Total Chimney Care's Blog

Stinky Chimney Problems? Call On Us

Fireplaces are designed to ensure smoke, fumes, and potentially harmful gases are always sent up and out of the home through the chimney. This gives homeowners the ability to easily maintain a pleasant aesthetic, and it minimizes the risk of health issues related to smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation.

Unfortunately, the heat and humidity of summer can sometimes cause your draft to reverse. This means the unpleasant smells that creosote produces will enter your home and stink everything up. It could also mean that you have dangerous levels of buildup in your flue, as well. Fortunately, the Total Chimney Care team has solutions for you.

Removing Creosote

One of the most obvious and effective solutions to get rid of bad smells from your chimney is to remove the creosote deposits inside it. This plays a big part in keeping your home smelling fresh, and it makes it a lot safer to light fires too. Too much creosote in your chimney increases your risk of experiencing a chimney fire significantly too. You should play it smart and have our experts do a thorough sweeping before burning season begins.

Addressing Any Construction Issues

Sometimes your chimney itself is not to drafting properly. If this is the case, we may need to do some reconstruction work. Whether the height of your chimney is not ideal, the opening is too small, or there is simply a lot of damages, finding the problem and figuring out a way to resolve it is essential for getting your chimney and fireplace back to working condition.

Installing A Chimney Cap

Keeping moisture out of your flue can make a big difference when it comes to avoiding bad odors. When water enters and settles in your chimney, it won’t be too long before bad smells start to form. Excess moisture also leads to rotting, clogs, mold accumulation, and other problems that can trigger unfortunate smells too!

All in all, water is terrible for the health of your structure, so a chimney cap is vital for keeping your system in good shape. It will also keep out excess debris that could stink things up and animals that are known to bring objectionable odors.

Get Your Inspection On The Books Today!

Summertime is a great time for inspections because we will have ample time to address any issues we come across before fall and cooler weather comes back around. Along with this, it’s typically easier to schedule an appointment because our busy season is still a couple of months away.

If you want to work with a crew that is CSIA certified, committed to excellence, and always puts your needs first, reach out to us today!

By Steve Sobczak on July 10th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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

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

Start 2017 Off With A Chimney Inspection!

A new year brings new beginnings. With that in mind, many people start the new year with a traditional deep cleaning of their homes. If you are trying to get your home in order, due to your new year’s resolution, start your with a chimney inspection!

A New Year Means a Fresh Start

You probably know that your chimney should be swept and inspected at least once per year to keep your home safe. A chimney sweeping inspection removes creosote buildups and other deposits within your chimney. It provides an opportunity to detect any cracks, deterioration, damage or malfunctioning in your chimney and fireplace system. While fall is the traditional time of year for a chimney sweeping and inspection, many people slide past their annual inspection date, past Christmas and into the new year.  The new year is the perfect time to have your chimney inspected. If your chimney is swept now, you still have plenty of the fire-burning season left to enjoy your freshly swept chimney.

A Clean Chimney Means a Cleaner Home

If you like to give your home a deep cleaning every new year, a chimney sweeping is a must. A dirty chimney can fill your home with unpleasant odors from creosote deposits, an animal nest or organic matter. If you have a stinky chimney filling your home with foul odors, your home won’t truly seem clean. A chimney sweeping will clear away the debris in your chimney that can cause unpleasant smells in your home.

Cleaning Your Chimney Now Means Less Work Later

By having your chimney swept as part of your new year’s resolution, you will cross one more thing off of your home to-do list! That means you will be able to enjoy your fireplace safely for the rest of the season, and you won’t have to worry about your chimney again until you light a fire next year. When the fall fire-burning season hits, you will already have a well-prepped fireplace.

A Chimney Inspection Now Let’s You Plan For Repairs

The best time for chimney repairs is in the spring and summer, when you’re not planning to use your fireplace. If you have your chimney swept now to prepare your home for the new year, you will have ample time to schedule your chimney repairs or improvements. This will prepare you chimney for good use next fall.

If you are ready to start 2017 off with a chimney cleaning and inspection, call Total Chimney Care to schedule your appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on February 6th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment