Total Chimney Care's Blog

Spring chimney cleaning

Spring has sprung, and for many homeowners, that means deep cleaning the house. Is your chimney on your spring cleaning to-do list? While chimney sweeping is often associated with the fall, your chimney sweeping and inspection can be done at any time throughout the year. Here’s why you should consider scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection as part of your spring cleaning.

man with bucket on ladder looking into chimney

Clean away wintertime soot

Your chimney works overtime during the fall and winter. Come spring, it’s well filled with soot and creosote. Most homeowners worry about cleaning creosote away to prevent chimney fires in the fall. While that is important, soot and creosote can be corrosive and harsh on your chimney liner. Clearing it away in the spring not only removes flammable creosote. It also prevents soot from damaging your chimney all summer long.

Prevent foul chimney odors

It’s not just the damaging aspect of soot that can cause problems in your chimney during the summer. Creosote also can cause foul smells in the chimney that can enter your home and make the indoor atmosphere unpleasant on hot, humid summer days. Have your chimney swept in the spring to help prevent chimney odors in your home this summer.

Spot winter chimney damage

Winter is hard on your chimney. The moisture and freezing temperature can cause cracks to form and weaken the chimney’s masonry. Winter damage can bring about leaking chimney in the spring. A spring chimney inspection allows your chimney sweep to identify wintertime damage that could lead to damaging chimney leaks.

Leave time for repairs

Should your chimney inspection turn up signs of a chimney leak or chimney damage, a spring inspection leaves ample time for repairs. Spring and summer are the ideal seasons for chimney repairs, thanks to the warm, dry weather. And you won’t have to rush your chimney repairs to have them completed in time for fall fires.

Plan your improvements

Have you been thinking about chimney or fireplace improvements, but every fall, you set them aside in your haste to prepare your fireplace for the season? When you schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection in the spring, you can talk to your sweep about the possibility for hearth improvements. And you will have plenty of time to make those improvements before the fire-burning season.

Enjoy easier scheduling

Because most homeowners associate chimney sweeping with the fall, chimney sweeps’ schedules tend to be lighter in the spring and summer. That means that when you schedule your chimney sweeping during the spring, you will be able to make an appointment faster, and you will have more appointment times and dates available to you. With a spring sweeping, you can schedule an appointment that fits better into your schedule.

If you are undertaking your annual spring cleaning, don’t leave your chimney off of your spring cleaning to-do list. Call Total Chimney Care to schedule your appointment for a chimney cleaning and inspection. You will have an easier time scheduling an appointment, you’ll catch any signs of winter damage early and have time for repairs or improvements, and you will clear away damaging and stinky creosote from your chimney’s interior. Make your appointment now!

By Steve Sobczak on March 31st, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

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