Total Chimney Care's Blog

Are You Ready For Your Burning Season?

Are the dropping temperatures putting you in the mood to light a fire? When the chilly winds of fall arrive, there’s no better spot to be than curled up inside next to a warm, crackling flame. Guarantee yourself peace of mind and comfort by ensuring your fireplace and chimney are all set and ready for use. Our team is here to help with it all!

Schedule An Inspection

First things first, get that annual inspection on the calendar. Our team of CSIA certified technicians are able to perform all three levels of chimney inspections, so we can help you out, no matter what. We have the tools, know-how, and equipment necessary to get a thorough and in-depth look, and we can suggest further maintenance based upon our findings. If you want to know where your chimney stands, this is the way to learn.

Address Damages & Build-Up

If our inspection reveals obstructions, creosote build-up, crumbling masonry, damaged chimney parts, or anything else of concern, then it is important to resolve all issues before lighting any fires. While this may mean putting off the start of your burning season for a bit, it is really the only option. Operating a damaged or clogged chimney would put your home and family at serious risk of gas exposure and fires.

Check Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Once you have the go-ahead to put your appliance to use, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working appropriately before getting a fire going. These devices have saved countless lives over the years, alarming people of potential threats all throughout the night and day. If there’s smoke or poisonous gas in your home, your detectors will be sure to let you know.

Fuel Up

Do you have a wood-burning fireplace, stove, or insert? Then, finding the right fuel is essential! Never use unseasoned wood or garbage as this encourages the accumulation of creosote, and it makes your fires a lot more smokey, too. Rather, invest in well-seasoned logs that have been drying out for at least six months. These pieces should be lightweight, split and dark at the ends, shorter in length, and will make a hollow, “clunking” noise when smacked against each other.

Rely On Us

If you want to guarantee a successful burning period this fall and winter, the best way to do so is to rely on our experienced and qualified team. We’ve been serving the area for over 20 years now, and it’s clear that we are passionate about keeping homes and families as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Ready to work with a team that you can trust in for many years to come? Reach out today. Total Chimney Care is ready to have your back through it all!

By Steve Sobczak on October 6th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The early bird gets the worm — Schedule your chimney appointment now!

Fall is just around the corner. As soon as the leaves turn and the temperatures begin to drop, homeowners throughout the northeast will call their chimney sweeps to schedule their annual chimney sweepings and inspections. When it comes to having your chimney swept in a timely manner and fully prepared for fall, the early bird really does get the worm.

Get the appointment you want, faster

The early bird gets the worm — Schedule your chimney appointment now - Fairfield & New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care In the fall, our schedules fill up fast. You may have to wait weeks for a chimney sweeping and inspection, which can delay the enjoyment of your fireplace. To get an appointment in the fall, you might even have to rearrange your schedule for when your sweep is available. By calling to schedule before the fall rush, you can get an appointment faster! Schedule an appointment with us right now, and your chimney will be swept, inspected and ready for all the fires to come.

Leave time for repairs

Most chimney sweepings and inspections are routine maintenance. Your sweep clears away creosote and performs a quick inspection to make sure your chimney is damage free and safe to use. Unfortunately, chimney inspections sometimes reveals needed repairs. When repairs are necessary, they should be addressed immediately. Having your chimney swept early leave plenty of time for needed repairs, and then your chimney will be ready for fall.

Make the improvements you’ve been thinking about

Have you been thinking about making improvements to your hearth or chimney? Fireplace and chimney improvements are often put off, until homeowners are ready to use their fireplaces again in the fall. By then, it’s often too late as our schedule is usually filled up. When you schedule your annual chimney service early, you can consult with our chimney sweep about the improvements you’ve been considering. By scheduling your sweeping early, you can spend this winter enjoying the fireplace of your dreams.

When it comes to annual chimney sweepings and inspections, the early bird really does get the worm! Don’t wait! Call Total Chimney Care today at 203-874-6772 to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection now!

By Steve Sobczak on August 30th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Stinky Fireplace?

Annoying Fireplace and Chimney Odor

Summer means warm weather and lots of outdoor fun. However, it also means that many of our customers begin to have a foul-smelling fireplace. Why? Because when your fireplace is out of use, all the accumulation from last winter can begin to cause odors.

There can be many reasons for a smelly fireplace. Regardless of the cause, call us and let us schedule a cleaning and inspection.

There can be many reasons for a smelly fireplace. Regardless of the cause, call us and let us schedule a cleaning and inspection.

To answer their questions and to provide useful information for the future use and reference of other homeowners, here are a few information regarding chimney odors:

What are fireplace and chimney odors?

Some of you may not be able to distinguish the smell right away. Chimney or fireplace odors, sometimes also referred to as smoke odors, basically have a characteristic campfire-like smell, but it’s not only limited to that kind of smell. The distinct smell may also vary depending on the severity of the problem in your chimney and on the cause and actual source of the smell.

What causes these odors?

One source of these odors stem from creosote deposits. Put simply, creosote is a chemical byproduct from the process of burning wood. And since the chimney is a place where wood burning is normal, you should expect creosote to be part of the package.

So basically, these creosote deposits stick in your chimney walls and in your flue. During rainy and humid weathers, or even when we turn the air conditioner on, it promotes the accumulation of moisture inside your chimney. Moisture mixed with the creosote deposits produces a musky odor that would intensify depending on the level of creosote accumulation in your chimney and on the moisture content in the room.

Another cause could be attributed to chimney molds that grow due to the damp environment of your chimney when water or moisture gets inside. It could also be because of blockages caused not only by creosote, but also by debris, animals, and other natural elements.

How can we remedy this predicament?

Since creosote formation is unavoidable as much as the weather is beyond our control, there is only one possible solution to our problems – prevention. How can we prevent this? It’s easy. We just need to look for a chimney professional certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and schedule regular inspections and sweeping. We also have the option to have a chimney cap installed so that nothing can go inside. Not only are we able to keep our chimneys clean and odor-free, we are also well updated when it comes to our chimney’s current status. So whenever there are damages, we can have them fixed before the situation goes out of hand.

Creosote F.A.Q.

Fireplaces are designed to safely contain a wood-fueled fire, while, at the same time, heating your home.  Chimneys are designed to expel the substances—smoke, water vapor, gases, etc.—produced from your wood fire.  As these substances are ushered up and out of your house, another substance is formed in the process; that substance is known as creosote.

Do you have questions about creosote removal? Feel free to call us with any chimney-related concerns.

Do you have questions about creosote removal? Feel free to call us with any chimney-related concerns.

You’re probably asking yourself, “what exactly is creosote, and why is it dangerous to allow it to accumulate inside your chimney?”  It’s fairly easy to explain.  Creosote is a sticky chemical residue—somewhat similar to watery tar—that is formed when wood is burned at lower-than-optimal temperatures and is capable of building up within your chimney, thereby decreasing the amount of open space through which exhaust gases and smoke can pass.

Increased amounts of creosote are formed from burning unseasoned softwoods in your fireplace than properly seasoned hardwoods as well.  The residue begins as unburned oil in the form of gas.  As this gas exits the fireplace and flows up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs.  When the condensation dries, it gradually hardens, taking the following forms: Stage 1 creosote (velvety soot), Stage 2 creosote (porous and crunchy), and Stage 3 creosote (shiny, rock-hard glaze).  This buildup is a definite fire hazard.

Fresh layers of creosote can build up rapidly, accumulating quickly when previously deposited layers of creosote don’t dry completely.  These newly formed layers insulate the older layers from the heat of the rising wood exhaust, which eventually dries them and creates a heavy buildup of sticky creosote that eventually solidifies completely; this results in a rock-solid layer of creosote is often referred to as glaze.

Depending on the internal dimensions of your chimney, this buildup can seriously restrict the flow of air, which can lead to smoke buildup in the fireplace as well as in your house.  This reduced airflow can also cause your fires to burn cooler, as they’re not able to get the necessary amount of oxygen for increased combustion; all of this results in additional creosote buildup inside your chimney.

Creosote becomes dangerous when it is allowed to accumulate in your chimney because it turns into a fuel source for a possible deadly chimney fire.  The build up of creosote can never be avoided completely; however, burning small, hot fires and using dry, seasoned wood can minimize the buildup.

Sooner or later, every chimney needs to be cleaned, as this is the only way to truly remove dangerous creosote buildup.  It is highly recommended that you leave this task to a CSIA Certified chimney sweep to ensure that the job is done properly.  The frequency for your cleanings will depend on the amount of use your fireplace receives, but it should never be any longer than a year between cleanings.

Remember: a clean chimney is far less likely to catch fire than a dirty one.  So what are you waiting for?  Call Total Chimney Care today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney cleaned so you can enjoy the cold-weather months with a little additional peace of mind.