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Why We Recommend Stainless Steel Chimney Liners

A chimney liner is your home’s main protection from the heat, smoke, and sparks from your fireplace. Over time, chimney liners often need replacing, whether it’s due to water damage, fire damage or just overall deterioration. When this happens, we at Total Chimney Care strongly recommend choosing a stainless steel chimney liner. Here’s why.

Stainless steel chimney liners can handle the heat from your fireplace.

When it comes to resilience, it’s hard to beat a stainless steel chimney liner. In the event of a chimney fire, a  stainless steel chimney liner can easily handle the heat of the fire. In contrast, the clay tiles of a masonry chimney expand and crack, often rendering the liner ineffective. Many chimney fires go undetected. Therefore, a stainless steel liner might keep your home safe from a chimney fire or from a previously weakened chimney.

Stainless steel chimney liners are durable.

Stainless steel chimney liners are less likely to deteriorate than their clay tile or aluminum counterpart over time. In fact, many stainless steel chimney liners come with warranties because they are manufactured to last a lifetime.

Stainless steel chimney liners are suitable for nearly any type of fireplace.

There are so many different types of fireplaces that it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all option for chimney liners. Stainless steel chimney liners often offer that option. They’re suitable for wood-burning, gas or pellet-burning appliances. They come in several lengths and circumferences, so you can find one to fit your existing chimney. Additionally, they can help you resize your chimney to improve an improper draft.
Stainless steel chimney liners are easy to install in an existing chimney.

Your masonry chimney liner needing replaced can present a problem. Replacing a masonry chimney liner with new flue tiles involves disassembling and reconstructing the entire chimney. The process is time consuming, messy, expensive and impractical. However, a stainless steel chimney liner can save the hassle and the expense! Stainless steel chimney liners are simply inserted from the top of your chimney. They fit into place to provide perfect ventilation for your fireplace or heating stove.

Needing a new chimney liner can be a terrifying thing! It means not relining your chimney may put your home and your family in danger. Total Chimney Care can solve the problem effectively. A safe, durable, and suitable stainless steel chimney liner immediately allows you to enjoy your fireplace or heating stove. If your chimney needs relining, call Total Chimney Care to hear more about stainless steel chimney liners today!

By Steve Sobczak on December 15th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Basics of Ash Removal

Do you know what to do with the ashes in your fireplace?

Do you know what to do with the ashes in your fireplace?

For someone who does not like dirt or dust, a fireplace may not seem like an ideal piece for your living room. Many think that when a fireplace has dirt or ashes in the bottom that it needs to be immediately removed, but this may not be the case. Your local chimney professionals can answer these questions and also administer your annual chimney sweep and inspection. Call Total Chimney Care for all of your chimney needs.

Should you leave the ashes or should you remove them?

Many homeowners are shocked to learn that you are supposed to leave a thin layer of ash in the bottom of your fireplace during burning season. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests this amount be about an inch. This is done to help build and maintain your fire by supplying extra heat. However, you must be very careful in monitoring the ash level because too much can allow pieces to come into contact with the grate, causing it to burn out prematurely.

However, if you have a stove that burns from the front to the back you will need to have the ash in the inside of the door removed. This gives you a spot to move the hot coals from the back to. A small layer of ash will also protect the overall floor of a firebox. At the end of the season you do need to remove all of the ashes. When the acids contained in ash begin to reach parts of the fireplace they can begin to cause rust and deterioration.

How do you remove ash from inside of your firebox?

There are many ways you can remove ash – always using a glove, a fireplace shovel, and a wet/dry vacuum. This process should be done four or more days after the last fire so they are completely cooled down and safe. You should always place the old ash in a metal or clay container and discard far away from your home. You can remove ash and soot from glass parts of the fireplace with an equal part water and vinegar base. Using a spray bottle, cover the area and gently wipe away with a paper towel.


By Steve Sobczak on February 17th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Air Quality Indoors

Do you think the air you breathe inside is cleaner than the air outdoors? Sometimes the air quality in your home is compromised, especially when you don't pay attention to your fireplace and chimney.

Do you think the air you breathe inside is cleaner than the air outdoors? Sometimes the air quality in your home is compromised, especially when you don’t pay attention to your fireplace and chimney.

Imagine you’re sitting in front of your fireplace on a blustery winter night. You have a roaring fire going, the flue is adjusted perfectly so no smoke is billowing into the house, logs are burning evenly, and you’re enjoying the warmth and the intoxicating scent of wood burning. That last little bit of information, however, is a real sign of danger, as being able to smell a wood fire burning in the fireplace, even in small amounts, is a sure sign that your chimney is not functioning properly.

Dangerous Combustion Byproducts

Fireplaces provide a lot of things we want: heat, light, ambiance, and a soothing crackle. The combustion happening in the fireplace, however, also provides byproducts we don’t want or need—smoke and toxic gases. Wood smoke in your home contains one or more of the following: hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that can cause cancer, fine particle pollution (ash) that damages lung tissue and creates respiratory problems, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, and/or nitrogen oxides. It is your chimney’s job to contain and remove those byproducts from your home. A poorly performing chimney is allowing those harmful byproducts to remain in your living space, thereby diminishing the quality of the air in your home.

Indoor Air Quality and your Health

Your poorly functioning chimney inevitably has a negative effect on the quality of the air in your home, especially for children, elderly family members, and those with lung cancer and/or heart disease. Smoke can have a marked effect on people with respiratory issues (e.g., asthma). Another major concern of a poorly functioning chimney is that it can allow colorless, odorless—and toxic—CO gases to remain in your home. It is a natural byproduct of the wood burning process, and, because you cannot see or smell it, it can make you sick without your even knowing it’s there. As a matter of fact, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can even be deadly.

Small Things All Homeowners Can Do

There are small things you as a homeowner can do to improve the quality of the air in your home. Open the flue when using your fireplace. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected by a CSIA-certified technician annually to keep it running at the optimal level. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home if you don’t have them installed already. Improved ventilation will improve air quality by increasing the amount of fresh outdoor air coming into your home, which will help to dilute the concentrations of indoor pollutants and push stale indoor air out of your home. It’s also extremely important to make sure that the chimney is properly sealed. A well-vented, tight-fitting fireplace/chimney combination will move those harmful gases up and out of your home, which will greatly improve the overall quality of the air remaining inside.

Yearly chimney inspections and cleanings will go a long way to improving the overall indoor air quality in your home. The trained staff at Total Chimney Care is at the ready to help you increase the overall air quality in your home with the extensive list of fireplace and chimney services. Contact us today to schedule all of your necessary services.

Chimney Inspections Explained

Chimney inspections are sometimes required by municipal codes, and are always recommended by governing bodies. The inspection procedures and standards encoded in laws are established by the National Fire Protection Association and enforced by the CSIA and similar certifying entities. This is why choosing a certified sweep is invariably stressed in connection with cleanings and inspections.

Chimney Inspections - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

At each level of inspection, another layer of detailed examination is added, so Level 1 inspections are the most basic, and Level 3s are the most complex. They are distinguished by the ease with which the inspector can access what he has to inspect. Thus, they equate roughly to inspections that are physically “fairly easy”, “moderately difficult”, and “extremely hard” to conduct.

The parts and areas the inspector has to evaluate in higher level inspections are further ‘within’ the chimney. They are increasingly difficult to get to, moving from Level 1’s “readily accessible” chimney top and firebox to Level 2’s “accessible” flue liner. For a Level 3 inspection, actual removal of parts of the chimney may be necessary to gain access.

The mid-level inspections are the ones commonly mandated by municipalities for home sales and transfers of property.  A Level 2 inspection is also required after earthquakes and chimney fires, and must be performed if there is any modification of the fireplace system. Additionally, in some areas of the country, special emissions and efficiency standards must be met by chimneys as well as automobiles.

The Level 2 bar is the one increasingly being met with camera aided inspection of the entire “accessible” flue. Whether “easy”, “difficult” or “extremely hard” to see, it is all meaningless if untrained eyes are looking at it. This is why it is so important to use properly certified and trained chimney sweeps for these inspections. Do your due diligence, and make sure you call us to perform a thorough chimney inspection before the next cold season.

By Steve Sobczak on May 5th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment