Total Chimney Care's Blog

Get Your Chimney Cleaned Before the Cold Strikes!

Fall is in full swing, and soon enough, winter will be upon us with its cold, windy snowy weather. You want to be sure that your home is ready to combat the cold with a safe and functional fireplace or heating stove. Here’s why you should be sure to have your chimney swept and inspected before the cold strikes.

Reduce the risk of chimney firesGet your chimney cleaned before the cold

The No. 1 reason to have your chimney swept and inspected before you light a fire this fall is to reduce your home’s risk of a chimney fire. Every time you build a fire, creosote or soot builds up within your chimney. Between fire-burning seasons, animals or debris can find their way into your chimney. Any of those things in your chimney can spark a chimney fire if an errant spark comes into contact with it or if the temperature of your fireplace increases drastically. For that reason, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney swept and inspected by a certified professional at least once per year.  This recommendation applies to all types of vented hearth appliances, including gas fireplaces and heating stoves.

Identify any deficiencies with your fireplace

Hearth appliances can malfunction like any appliance, and there is nothing worse than realizing your fireplace won’t light when the temperature drops and your home needs the supplemental heat. During your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, your chimney sweep will check all of the working components of your fireplace. He or she will identify any potential problems or failing equipment so that you can address those problems so that your fireplace will work when you want it to this winter.

Address chimney damage

Winter is notoriously hard on chimneys. Moisture finds its way into any weakness in the masonry, and when that moisture freezes and expands, it causes chimney masonry to break down even further, which can cause problems ranging from chimney leaks to structural failure. During your chimney inspection, your sweep will look for any cracks or weaknesses that would allow moisture into your chimney so you can protect your chimney against moisture this winter.

Make improvements to your hearth

Making an appointment with your chimney sweep this winter goes beyond regular maintenance; it gives you the opportunity to plan and carry out any improvements to your hearth system. Whether you’re looking to install a new insert to increase the efficiency or you want to upgrade the look of your fireplace with new fireplace doors, your chimney sweep can talk to you about your options and help you plan your hearth improvements.

Don’t be caught unaware by the cold this winter; be sure to have your chimney swept and inspected before the cold strikes! Call Total Chimney Care to schedule your appointment today.

By Steve Sobczak on November 16th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Reduce Fire Hazards in Your Home

Fireplaces and chimneys result in more than 22,000 home fires, on average, each year, according to statistics from the Chimney Safety Institute of America. More often than not, a dirty chimney is to blame for a chimney fire. To avoid becoming another statistic, and to reduce the fire hazard in your home, have your chimney swept and inspected before you use your fireplace this fall.

Dirty Chimneys Spark Fires

Every time you burn a fire in your fireplace, creosote builds up within the chimney. As smoke travels up the chimney and cools, condensation forms on the walls of your chimney flue and then hardens into creosote. Creosote is a flammable substance, which means that if a burning ember makes its way into your chimney. If the temperature within the chimney suddenly spikes, the creosote can ignite and start a chimney fire. The longer creosote remains within the chimney, the more it builds up. Creosote can even boil and bubble, forming a layer several inches thick that can ignite or prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from exiting your chimney.

Your annual chimney sweeping removes creosote from your chimney flue before it can pose a danger. To lower your risk of a chimney fire, the National Fire Protection Association calls for having your chimney swept and inspected at least once per year, between fire-burning seasons. If you burn an excessive amount of wood each season — think four cords or more — you should have your chimney swept more often.

Why Your Chimney Inspection Matters

Your annual chimney sweeping isn’t just about removing hazardous creosote from your chimney flue. It should also include an inspection. Your annual inspection spots any problems in your chimney or fireplace that could pose a fire hazard. Cracks or weaknesses in the chimney liner can let the heat, smoke, and fire from your chimney to access the wooden structure of your home, which can lead to a fire. Your inspection also will spot any signs of a previous chimney fire. Often, an initial chimney fire smolders and goes undetected. It does, however, damage the chimney, opening the door for a second, more severe chimney fire that can spread to the rest of your home.

If you have gas logs or a gas fireplace insert, your chimney sweeping and inspection is still important to prevent a house fire! The sweeping removes corrosive soot from the chimney and dust or debris from the burners and blowers in your fireplace. The inspection verifies that the chimney is in good condition and that all working components of the fireplace or logs are operating properly and safe for use.

Schedule Your Chimney Maintenace Now!

If you haven’t had your chimney swept and inspected yet this fall, don’t wait any longer! You should not light your fireplace for the season before the entire system has been swept and inspected. Doing so puts your home and your family at risk of a dangerous house fire! Reduce your risk of a chimney fire by calling Total Chimney Care to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection today.

By Steve Sobczak on November 15th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Is a chimney inspection needed every year?

Annual Chimney Inspections Needed Image - Fairfield & New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care LLCWhen temperatures drop, it can be tempting to light up your fireplace, even if you haven’t had your chimney cleaned yet. You have always been told that you need to have your chimney swept every year before you light your first fire of the season, but do you really need to have your chimney cleaned inspected each year?

The answer is: Yes.

Why do you need to have your chimney swept and inspected every year?

The National Fire Prevention Association code for fireplaces, chimneys, vents and solid-burning appliances declares that all chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year. The primary reason for this is simple: Each time you fuel combustion occurs within your fireplace, whether it’s wooden logs in your open-hearth fireplace or gas in your extremely efficient gas fireplace, byproducts of that combustion are sent up your chimney, where they collect and can cause problems.

In a wood-burning appliance, the byproduct that remains within the fireplace is creosote, a highly flammable tar-like substance that collects on the sides of the chimney’s walls. Creosote can ignite if an ember makes its way up the chimney or if the fireplace reaches a high enough temperature. That can cause a dangerous chimney fire. In a gas-burning appliance, the soot that collects on the walls of the chimney is highly corrosive. It can cause holes or cracks to develop in the chimney flue pipes, which can allow carbon monoxide to seep out of the fireplace into your home.

Meanwhile, your chimney inspection also helps to identify any problems with your fireplace or chimney. That can include everything from dangerous cracks in the chimney liner to a missing chimney cap to a rusting or malfunctioning damper.

What if you haven’t used your fireplace in the last year?

Even if you haven’t used your fireplace within the last year, it still should be swept and inspected by a certified chimney sweep. The chimney can become blocked in a variety of ways, such as from a nesting animal or from leaves or other natural debris. Those blockages can pose a hazard when you do choose to light a fire; they can flare up and cause a chimney fire, or they can force carbon monoxide back into your home. Things that become trapped in your chimney also can begin to decompose and fill your home with a bad smell.

Additionally, the inspection your chimney undergoes remains crucial regardless of how often you use your fireplace. Without your chimney inspection, a slow chimney leak can go unnoticed until it causes major damage, or the structure of your chimney could have minor weaknesses that develop into a major problem over time. Your chimney inspection can help you to spot minor chimney issues before they become major problems.

How can you schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection?

If you still need to have your chimney swept and inspected before winter officially sets in, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on November 5th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Total Chimney Care Embraces The CSIA

At Total Chimney Care, we believe in taking good care of our customers. To us, that means ensuring that our sweeps are well educated and trained in installing, maintaining and repairing fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys. The best way to do that, is by embracing the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

total chimney care embraces the csia - new haven ct - total chimney careWhat Is The CSIA?

The CSIA is the leading education and training organization for chimney sweeps in the United States. The CSIA works to educate chimney sweeps and the public about safe operation and care of fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys. One of the primary functions of the CSIA is to train and certify chimney sweeps. These primary functions include:

  • The science of wood-burning and creosote formation
  • Proper chimney sweeping inspection and repair techniques
  • Codes related to constructing chimneys and vents
  • Installing fireplaces and heating stoves
  • U.S. EPA regulations related to home-heating appliances

Under CSIA guidelines, sweeps have to renew their certification each year. In addition, they must retake the CSIA certification exam every three years.

How Does Total Chimney Care Uphold CSIA Standards?

At Total Chimney Care, we honor the high industry standards of the CSIA by making sure that our chimney sweeps are CSIA certified. We are proud to announce that Edward Andriaccio, Robert Baker, and Justin Gonzalez have earned their CSIA certifications. They did this by undergoing their CSIA training programming and passing the CSIA certification exam.

We at Total Chimney Care also believe in adhering the to the CSIA industry code of conduct. Under the code of conduct, we promise to:

  • Follow industry best practices
  • Know local codes and manufacturer’s guidelines for fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys
  • Always treat customers professionally and with respect

These are things that Total Chimney Care strongly believes in!

Why Else Are Total Chimney Care Sweeps The Best?

At Total Chimney Care, we not only uphold CSIA training and guidelines, we go beyond them! We have an in-house training facility. So, now all of our employees can learn and practice proper chimney care and maintenance. We hold regular in-house training, bringing in industry experts and factory technicians. It would be hard to find another company that trains their sweeps as well as we do!

When you call on Total Chimney Care, we promise to send well-trained, professional sweeps who will take good care of your home. We use drop cloths, gloves and high powered vacuums. This way we won’t make a mess of your home while we clean your chimney. Our technicians will always be on time, will introduce themselves, and produce their photo ID. So, as you prepare your fireplace and chimney for the upcoming fire-burning season, call on Total Chimney Care’s CSIA certified technicians to care for your home!

By Steve Sobczak on October 12th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

We Fix Leaky and Stinky Chimneys!

You probably worry about your chimney in the fall, as you prepare for a winter season full of warm fires. The reality is that spring’s rain and summer’s warmer temperatures can cause problems with your fireplace and chimney. If your chimney gives you problems this spring, Total Chimney Care can help! We Fix Chimneys That Leak & Stink - New Haven - Fairfield CT - Total chimney Care-w800-h800

Leaky chimneys

Leaky chimneys are one of the most common problems during the spring and summer months. When spring’s rains hit, cracks or leaks in your chimney that developed over the winter can suddenly become evident and damage your chimney or your home’s structure.

Because unchecked leaks can lead to costly and extensive repairs, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of chimney leaks this spring. Walk around your chimney and look for cracked or crumbling bricks, crumbling mortar joints and discoloration. If you’re able, it’s also wise to check the top of your chimney to make sure your chimney cap is firmly in place and that the flashing at the base of the chimney hasn’t pulled away from the chimney or cracked. Inside your home, look for stains on your walls and ceiling near your chimney. A rusted damper or rusting fireplace doors can be a sign of a chimney leak.

If you notice any signs of leaks, don’t wait to have them checked by a chimney professional. A technician from Total Chimney Care can inspect your chimney leak and help you formulate a plan for repairing your chimney leak. Calling now gives you time to have your chimney repaired this summer, before you’re ready to use your chimney again next fall.

Stinky chimneys

Stinky chimneys can be a major problem when the weather heats up. The creosote that has collected on your chimney walls each time you burned a fire this winter can begin to stink on hot, humid summer days. Even worse, if an animal has made its way into your chimney and become trapped, that animal can begin to decay and stink as temperatures rise. Those smells can fill your home, making for unpleasant living and becoming difficult to get rid of.

The best way to guard against a stinky chimney is to have your chimney swept each spring. A spring chimney sweeping gets rid of creosote and would spot any trapped animals, helping you to avoid a stinky chimney and home.

Call Total Chimney Care to stave off chimney problems

Spring is the best time to address problems with your chimney. With stinky chimneys and leaky chimneys being the most common spring and summer problems, a spring chimney sweeping and inspection is the perfect way to address and avoid any chimney problems. Total Chimney Care happily performs spring chimney maintenance that keeps your chimney leak and odor free. If you notice any leaks or smells coming from your chimney, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment.

By Steve Sobczak on April 21st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment