droppings, rotting food or rotting nesting materials.
  • Diseases. Animals carry diseases. When they enter your chimney, they carry a risk of spreading those diseases to your family or your pets.

Prevent Animals From Entering Your Chimney

There are three primary ways to protect your chimney from animal intrusions:

  • Chimney caps. Chimney caps are perhaps the most common method for keeping animals out of your chimney. Chimney caps cover the chimney opening, and a proper chimney cap is surrounded by a metal cage to keep out animals and debris.
  • Top-sealing dampers. Top-sealing dampers close off your chimney entirely when the chimney isn’t in use, keeping out water, animals, and debris. When the chimney is in use and the damper is open, the damper opening should be enclosed with a wire cage to keep animals out.
  • Chimney sweepings and inspections. A chimney sweeping and inspection won’t keep animals out of your chimney, but a chimney sweep can spot a trapped animal or signs of an animal nest. A chimney sweep can clear away any signs of an animal nest or animal droppings, and he can help with any repairs needed due to damage caused by animals.

If your chimney isn’t protected from animal intrusions, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can install a chimney cap or a top-sealing damper to keep animals out. If an animal does enter your chimney, we can clear out a nest, clear away droppings and debris left by the animal, and make sure that your chimney is safe for use.

By Steve Sobczak on August 3rd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

What causes chimney odors?

Summer’s heat and humidity have set in. Unfortunately, when temperatures and moisture rise, something else can set into your home: Chimney odors. Chimney odors that are absent in the winter can become obvious and strong in the summer. These odors can be distressing and embarrassing. No one wants a stinky home!

So what exactly is causing your chimney odor? It could be one of several things.

What causes chimney odors img - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney CareCreosote

Most people know creosote — the sticky, tar-like substance that forms in your chimney each time you burn a fire — as a fire risk. Creosote buildup is the primary reason we have our chimney’s swept each year. It is a way to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Creosote buildup can have another effect, however. When humidity and high temperatures reach creosote in your chimney, it can fill your home with an acrid, burning smell.

Chimney leaks

A damp, musty smell can be an indicator that your chimney is leaking. Water making its way into your chimney over time can bring mold and mildew, and it can fill your home with an unpleasant, musty smell.

Animals

Animals and birds can make their way into your chimney, and they can bring foul smells with them. Some animals come into your chimney accidentally and can become trapped. Should they die within your chimney, you’ll be left with a horrible rotting smell. Meanwhile, animals that come and go can leave behind rotting nests and food or fecal waste that can cause your chimney and home to smell.

Debris

If you’re chimney isn’t properly covered with a caged-in chimney cap or a top-sealing damper, leaves and other debris could be making its way down your flue. If debris has built up in your chimney, it can begin to rot, filling your home with a moldy or compost-like smell.

Downdraft

In the end, if your chimney stinks and that odor is filling your home, you have a problem with your chimney draft. Chimney structures are meant to draw air up and out of your home. A smell being pulled into your home through your chimney indicates that air is flowing in the opposite direction. This can be caused by improper chimney construction or size, other appliances causing negative pressure in your home or the air-tight construction of your home.

We’re the chimney experts

If chimney odors are filling your home this summer, call the chimney experts at Total Chimney Care. We can sweep your chimney to clear away any odor-causing creosote, animals or debris. Also, we can inspect your chimney for any odor-causing leaks. Our certified chimney sweeps also can evaluate your chimney drafts and help make recommendations on fixing your chimney draft to ensure that air is flowing in the right direction and that future chimney odors won’t foul up the air within your home.

By Steve Sobczak on July 20th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Keep your home safe by having your dryer vents cleaned

Clothing dryers cause 15,600 fires in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center. Those fires cause 400 injuries and 15 deaths, and they were largely preventable. In 80 percent of cases, those fires were completely preventable. They were caused by dirty, clogged dryer vents.Keep your home safe by having your dryer vents cleaned img - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

Know the dangers of dirty dryer vents.

You know that loads of laundry tumbling in the dryer result in lint. Before you dry each load of clothes, you likely make sure that your lint trap is clean as a safety precaution. But that trap doesn’t collect all of the lint generated by your dryer. A portion of that lint makes its way into the dryer vent. The damp, sticky lint sticks to the walls of the dryer vents and then to itself, causing a partial or complete blockage of the dryer vent. When the dryer can’t vent the heat it creates, the dryer overheats, and a fire can result. Or, if you have a gas dryer, the carbon monoxide that’s exhausted through the vent can be pushed back into your home and build to dangerous levels.

Keep your home and family safe with dryer vent cleaning.

Professional dryer vent cleaning is the best way to keep your home and family safe from the dangers of clogged dryer vents. During a professional dryer vent cleaning, a technician will use high-powered rotating brushes. It will also use a vacuum system to safely remove the lint from your vent without damaging your ductwork. The technician also will examine your vents and ducts for signs of damage. The will look for improper hookups to be sure that the system is safe for use as well. To protect your home from a fire, it’s recommended that you have your dryer vents cleaned by a professional at least once a year.

Look for the signs of clogged dryer vents.

The recommendation is to have vents cleaned once per year. However, you might require more frequent cleanings if you put a lot of laundry through your dryer. That’s why, in between cleanings, you should be on the lookout for signs that your dryer vents have become clogged. The first sign of dirty dryer vents is an increase of time it takes to dry a load of clothes. You also might notice that the dryer or the clothes become hot to the touch. Also, the laundry room might be noticeably warmer while the dryer is running. Clogged vent also can result in a musty smell, a burning smell or an unusually strong smell of fabric softener while the dryer is running. You also should check the dryer vent at the exterior of your home periodically. Do this is to make sure that it is free from obstructions and that air is being exhausted from the vent while the dryer is running.

Keep your home and family safe by having your dryer vents professionally cleaned. Call Total Chimney Care to schedule your dryer vent cleaning today!

By Steve Sobczak on July 5th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Schedule Your Chimney Inspection and Repairs Now!

Too many homeowners wait until the last few days of summer, or the early days of fall, to schedule their chimney inspection and repairs. For the easiest scheduling of cleaning and repairs, schedule your chimney services now!

Avoid the Fall Rush

As soon as Labor Day strikes and temperatures show signs of cooling off, nearly every homeowner with a fireplace calls to schedule their annual sweeping and inspection, along with any repairs they may have planned. While that’s certainly fine, waiting until the late summer or early fall can have you struggling to get on a chimney’s sweep’s schedule. By calling to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection now, you can avoid the fall rush. You will be able to schedule your appointment more easily, have a wider range of dates and times available to you, and you won’t risk delaying lighting your first fire while you wait to have your fireplace and chimney serviced.

Leave Ample Time for RepairsSchedule Your Chimney Inspection and Repairs Now Image - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

The other major problem with waiting until fall to have your chimney swept and inspected is that if your sweep finds the need for repairs, you might not have time to have the repairs completed before cold, wet weather sets in. Most masonry materials require warmer, dry weather to properly set. To make sure you can have your chimney repaired while the weather is optimal, call now to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection. Or, if you see cracks or damaged masonry on your chimney and expect that repairs are needed, call now to get those repairs scheduled!

Stop Further Chimney Damage

Most chimney damage occurs in the winter, as the result of winter precipitation, freezing temperatures, and vicious winter winds. And with most chimney damage, the longer the damage goes unchecked, the more severe the problem becomes and the more expensive it can become to fix. That’s why it’s wise to have your chimney inspected in the spring or early summer. That allows you to catch and repair any damage incurred over the winter before it can worsen.

Make Upgrades

Most people think of upgrading their fireplace or chimney when it’s in use for the season. They put off the improvements because they don’t want to interrupt the usage of their hearth. Then summer rolls around, and the improvements go forgotten until it’s time to light the fire again. If you want to improve your hearth with a new insert, new fuel type, new damper or hearth rebuild, summer is the time to make your upgrades! By planning for upgrades in the summer, your improved hearth will be ready for your first fire come fall.

Don’t wait to have your chimney swept and inspected, your fireplace repaired or your hearth upgraded! Call Total Chimney Care now to schedule your chimney service or to speak to one of our fireplace and chimney experts about the possibility of upgrades or repairs!

By Steve Sobczak on June 19th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment