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Schedule an Early Chimney Cleaning

Spring is the perfect time for your annual chimney sweep because the system has been working for you all winter! Therefore, it is full of creosote, soot, grime, and ashes. As humidity rises, the moisture in the air will mingle with the soot and creosote in the chimney system, and the result is not pleasant. You may be enjoying some family time in your living room or game night with friends, and suddenly the aroma of barbecue is overwhelming. It’s not a barbecue grill in the living room. It’s your fireplace!The Importance of Dryer Vent Cleaning - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney

The same moisture that causes these foul odors when a chimney is dirty will also corrode your chimney flue. Moisture mixed with soot and creosote creates a corrosive material that must be cleaned away.

Other Reasons to Sweep the Chimney

Preventative Care – Scheduling routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections is the best way to have the safest and most efficient chimney system, according to both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Preparation – Once your chimney sweep is completed, you can rest assured that your system is ready for this fall. Your chimney sweep includes a level one chimney inspection which includes an examination of the readily accessible portions of the chimney system. If your chimney professional sees an issue with your system, you’ll have time to schedule a more thorough assessment and have necessary repairs before fall.

Animal Removal – Schedule a chimney sweep if you have had an animal in your flue this spring. We will remove nesting materials, droppings, and fur or feathers from the system. These things are flammable and will lead to a flue fire. Once the chimney system is cleaned, ask your sweep about a cap to keep out critters, birds, and water.

Chief Chimney Services Cleans Chimneys

At Chief Chimney Services, we clean chimneys year-round. We can sweep your wood-burning appliance and chimney, as well as oil and gas appliances and chimneys. The two differ slightly, but our techs are certified, trained, and experienced sweeping all types of chimneys.

Don’t waste another moment. Scheduling your chimney sweep now will give you time for necessary repairs before burn season. It also gets your chimney taken care of before the “fall rush”–the time between October and January in which chimney professionals are busy with emergency calls, installations, and repairs.

Call Chief Chimney Services at 631-863-2460 or contact us online!

By John Pilger on May 29th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Signs You Need a Chimney Inspection

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

When you aren’t feeling well you often times will go see a doctor. Your chimney however, cannot tell you when it is not in top shape so you need to watch for the warning signs that come along with the need for chimney maintenance. Also, you should have at least one chimney sweep and inspection every year. If you sense that something is going wrong inside of your chimney it is important to call your trusted technician immediately. If you need someone, the professionals at Chief Chimney Services!

What are the warning signs?

  • Cracks in the structure or mold build-up

After the winter season cracks can begin to form in the chimney’s structure from the constant freezing and thawing of precipitation. This can cause the caulk to crack and water to have a place to collect. This water can turn to mold in as little as one or two days. With careful chemical treatments, mold can be removed. Most technicians will recommend waterproofing after the chimney is back in order to prevent similar instances in the future.

  • Odors have begun to make appearances in your home

When creosote is released from firewood it clumps together and slowly begins to block your chimney. When temperatures get warm and humid, the clumps will begin to cause a foul odor. Most people think that having a sweep will rid the odor, but in actuality it will only reduce it once the creosote has had time to soak into the structure. This is one reason you should keep your maintenance up to date.

Also, blockages caused by creosote can cause draft problems. When this happens air cannot properly exit the home and the room will fill with smoke. This can also lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.

How do you know that your technician is qualified?

When hiring a techinican it’s important to make sure you have the right person. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has a few suggestions on how to hire the best for your chimney. Check how long the company has been in business. Also check to see if they have references or reviews from real clients. Lastly, make sure they are CSIA certified.

How do you prepare your home for the inspection?

You have nothing to worry about when your chimney gets its inspection. A few things you can do to help with the process is to not burn a fire for 24 hours and clean the area around the fireplace where the technicians have room to work. Also, lock up all pets for their safety.

Holy Smoke! My Fireplace is Smoking!

It’s one of those nice cool evenings when you just want to sit back and enjoy the warmth of your fireplace. You gather up the wood and get the fire started, but just as you’re getting comfortable a waft of smoke floats by your nose, and then more and more smoke is building up in your home. That definitely is not a good sign. Something is preventing your draft from working properly and smoke is escaping your fireplace.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that's not normal! Have it inspected to know what's causing it.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that’s not normal! Have it inspected to know what’s causing it.

Of course smoke should go up the chimney, not into the living area. That’s the very purpose of the chimney, to allow the harmful gases from combustion to exit the house not dwell in it. As you might have already figured out, your smoky fireplace might be an indication of an underlying problem.

Possible Causes

Moist Wood

The first thing that you can do by yourself is to check the kind of wood you are burning. Certain types of wood just naturally produce more smoke – the more moisture the wood contains, the more smoke (and production of creosote). That is why a drying process is necessary before using any kind of wood to burn in your fireplace.

Chimney Problems

Other more critical issues that could cause a smoking fireplace are chimney related, particularly pointing to the airflow, or the lack of it. When proper airflow is impaired smoke easily flows back into the house causing a lot of problems for homeowners, ranging from discolored furniture to severe health risks. That’s why you always want to make sure your fireplace and chimney are well-kept by having them inspected annually.

The most common impediment to proper chimney function is the presence of obstructions within the flue. These can come in the form of creosote buildup, dead leaves, and unusually, small animals. Creosote buildup is an inevitable occurrence with chimneys that are frequently used. Creosote is a normal byproduct of burning wood and over time it mounts up on the walls of the flue, narrowing the passageway of smoke as it tries to get out. This is the very reason why a regular chimney sweeping should be done because creosote is also very flammable and might even cause an unnecessary chimney fire. As for leaves and animals, having a chimney cap or crown installed will help you solve your troubles as it provides a barrier against these unwanted visitors inside your chimney. These accessories also hit two birds with one stone by complimenting the waterproofing of your chimney as well.

If you have a chimney damper installed, also make sure that it is still functioning properly. Otherwise, replace it because if it is always closed or will not open anymore, it defeats its purpose of controlling the amount of air flowing down to the fireplace. Instead it will be a trap for the rising smoke, which will have nowhere else to go but back down into the fireplace.

Whatever the reason for your fireplace and chimney woes, Chief Chimney Services, Inc. is ready to serve you. Contact us today for an inspection so we can help you determine the root of the problem. After which our licensed experts will do what they do best until your fireplace and chimney seem almost brand new. Soon you’ll be back having relaxing nights by your fireplace.

Let’s Keep That Chimney Clear!

Make sure your chimney flue looks like this. There should be no blockages of any sort.

Make sure your chimney flue looks like this. There should be no blockages of any sort.

For your chimney to function at its highest levels of efficiency and performance — sending heat and byproducts up and into the outside air — there needs to be a clean, unobstructed and uncompromised flue. Cracks and gaps will harm your draft, keeping the air from flowing the way it should. And blockages will, as that word implies, block the air from flowing, partially or completely, trapping heat and dangerous byproducts, and likely sending smoke and harmful gases billowing into your home.

A blocked flue is dangerous on several fronts — it can adversely affect the air inside your home, even lead to chimney fires. If you see smoke in your living area, notice a musty or smoky smell around your fireplace or find that dark stains are showing up around your appliance or chimney, you may have some flue blockage. It might be that you’re just overdue for a chimney sweeping appointment, or there might be other issues at work.

If you notice a problem, give Chief Chimney Services a call — our experienced technicians can find, remove and repair any issues related to chimney blockage. In the meantime, here are a few common contributors to a blocked chimney:

Creosote

When you use your wood-burning fireplace or stove, creosote is a natural result — it’s a deposit that builds up over time, as particulates and hot gases rise in your flue, hit the cooler flue walls and condense. Chimney professionals recommend regular chimney sweeping appointments because creosote deposits lead to a number of different problems and worries. If deposits are thick enough, they can block your flue, impeding the draft and letting toxic carbon monoxide get into the air you’re breathing. Since creosote is highly flammable, heavy creosote deposits can also become a serious fire hazard. And if creosote develops into third stage “glazed creosote” (often due to repeatedly burning wood with a higher moisture content), you’ll end up with higher chances of a chimney fire and a really difficult removal process.

Following proper burning practices (keeping your flue wide open during fires, using only seasoned cordwood, having your chimney regularly swept) can minimize creosote, and keep your chimney air flowing freely.

Animal And Plant Debris

If your flue isn’t topped with a chimney cap, you have a couple of big worries: things falling into your flue, and things climbing into your flue. An open flue makes it easier for branches, leaves and twigs to fall into your chimney, creating piles of highly flammable debris that impacts your draft and can become a fire hazard. But haphazard debris definitely isn’t your biggest issue — animals are drawn to the warm, confined safety of a chimney, so without a cap, you’re inviting anything from birds to squirrels and raccoons to move right in. Those new roommates bring in debris and create nests that can block your flue. They also tow in sounds, smells and bugs that you don’t want in your chimney, either. The best way to avoid all that: Make sure you have a correctly sized, correctly installed chimney cap on your system.

Broken Flue Tile Or Masonry Pieces

Many older chimneys were built and installed with terra cotta clay tile flue liners. And while those liners can hold up well with diligent maintenance, it’s not uncommon for tiles to crack or break, and for pieces to then fall into the flue. That leaves your chimney less protected, less efficient and potentially blocked up, too. Pieces of brick and mortar can crack and fall into the flue, too, bringing similar issues.

If damaged masonry pieces are blocking your flue, Chief Chimney can make the necessary repairs to clear out the flue and make the chimney whole again.

Regardless of what’s doing the blocking, a blocked flue makes for a much less efficient, much less effective and much less safe chimney. If you have any questions about blockages — or want to have our experienced technicians take a look at your system — just give Chief Chimney Services a call. We’re always here to help!

My Chimney Smells! Should I Worry?

Normal Smell or Alarming Smell?

Anyone who has a fireplace and chimney in their home knows that some odor is unavoidable. Whenever there is something burning, there is going to be a faint smell of smoke. However, in some cases, an odor coming from the chimney is a sign of a bigger problem. In order to understand what that problem might be, it is important to get very specific in describing the odor in question. This will help you communicate clearly with the certified sweep you hire to inspect your chimney.

Sometimes the smell from your chimney indicates that animals or birds have been in your chimney.

Sometimes the smell from your chimney indicates that animals or birds have been in your chimney.

If the smell coming from the chimney is a musty odor, the problem is most likely an accumulation of water in the chimney. If this is the case, the problem could go far beyond the smell. Water damage in the chimney can weaken the foundation, causing it to crumble or flake. This damage could spread throughout the home, compromising the structural integrity of the entire house. In addition, it causes mold, which can lead to illness in as well as the unpleasant smell.

In some cases, the smell will be similar to burning asphalt or unappetizing barbeque. If this is what the smell is like, there is a good chance that there is too much creosote building up in the chimney. Creosote is a chemical compound left behind after treated wood or coal is burned in the fireplace. If it is not cleaned out regularly, it puts the home at risk for a dangerous house fire. In addition, anyone who comes into contact with the substance may find themselves with respiratory issues as well as skin irritation.

If the smell is one of rotting material, it is likely that there are leaves or other plant material rotting away inside of the chimney. When these elements are combined with the soot and ash left behind after a fire, the smell is intensified. Leaves often find their way into the chimney during a rainstorm and, like water, can cause problems beyond the smell. If they clog up the chimney, it will not ventilate properly and the home will fill with smoke.

In some instances, homeowners notice the smell of animal waste coming from their chimney. If that is what it smells like, it is most likely exactly the problem. There are many species of small rodents and birds that like to make their homes in chimneys. The result will be an array of animal waste left behind and, over time, the smell will start to make its way into the home.

There are many different things that can cause unpleasant smells coming from the chimney, but there are also ways to avoid the problem. One of the simplest is to install a chimney cap. This simple piece keeps animals, water and plant life from getting into the chimney. In addition, it is a good idea to have a professional chimney sweep come and maintain the chimney at least once a year. A thorough annual cleaning will help take care of dangerous issues that a chimney cap cannot help, such as the accumulation of creosote.

Many people love the smell of a crackling fire but few people like the other odors that often come from a chimney. Pinpointing exactly what the smell smells like is the best way to identify from where it is coming. Most chimney odor problems can be solved with a good cleaning and a chimney cap to keep out unwanted elements.