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

Time to start planning for chimney repairs

For many homeowners, spring ushers in a season of home maintenance and improvements. If your chimney needs to be repaired, the start of spring means it is time to start planning for those repairs.

Here are some reasons spring is the time to plan for chimney repairs:

  • Better weather. Winter is no time for chimney repairs. A mason or chimney technician might be able to work out a wintertime repair in dire circumstances, but by far, spring’s warmer temperatures and drier weather makes it a better time for chimney repairs. That’s especially true for masonry repairs; masonry materials require warmer, drier weather for proper curing.
  • Easier scheduling. Most people light their last fire of the season and quickly put their fireplaces and chimneys out of their minds until late summer or early fall, when they begin to prepare for the next winter’s fires. That makes spring the perfect time for chimney repairs because chimney companies are less busy. That means they’ll be able to schedule your repairs quickly.
  • Wintertime chimney damage. Chimneys deal with a lot during the winter: high winds, wet weather, freezing temperatures and the extreme heat of your fireplace. That means that chimney’s face the potential for a lot of damage during the winter months. That makes spring the right time to damage winter chimney repairs, before the damage worsens or causes problems with your fireplace or your home’s structure.
  • Ample time for improvements. When you address chimney repairs or improvements in the spring, you have plenty of time to have your chimney fixed or upgraded between the next fire-burning season. By addressing your chimney repairs in the spring, you can weigh all of your chimney repair options and consider functional or aesthetic upgrades, which you might not do if you’re planning chimney repairs under the pressure of impending fall temperatures.

So how do you know if chimney repairs should be on your home maintenance list? Obviously, if your sweep told you during your fall sweeping and inspection that repairs were imminent, you will know to schedule your repairs this spring. But if your chimney faced damage during the winter months, you might not realize that repairs are in order. For that reason, spring can be a great time for a chimney sweeping and inspection. If you have your chimney inspected now, rather than in the fall, you can spot and address needed repairs quickly.

If you choose to wait until fall for your chimney sweeping and inspection, you should be on the lookout for signs of chimney damage. Look for cracks in your chimney’s masonry, crumbling bricks or mortar and discoloration on the chimney exterior. Make sure the chimney cap remains firmly in place, the crown is free from cracks and the flashing is corrosion free and snug against the chimney base. Inside your home, rust on fireplace part, cracks in the firebox masonry, chunks of tile inside the firebox or stains on the walls or chimney around the chimney can be signs of a chimney leak or interior chimney damage.

If you are in need of chimney repairs, or if you would like to have your chimney inspected to make sure it is damage free, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on April 10th, 2017 | 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

Repair Your Chimney Before Fall

Warm summer nights probably don’t have you thinking of crackling fall fires, but taking the time to think about your chimney now can save you from delaying your first fall fire because your chimney has not been swept or is in disrepair. In fact, summer can be the best time for chimney services: You can have your chimney repairs completed before fall, and you won’t have to worry about trying to schedule inspections or repairs during the busy fall chimney sweeping season.

Masonry repairs are best completed in warm weather.Chimney Repairs Before Fall & Winter - New Haven-Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

If you know your chimney is in need of masonry repairs, whether it is rebuilding a deteriorated chimney crown or tuckpointing crumbling mortar, it is best to have those repairs completed before fall’s cool weather sets in. Warm weather allows masonry materials to cure properly. If the temperature drops too far, or if rainy weather sets in for the fall, you might have to delay necessary chimney repairs and risk delaying your enjoyment of your fireplace this winter.

Scheduling repairs now can prevent further damage.

Many chimney repairs can spiral into larger problems if they go unchecked. If you notice cracks in your chimney’s masonry or if your chimney cap, crown or chase cover have been damaged, that can allow water to pour into your chimney or seep into your chimney’s masonry during heavy summer rainstorms. Addressing needed chimney repairs this summer can prevent further chimney damage.

Summer maintenance can prepare your chimney for fall.

Chimneys require all sorts of regular upkeep to keep them operating effectively and safely. Summer is a great time to undertake chimney maintenance issues so your chimney and your fireplace are ready for the fall. Summer is the perfect time to have your chimney cap repaired or replaced to keep out rain, to install a top-sealing damper to keep out winter drafts and moisture or to have a waterproofing treatment applied to protect your chimney’s masonry from water damage.

A summer inspects prevents surprises.

While annual chimney sweepings and inspections are part of many people’s fall traditions, having a summer inspection has one major advantage. A summer inspection protects you from being surprised with a needed repair when you are ready to light your first fall fire. If your inspection turns up the need for a chimney repair, fireplace repair or a regular maintenance service, you still have plenty of time to undertake that repair before fall’s chill has you ready to light a fire!

If you have noticed the need for a chimney repair, or if you haven’t had your chimney inspection since last fall, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can handle any necessary chimney repairs, perform preventative maintenance services like waterproofing or inspect your chimney to ensure it is clean and in good repair for the coming fall.

By Steve Sobczak on June 30th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment