Total Chimney Care's Blog

A Good Host Provides Warmth and Safety to Everyone

It’s that time of year again! Families come together for parties and extended visits. They gather around the fireplace to share drinks and stories, enjoying the warm ambiance of the fire. If you are hosting your family this holiday season, remember that a good host provides warmth, and safety, to the whole family.

A Good Host Provides Warmth and Safety to Everyone - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney CareKeep your family safe and warm with a chimney inspection!

If your family will be gathering around the fireplace this holiday season, keeping them warm and safe begins with having your chimney swept and inspected. First and foremost, a chimney inspection ensures that your chimney is clear of dangerous creosote, animal nests, debris and damage. These are things that could cause a chimney fire. In addition, cause carbon monoxide to build up into your home. In short, a chimney sweeping makes sure that your chimney isn’t putting your family in danger.

Secondly, your chimney sweeping and inspection ensures that you will be able to keep your family warm this holiday season! You don’t want to have your family gathered around the fireplace only to find that it won’t ignite, or to have smoke come billowing back into the house because something is amiss with the chimney.

In short, your annual chimney inspection helps to guarantee this: You won’t gather your family around the fireplace only to find that the fireplace can’t be used because it’s damaged or malfunctioning.

Practice fireplace safety with your family!

Another thing to keep in mind as your family gathers around the fireplace this holiday season is fireplace safety! Make sure you never burn anything in the fireplace that wasn’t intended as fuel. This includes wrapping paper or cardboard. That can cause dangerous flare ups that can ignite your chimney. Also, it can force noxious fumes back into your home.

Also, if children will be visiting your home, talk to them about being safe around the fireplace. They should stay off the hearth. Plus, they should be aware that glass fireplace doors, or the sides and tops of heating stoves, can be incredibly hot to the touch.

Are going to be hosting family with very small children or pets? You may want to consider installing a safety gate around your hearth to prevent burn accidents.

Finally, make sure that your home is outfitted with working smoke detectors. Check smoke detectors before guests arrive. You should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home, and directly outside all sleeping areas. This is important to keep in mind if you will have guests sleeping in rooms or parts of your home that don’t typically serve as bedrooms!

Call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today!

Make sure your hearth is safe and ready for your family this holiday season. Call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can sweep and inspect your chimney. And, as always, make sure it’s ready to keep your family warm this holiday season. We will also advise you on fireplace safety for the holidays!

By Steve Sobczak on December 9th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Have the Chimney Inspected Before Buying or Selling a Home

Buying and selling a home can be a very daunting time for both the buyer and seller. Usually the role of buyer and seller are reversed during the property transfer and acquisition proceedings as the seller of one property becomes the buyer of another. Total Chimney Care has become a pivotal partner for home owners buying and selling property. Chimney Inspection for Buying and Selling homes - Milford CT

There are so many considerations when buying and selling a home that it requires a team of professionals in real estate, law, insurance, lending, and property maintenance to look out for your best interests. Most lending institutions require an inspection as part of the real estate transfer process. However, any inspection is only as valuable as the thoroughness and attention to detail of the inspector. An inspection suitable for the lender may not cover the detail you want. Adding a chimney professional to your team is also critical. Often the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney professionals will pick up on issues that home inspectors may miss. “Home inspectors are generalists. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep is a specialist,” explains Ashley Eldridge, CSIA’s Director of Education.

There is an excellent first person account on the Wisdom from the Hearth, blog from CSIA that details the reasons why you should consider adding a chimney professional to your team. It’s a must read for anyone considering buying property. In the blog, the potential home buyer’s chimney professionals found that part of the chimney was not up to code and the chase cover was holding, rather than deflecting, water which meant there was current and future potential for water damage. The CSIA certified chimney professionals also found evidence (that the home inspector missed) that the bricks supporting the façade of the fireplace were separating from the wall which meant there was inadequate support of the brick, another costly repair. Once the potential buyer was aware of these issues she could properly address them with the seller and negotiate repairs or a price reduction.

No one likes surprises and this is especially true when buying property. During the purchasing process a chimney professional can provide you with the peace of mind that you are fully aware of the condition of the property you are buying and the property is priced accordingly.

As a pro-active note, when you can show potential buyers evidence that you have followed the CSIA’s recommendations and have been diligent in having yearly inspections and professional cleaning of your fireplace, chimney, and household venting you are able to justify a higher price for your property. You will be able to show the buyer that your chimney, and fireplace, and venting have received maintenance and repairs from a chimney professional which will enable buyers to have confidence in their interest, and ultimate decision, to buy your property. The reverse is true when you are the potential home buyer; it will put your mind at ease to review the reports from the chimney professional over the years to understand the home’s chimney and masonry history.

Total Chimney Care is on your side, whether or not you will soon be buying on selling property. Our objective is to keep you safe and to preserve the integrity of your structure. If you have any questions be sure to reach out to us: 203-874-6772.

By Steve Sobczak on June 27th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

6 Questions to Ask Your Sweep

Your chimney is an integral part of your home. You wouldn’t want to entrust its care to just anyone out there. To make sure you get the best sweeps in town, use these questions as a guide:

It is important to ask these questions to give you an overview of the things your chimney sweep can do and to assess their expertise, professionalism, and demeanor.

It is important to ask these questions to give you an overview of the things your chimney sweep can do and to assess their expertise, professionalism, and demeanor.

Your Chimney’s Spring Checklist

When we think of Spring, flowers, sunshine, and freshness come to mind. Sometimes, we forget all about the one that kept us warm and cozy all winter long. -- Don't forget to include your chimney in your Spring home maintenance checklist.

When we think of Spring, flowers, sunshine, and freshness come to mind. Sometimes, we forget all about the one that kept us warm and cozy all winter long. — Don’t forget to include your chimney in your Spring home maintenance checklist.

The long winter season is finally over, and spring has sprung into action! This means it’s time for spring cleaning, and when you are making your cleaning list for your house, don’t forget your fireplace and chimney. Spring is the best time to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection because it’s easy to get an appointment, and your fireplace and chimney are at their dirtiest after using it all winter to warm your house. When you make your spring checklist for your chimney, you really only have one step to make: contact Total Chimney Care today for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, and we will take care of the other steps on your spring checklist for your chimney.

What We’ll Do

  • According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you must have your chimney swept and inspected annually in order to keep it safe and up-to-date on all repairs. When we arrive to your home to perform a chimney sweep and inspection, we will inspect your chimney with a video camera attached to a long rod. This will allow us to closely examine the interior of your chimney, letting us see if there is any hidden damage or other problems.
  • The next step is placing drop cloths down on the floor and furniture around your fireplace to protect them from soot and dust, and then our Total Chimney Care technician will vacuum your chimney with a clean HEPA vacuum filter to keep all the debris and dirt out of your house.
  • After vacuuming your chimney, our next step is sweeping your chimney to remove creosote buildup. We will also clear any blockages from your liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper.
  • The final step in our chimney sweep is to evaluate our findings in the video footage to see if there is any damage that needs repairing. This kind of damage includes loose bricks (indicating water leaking, which can lead to structural damage), creosote build-up (which can lead to chimney fires), and broken tiles (another sign of possible structural damage).
  • Other signs of needed repair that you can add to your spring cleaning checklist are a strong odor coming from your fireplace (indicating damper problems or air ventilation issues), a stained-black or discolored fireplace opening (meaning your venting needs to be replaced), and loose bricks or cracks in the mortar on the outside of your chimney (a sure sign of water infiltration causing structural damage).
  • If you do need repairs, Total Chimney Care has worked with every sort of fireplace and chimney problem. From cracked masonry to blocked chimney caps, we have handled it all. We will be happy to evaluate your problems and give you an estimate on any repairs needed.

Make your spring checklist for your chimney easy this season by scheduling an appointment with Total Chimney Care for your annual chimney sweep and inspection. Ask us about our “sweep you off your feet” guarantee when you contact us. We look forward to getting your chimney cleaned up for the spring season.