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Is Your Chimney Ready for Winter?

As winter weather sets in, we all start to look longingly toward our fireplaces for warmth and light. But before you light that fire, make sure your home, fireplace, and chimney are ready and safe. Here’s a checklist to start with:

Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

Is Your Chimney Ready for WInter - Suffolk County NY - Chief ChimneySmoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, and should be checked often.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas produced when certain fuels are burned that has the potential to kill if left undetected. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas.

Stock up on seasoned firewood.

Only use firewood that was cut and split at least six months ago, and has been stored in a high and dry place protected from rain and dampness. Green and/or wet wood produces more creosote, which could lead to chimney fires.

Reverse your ceiling fans.

During the summer months we use our ceiling fans to move cool air around, but in the winter months the fan blades should rotate the opposite way to make sure the warm air that has risen to the ceiling is pushed back down to the ground where you can enjoy it.

Have a CSIA-certified chimney technician visit.

Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified technicians have gone through extensive training and education to ensure that they can identify and treat fireplace and chimney damage or problem areas. You should have a CSIA-certified technician inspect your chimney at least once a year. The tech should inspect your chimney and fireplace and will alert you to any structural issues like cracked linings, missing or broken masonry, and mortar joint issues.
If necessary (the technician will tell you), have them sweep your chimney to remove any potentially flammable creosote left over from last year’s fires.
Consider having the technician install a chimney cap. People aren’t the only things that get cold in the winter! Birds, bats, and other small animals like to escape the cold, and your chimney seems nice and cozy. A chimney cap will keep these little guys out, making your life much easier.

Before you light that fire, call Chief Chimney Services serving the Suffolk, NY area. Our CSIA-certified technicians can talk to you about inspection options, sweeping, and chimney accessories to keep your home warm and your fires safe.

By John Pilger on November 25th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Creosote in the Chimney

Dealing with Creosote Build-up inside the Home

What’s that black, shiny, coal-like substance that’s starting to accumulate in your chimney walls? That’s creosote and it can get thicker and thicker if not removed by a certified sweep. It can lead to bigger problems like negative air pressure and worse, a house fire. Here at Chief Chimney, we take this very seriously and encourage homeowners to have their chimney inspected annually. The safety, security and stability of your home is at stake and we want to make sure that you and your family get maximum enjoyment without having to worry about chimney problems.

Creosote forms naturally when you burn anything. However, you need to ensure that it is removed regularly to keep it from building up.

Creosote forms naturally when you burn anything. However, you need to ensure that it is removed regularly to keep it from building up.

Creosote is the result of incomplete combustion of wood and coal products that eventually forms tar. The residue of smoke that comes out of it results in soot build-up or what we earlier identified as creosote.  It sticks to the chimney walls and in the chimney flues making it harder for air to exhaust out into the open via the chimney flue.

As experts we look out for these three things:

  • The length of time creosote has been inside the chimney
  • The thickness of the creosote
  • The color, texture and odor of the creosote

Through this, we can determine the level of creosote. Once we know what level your creosote has reached, we perform the task of literally scraping them out by use of a specific, unique kind of brush that can thoroughly clean the inside of your chimney. However, if creosote has already become too thick, we can do weekly scraping to somehow lessen the thickness but completely getting it out of your chimney, unfortunately, is not possible. That’s why it is always important to have your chimneys inspected and cleaned annually (and more often if you use your fireplace often) to see if creosote has started to build-up in your furnaces.

With regards to your health, creosote definitely poses a threat. It can cause toxic air or carbon monoxide to fill the room and poison you — make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

There are many ways for creosote to destroy your home but don’t allow it to happen. Call on us! We will remove and clean your chimney making it creosote-free. Our experts can help you understand the risks and damages of what creosote can do to your home and also to your health. We can assure you the money you invest in us is definitely worth it.