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

Firebox Repairs & Rebuilds

Do you know the area of your fireplace where the fires actually burn? That place is called the firebox and, whether you have a wood-burning unit or a gas-fueled appliance, keeping your firebox in tip-top shape is a must.

Firebox Rebuild and repairs

This piece of chimney anatomy takes on a big role by hosting your cozy fireplace fires, and it faces a lot of heat and wear-and-tear throughout the burning process. Because of this, addressing damages or structural concerns in a prompt fashion is essential. Failing to do so will keep your fireplace from operating as efficiently as possible, and it could quickly lead to some dangerous situations for your home and family, as well.

Learn more about the threats of a damaged firebox below, then count on our team to assist with any necessary repairs or rebuilds. We would love to set you up right before the fall season officially arrives!

Carbon Monoxide Exposure

A major risk involved with a faulty firebox is the increased chances of experiencing carbon monoxide exposure. Gaps, cracks, and broken down areas offer open pathways for dangerous fumes, like this one, to enter your home. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless making it nearly impossible to detect, and it has proven to be deadly when not addressed quickly.

By investing in regular maintenance for your heating devices, air duct system, and more, and by placing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, you could make all the difference in keeping your family better protected this upcoming holiday season.

House Fires

Another big risk that comes with operating a broken down firebox is the increased risk of house fires. The same openings that poisonous gases can escape through could also provide a place for flames to escape into your household, causing any adjacent woodwork to eventually catch on fire. As you can imagine, this could result in quite a bit of property damage, which is a lot more costly to address than simply investing in an affordable fireplace repair.

Minimize your family’s risk of injury by counting on our crew to help you out with every step of this process. We’ll have you all set and ready to use your fireplace in no time!

Schedule An Inspection Today

If you are at all concerned about the condition your structure is in, then don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. As CSIA certified sweeps, we urge all homeowners to invest in an annual inspection to ensure their chimney and fireplace stay in the best shape possible year after year. If you’re ready to get yours scheduled, give us a call today. We’d love to hear from you!

By Steve Sobczak on September 8th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards

How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards - Fairfield New Haven CT - Total Chimney CareAccording to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 carbon monoxide -related deaths occur annually, due to inadequate safety awareness in the public. Other agencies estimate that the number of deaths could be as high as 4,000. Why are these figures so high? Unlike other poisonous gases, carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and virtually undetectable gas. It kills slowly, over time, with seemingly harmless symptoms and warning signs like dizziness or stomachache. Many homeowners don’t realize where this threat comes from or how to avoid it.

Where The Threat Lies

When winter comes, you close the windows and set the thermostat to 70 degrees. But, have you given much thought to whether or not your furnace’s chimney flue is clean and ready to properly exhaust? Today’s gas or oil heating systems might be highly efficient, but if the chimney and connector pipe are not inspected and cleaned at periodic intervals, carbon monoxide poisoning can be a very real threat. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize this threat, and don’t make furnace flue sweeping appointments a priority.

Why The Threat Is Higher Than Before

Even though today’s home heating systems are incredibly efficient, today’s homes are designed and built to be more air tight than ever before. The reason for this is that air tight homes help conserve energy and keep utilities low. But, there is a downside. Air tight homes don’t allow much fresh air in or much polluted air out. Without fresh air, the furnace may be starved for oxygen, which will lead to incomplete fuel burn and the production of carbon monoxide. Worse still, if the heating system’s chimney is clogged, dirty, or otherwise blocked, this carbon monoxide will seep back into the home’s air supply instead of escaping through the furnace’s exhaust system.

What Can Be Done?

The best thing to do to keep your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning low is to make annual chimney inspections and cleanings a priority in your home. Many homeowners assume that the oil or gas technician inspects and cleans the flue when delivering fuel – but this is simply not the case. So, before closing the windows for the season and cranking up the thermostat, give Chimney Saver Solutions a call! We’ll inspect your furnace’s exhaust system and remove any buildup or debris that could negatively impact its function. Call us today!

By Steve Sobczak on September 8th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

No matter what time of the year, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are very real dangers. However, homeowners must take extra precaution this time of year because every home is running a furnace, boiler, fireplace or wood stove. While these heating appliances help people survive in the most frigid weather, they also pose a threat to survival with the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. To stay warm and safe this winter, install and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Safety - New Haven & Fairfield CT - Total Chimney CareIn the case of an unintentional house fire, people living in the house have a few short minutes at best to escape the building. To help maximize the time the inhabitants have for escape, every level of the house should be equipped with a smoke detector, in addition to inside every bedroom and outside the sleeping area. Each smoke detector should be tested once per month and totally replaced at least every 10 years. Having working smoke detectors in the house actually doubles the odds of survival in reported house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Possibly more dangerous than house fires, carbon monoxide is another serious safety threat during the winter months. The gas has no color, smell or taste, which means your body cannot detect carbon monoxide unless signs of poisoning have started to set in. Therefore, unlike a fire, you cannot immediately tell your life is in danger. Because of this insidious threat, the home must be equipped with updated carbon monoxide detectors.

Every type of burning creates carbon monoxide. Hence, a poorly venting chimney could cause your gas or wood burning fireplace to pour carbon monoxide into the living space. A gas furnace with a hole in the fire chamber could mean unhealthy concentrations of carbon monoxide. During a power outage, using a propane lantern to gather the family together could potentially be lethal.

Inhaling carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from entering the blood stream. The more you breathe, the more evident the lack of oxygen becomes. First, carbon monoxide poisoning feels like dizziness, vertigo and nausea. These initial signs can be reversed by moving to an open outdoor area, but all too often, the poisoning progresses to a loss of consciousness and chances of reversal become quite dim. Eventually, the organs begin to fail and death quickly ensues. This entire process can actually happen in just one minute if the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough

The hazards of fire and carbon monoxide must be respected. Maintaining and updating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors around the house is vital to staying safe, but you can also protect your family by educating everyone on the proper safety in case of an emergency. These simple measures can save lives. For more information on smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, contact the local fire department or Total Chimney Care of New Haven, Connecticut.

By Steve Sobczak on December 17th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Kerosene Heaters and Your Safety

Unlike in Japan, where kerosene heaters are often primary heating appliances, they are widely used for a quick burst of extra heat in American households. As a result, they are not generally thought of as things that pose a danger as long as they are kept away from curtains and bedding. That, however, is a mistake because kerosene heaters pose significant dangers even when properly distanced from flammables.

Kerosene Heater - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

Serious Dangers in Kerosene Heaters

Among those dangers are:

  • a high fuel to air ratio when ignited
  • strong fumes when filled
  • release of all combustibles into the room
  • health risks with inadequate ventilation
  • open flame
  • hot surfaces

Need we go on?

The use of kerosene heaters mandates the utmost caution when refilling, lighting, and operating them, regardless of where you live. They contain a flammable substance themselves, can ignite others, and require an open flame. Especially with children in the house, they need to be carefully placed and closely monitored.

You Might Ask Your Chimney Sweep

Obvious measures are called for by the dangers they present, but you could also ask your chimney sweep for advice and a quick check of your typical set-ups. Certified chimney sweeps are knowledgeable of clearances from flammables, among other things, so their input can be helpful. Still, a lot of things you can attend to regularly and by yourself, starting with providing a way out for carbon monoxide.

Windows should always be cracked when a kerosene heater is in use, unless the “heater” we are talking about comes with a flue that vents to the outdoors. There also needs to be proper ventilation when the heater is being refilled, and it needs to be kept well away from flammable household liquids. Some way of preventing children from coming too close to its hot surfaces is also called for, so maybe your chimney sweep will have some ideas about that too!

By Steve Sobczak on April 6th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment