Total Chimney Care's Blog

What Can Happen If You Neglect Your Chimney

The holidays always swing back around quicker than expected and that often leads to a busy fall and winter for us as sweeps! Here at Total Chimney Care, we’ve been inspecting, repairing, and sweeping countless chimneys over the last few months, and we would love to get yours all set and ready for the weeks of festivities that are soon approaching.

Unfortunately, because most chimney companies get extra busy this time of year, many customers are forced to wait a bit longer than normal to get their system looked over. This scenario leaves many considering just how important this maintenance actually is and if they can put it off until spring or summer.

damaged chimney

Well, we encourage all of our customers to please be patient and get their annual chimney services completed before lighting any fires. The CSIA recommends yearly inspections because there are countless issues that can arise if you neglect to give your system the care and attention it needs, and we would hate to see families in the area get in harm’s way over a problem that is so easily avoided.

GIve us a call today to get the help you need from a team that is certified, trained, and eager to excel!

The Impacts Of Water Damage

One reason your chimney should be inspected regularly is so your sweep can look for any signs of water damage. Water and your masonry don’t mix well, and you could find yourself with a lot of decay if you don’t invest in preventative measures early on. One thing we encourage homeowners to look into is our waterproofing services.

By having our chimney techs waterproof your brickwork, you guarantee no moisture can penetrate the bricks or mortar and cause damage. These materials are very absorbent, and when water works its way in, it breaks things down significantly. Along with this, the freezing temperatures we so often face in Fairfield and its surrounding cities can lead to the freeze/thaw process.

What’s the freeze/thaw process? Well, when this preabsorbed moisture freezes and expands it puts a lot of strain on your masonry. Once it thaws and settles, your structure feels a lot of pressure, too, and if this happens multiple times of year (which is typically the case), you’re looking at a lot of extra stress on your chimney, as a whole. All of this wear and tear will lead to significant damage or, in some cases, a chimney collapse or settlement.

Along with all this, water throughout your flue and chimney can cause your metal components to rust, your crown to crumble, and your liner to deteriorate, all of which leaves you vulnerable to even more problems. The more your structure breaks down, the higher your chances are smoke, flames, and carbon monoxide entering your home. Why take the risk? Call on our team today – we would be happy to set you up right.

The Dangers Of Excess Creosote

Another major reason why inspections are needed before the start of every burning season is so that the sweeps are able to detect and remove any creosote that is building up. Creosote is especially harmful due to its flammable nature, and if it ignites it could send flames up your chimney. Your masonry isn’t designed to withstand these high temperatures, so your brickwork and mortar will crack, crumble, and deteriorate, and your flashing, chimney cap, and liner will likely face some serious problems, as well.

As you can imagine, the aftermath of a chimney fire can take quite a bit of time and money to address, and you’ll be left without a usable appliance until all damages can be appropriately repaired. In the end, you’re a lot better off investing in an affordable cleaning now, rather than expensive repair and restoration work down the line.

On top of everything, chimney fires are really threatening to the well-being of your home. More often than not, they occur slowly and quietly, leaving most homeowners unaware that they have a problem at all. This means countless families will light fires in a fireplace that is really unsafe, and it increases the odds of gas leaks, fires, and chimney collapses significantly. This is another big reason why investing in annual inspections is important!

Spotting Wear & Tear Early

All in all, by getting an expert’s eye on your fireplace and chimney, you ensure any early signs of damage or wear and tear is spotted right away and can be taken care of before your family experiences any risks. Detecting problems early on is always the preferred route, and it will put less strain on your budget and schedule in the end. Most importantly, your loved ones will stay as safe as possible.

We’re Here To Inspect, Sweep, Repair & More

At Total Chimney Care, we care about making you feel comfortable and totally satisfied with any and all of the services we offer. We put our sweeps through extensive training, and we work with reputable organizations like the CSIA and the NCSG to ensure we stay knowledgeable and up-to-date on it all. Your needs will always come first, and we are proud to offer mess-free, on-time care every single time.

So, what are you waiting for? The time to reach out to our reliable team is now. Call today!

Are You Ready For Your Burning Season?

Are the dropping temperatures putting you in the mood to light a fire? When the chilly winds of fall arrive, there’s no better spot to be than curled up inside next to a warm, crackling flame. Guarantee yourself peace of mind and comfort by ensuring your fireplace and chimney are all set and ready for use. Our team is here to help with it all!

Schedule An Inspection

First things first, get that annual inspection on the calendar. Our team of CSIA certified technicians are able to perform all three levels of chimney inspections, so we can help you out, no matter what. We have the tools, know-how, and equipment necessary to get a thorough and in-depth look, and we can suggest further maintenance based upon our findings. If you want to know where your chimney stands, this is the way to learn.

Address Damages & Build-Up

If our inspection reveals obstructions, creosote build-up, crumbling masonry, damaged chimney parts, or anything else of concern, then it is important to resolve all issues before lighting any fires. While this may mean putting off the start of your burning season for a bit, it is really the only option. Operating a damaged or clogged chimney would put your home and family at serious risk of gas exposure and fires.

Check Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Once you have the go-ahead to put your appliance to use, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working appropriately before getting a fire going. These devices have saved countless lives over the years, alarming people of potential threats all throughout the night and day. If there’s smoke or poisonous gas in your home, your detectors will be sure to let you know.

Fuel Up

Do you have a wood-burning fireplace, stove, or insert? Then, finding the right fuel is essential! Never use unseasoned wood or garbage as this encourages the accumulation of creosote, and it makes your fires a lot more smokey, too. Rather, invest in well-seasoned logs that have been drying out for at least six months. These pieces should be lightweight, split and dark at the ends, shorter in length, and will make a hollow, “clunking” noise when smacked against each other.

Rely On Us

If you want to guarantee a successful burning period this fall and winter, the best way to do so is to rely on our experienced and qualified team. We’ve been serving the area for over 20 years now, and it’s clear that we are passionate about keeping homes and families as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Ready to work with a team that you can trust in for many years to come? Reach out today. Total Chimney Care is ready to have your back through it all!

By Steve Sobczak on October 6th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

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

The Best Time to Sweep the Chimney

Fall is almost halfway over with the recent start of November. The cold weather has officially set in, with some parts of the country having already experienced snowfall. Everyone is looking to stay warm, especially with the upcoming winter forecasted to be frigid again like last year. For homeowners with fireplaces, keeping warm this winter might involve stoking a few indoor fires. A popular question among homeowners looking to take proper care of their fireplace or wood-burning stove and chimney is when the best time is to schedule a chimney cleaning. While this cannot be answered as simply as listing a month or season, the question of when to sweep the chimney does have some answers.

Sweep the Chimney - New Haven CT - Total Chimney

The first factor to deciding when to clean the chimney is safety. If the chimney is too dirty to use safely, it should be swept prior to the first fire at all costs. A chimney becomes dirty after burning wood in the fireplace. Burning wood creates a tarlike product called creosote that condenses and builds up along the flue lining inside the chimney. Burning wet wood or burning with inadequate oxygen supply can lead to higher creosote production. The problem with creosote is its high flammability, which can lead to chimney fires if the creosote is left to build up. A quick way to test the safeness of creosote buildup is to scratch a small area of creosote from the surface of the flue. If the buildup looks to be an 1/8 inch or thicker, a chimney sweep should be scheduled very soon. If the buildup is a ¼ inch or thicker, no fire should be lit until the chimney has been swept. If there is any question over the safety of the creosote levels, a chimney specialist should be consulted.

Another factor to consider is convenience. Most people only use the fireplace in the fall, winter, and early spring, so the most convenient time to clean normally occurs at the beginning of fall or the end of summer – just prior to needing the fireplace. However, chimney sweeps often offer an incentive to have the sweep done at the end of fire season, in the early spring, by reducing prices. This price differential may win some homeowners over in spite of the convenience.

The determining reason for when to sweep the chimney should be the safety of burning a fire with the chimney in its current condition. While money and convenience deserve some consideration, the wellbeing of the home and family always comes first. If you need to have your chimney swept before the upcoming fireplace season, get in touch with a chimney specialist near you. In the New Haven or Fairfield, Connecticut areas, you can contact Total Care Chimney for a professional consultation.

By Steve Sobczak on November 9th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Stinky Fireplace?

Annoying Fireplace and Chimney Odor

Summer means warm weather and lots of outdoor fun. However, it also means that many of our customers begin to have a foul-smelling fireplace. Why? Because when your fireplace is out of use, all the accumulation from last winter can begin to cause odors.

There can be many reasons for a smelly fireplace. Regardless of the cause, call us and let us schedule a cleaning and inspection.

There can be many reasons for a smelly fireplace. Regardless of the cause, call us and let us schedule a cleaning and inspection.

To answer their questions and to provide useful information for the future use and reference of other homeowners, here are a few information regarding chimney odors:

What are fireplace and chimney odors?

Some of you may not be able to distinguish the smell right away. Chimney or fireplace odors, sometimes also referred to as smoke odors, basically have a characteristic campfire-like smell, but it’s not only limited to that kind of smell. The distinct smell may also vary depending on the severity of the problem in your chimney and on the cause and actual source of the smell.

What causes these odors?

One source of these odors stem from creosote deposits. Put simply, creosote is a chemical byproduct from the process of burning wood. And since the chimney is a place where wood burning is normal, you should expect creosote to be part of the package.

So basically, these creosote deposits stick in your chimney walls and in your flue. During rainy and humid weathers, or even when we turn the air conditioner on, it promotes the accumulation of moisture inside your chimney. Moisture mixed with the creosote deposits produces a musky odor that would intensify depending on the level of creosote accumulation in your chimney and on the moisture content in the room.

Another cause could be attributed to chimney molds that grow due to the damp environment of your chimney when water or moisture gets inside. It could also be because of blockages caused not only by creosote, but also by debris, animals, and other natural elements.

How can we remedy this predicament?

Since creosote formation is unavoidable as much as the weather is beyond our control, there is only one possible solution to our problems – prevention. How can we prevent this? It’s easy. We just need to look for a chimney professional certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and schedule regular inspections and sweeping. We also have the option to have a chimney cap installed so that nothing can go inside. Not only are we able to keep our chimneys clean and odor-free, we are also well updated when it comes to our chimney’s current status. So whenever there are damages, we can have them fixed before the situation goes out of hand.