Total Chimney Care's Blog

Issues That Occur With A Faulty Chimney

Has your chimney and fireplace been showing signs of damage, inefficiency, and/or poor airflow? It may be time to have things looked over! The worse any issues become, the more problems you are prone to experience, and in the end your home, family, and fireplace could face some serious risks. Learn more about these scenarios below, then reach out to our team right away, so that we can do everything possible to help you avoid any dangers. Total Chimney Care has got your back through it all!

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Smoke In Your Home

The last thing anyone wants to experience when lighting a fire is smoke billowing out of the firebox and into their living space. This can have a big impact on the health of loved ones, especially if there are young children or infants in the home, and it is especially threatening to those with asthma or other breathing-related struggles.

On top of all this, smoke leaves an unpleasant aroma in the space, and the smell tends to seep into carpet, rugs, curtains, blankets, and furniture, making it harder than ever to get rid of. All in all, smoke in the home is something to avoid at all costs!

There are a lot of reasons why smoke might be entering your home whenever you try to light a fire. Things like a closed damper, unseasoned firewood, or a cold flue are easy to address, but if there are bigger issues at hand, the help of a certified technician will be necessary. Call us in, and we can check for build-up or damages. In some cases, the structure of the chimney needs to be modified, in which case some reconstruction work will be in order.

No matter what the problem is, the crew at Total Chimney Care can find the issue and get you the help you need. Get on the phone with our experts today, so that we can get this process started!

Excess Creosote

Another problem that occurs when there are problems throughout a chimney is excess creosote accumulation. The more creosote you have, the more problems you’ll have with air flow, and your chances of experiencing a chimney fire will increase, too. All in all, keeping creosote deposits to a minimum is always the best route to take, but problems with your structure can make this challenging.

One thing that encourages creosote to form is poor draft. Regularly clearing your flue out is essential, as is ensuring you are set up with everything you need to encourage airflow to effectively travel through your structure’s openings. Let us check things over to ensure you are totally equipped to light fires in a manner that is safe and efficient – and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have along the way!

Less Heat In Your Living Space

Fireplaces add a great ambiance to your home, and they create a beautiful focal point that helps bring any living space together. That being said, they aren’t just there for decoration! When used correctly, a fireplace can pour a lot of heat into your home, giving you the power to lower your energy bills and bring your loved ones closer together. Unfortunately, some fires don’t burn as hot as others, and the way your system is set up can have a big impact on this.

Burning well-seasoned wood and ensuring your damper is open wide are two things you can do to get more heat from your fires, but sometimes these steps still don’t cut it. The amount of debris and creosote throughout your flue can play a big role in how hot your fires burn, as can the set-up of your structure. These are things that need to be tackled by a professional to ensure the best results possible.

Increased Risk Of House Fires & Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Now, a faulty chimney can make any fireplace experience less than ideal, but by not addressing problems throughout the structure, you actually put your home and family at risk, too. Any cracks, gaps, and openings give heat and flames easy access to adjacent woodwork, and putting your home at great risk of a fire.

Along with this, carbon monoxide could easily enter through these same areas, putting your loved ones at great risk. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, making it next to impossible to detect, and exposure can result in serious illness or death. This gas causes thousands to visit the hospital every year and is known for causing hundreds of deaths annually, too.

When it comes right down to it, there is simply no point in taking any risks, especially when scheduling an inspection with our team is as easy as making a quick phone call. You can even request an appointment online through our website! All in all, we want our customer base to feel as safe and as protected as possible, all while being able to enjoy their fireplace to the fullest anytime they wish.

Ready to work with a team that always puts your needs first? Reach out today. We’re eager to hear from you!

By Steve Sobczak on February 10th, 2020 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Avoid Late-Season Chimney Fires

The fire-burning season is largely over, but check your chimney before you light one last fire for the season. While you might worry about chimney fires when your fireplace is in full force for the season, you actually run the biggest risk for chimney fires late in the season. Here’s why late-season chimney fires are fairly common.

Why Chimney Fires are More Common in the Late Season

The saying goes that clean chimneys don’t catch fire. After a season’s worth of house-warming fires, your chimney isn’t clean anymore. Every time you burn a fire, the smoke from the fire cools as it travels up the chimney. This forms condensation on the walls of the chimney. That condensation hardens into creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable substance. If creosote has built up on your chimney thicker than 1/8 of an inch, it can ignite due to extreme heat from your fireplace or from a stray ember that makes its way up your chimney. You can check the level of creosote in your chimney by reaching inside and scraping off a small piece of creosote. If the depth of your scratch or the thickness of the piece of creosote is greater than 1/8 of an inch, call your chimney sweep.

How to Prevent Late-Season Chimney Fires

The key to preventing late-season chimney fires, or any chimney fire, is to keep your chimney clean. Most homeowners clean their chimney once per year in the fall. If you use your chimney heavily throughout the winter months, you might consider having a mid- or late-season chimney sweeping. This ensures that the creosote within your chimney hasn’t built up to potentially dangerous levels. A late-season chimney sweeping is especially wise if you tend to burn fires into the spring if temperatures warrant the additional heat.

You also can work throughout the winter to minimize the amount of creosote that builds up within your chimney. The hotter your fire burns, the less creosote will build up in your chimney with each fire. A hot fire needs dry wood and plenty of oxygen. Only burn hardwoods that have been allowed to dry for at least six months. In addition, always operate your fireplace with the fireplace doors and damper completely open, unless you have heavy-duty fireplace doors that are designed to be closed when the fireplace is in use.

Call Total Chimney Care to Help You Prevent a Late-Season Chimney Fire!

If you’ve been burning fires in your fireplace all season long, call Total Chimney Care to clean your chimney before you light another fire! A late-season chimney sweeping will help you to prevent a late-season chimney fire, and it will help prepare your chimney for the start of the next fire-burning season.

By Steve Sobczak on May 14th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

All About Liners

Your chimney’s liner serves a critical purpose: it protects the exterior masonry from the direct impact of heat. Over time, your liner may develop cracks and need to be replaced or repaired.

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Identifying the Dangers of Creosote

After wood or coal has burned in a fireplace over a period of time, the family is likely to be exposed to the dangers of creosote. Creosote is a chemical that is left behind on the fireplace and in the chimney after these materials have been burned. It is important for homeowners to be aware of this potential problem and to maintain their fireplaces accordingly.

Creosote Buildup - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

Image courtesy of Dennis Lamb of The Mad Hatter Chimney Service in Indianapolis IN

If there is a possibility that the dangers of creosote are present, the first step is to look inside the chimney. It is easy to see an accumulation of this dangerous chemical inside of the chimney and the fireplace. If it appears to have built up to an amount of more than one eighth of an inch, it may be time for a good cleaning.

Of course, getting a good look inside of the chimney requires the inspector to climb up into the roof. The majority of creosote accumulation is going to be found near the top of the chimney, not at the base near the fireplace. For safety and convenience reasons, it is a good idea for homeowners to hire professional chimney and fireplace inspectors to handle this for them.

If the inspection shows that there is, in fact, a dangerous amount of creosote  in the fireplace, this is not a cleaning job that homeowners should take on themselves. Cleaning a chimney is a complicated task and should be left to someone who is specifically trained for the job. An inexperienced person may not only put themselves and the chimney at risk, but they will most likely end up having to call a professional anyway.

The presence of creosote in a chimney or fireplace can pose a significant risk to the health and well-being of the family. A homeowner who is unsure as to whether or not they are at risk should call a professional to inspect their chimney. When taking care of a creosote problem, it is best to hire a certified chimney sweep.

By Steve Sobczak on May 28th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment