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The Importance of a Clean Chimney in the New Year

Every twelve months your chimney system needs a good diagnostic appointment. Scheduling annual chimney inspections will keep your chimney at the highest efficiency and safety possible. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) agree that annual inspections and routine sweeps prevent fires and help your chimney last longer. Scheduling in January means a safer chimney for the coldest weeks of winter and a waterproof chimney this spring.

Chief Chimney InspectionsThe importance of a clean chimney in the new year.

At Chief Chimney Services we see chimneys that may be multiple stories high, may be historical, and even very basic. No matter the age or the size, these chimneys need to be inspected annually and brought up to code compliance. Your municipal authorities require it, your homeowners insurance insists upon it, and your safety depends on it. We specialize in thorough inspections of all chimney types, and we utilize NFPA inspections in order to best serve every home and every customer.
Level One – This basic inspection is required annually when there are no changes made to the system or the use of the system. It includes all readily accessible portions of the system, including a visual inspection of the masonry exterior. This inspection assesses basic structural soundness, obstruction, creosote levels, and evaluates the condition and installation of the overall system.
Level Two – When there have been changes made to the system, including new installations or repairs, suspected damage, or natural occurrence which may affect the chimney, a more thorough inspection is required. A level two includes all that in a level one, in addition to a video scan of the interior of the system and accessible portions by attics, crawlspaces, and basements. Special attention is paid in a level two inspection to ensure clearance of combustible materials. Following your level two inspection, you’ll receive a written report and video footage for your records and to reinforce any recommendations from your chimney professional.

Schedule Now

When you schedule now, your chimney can be inspected before your fireplace usage is at its peak. January is the coldest time in many regions, especially here in our service area, and the fireplace is used the most. This means fire risk is higher, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedule a chimney inspection with Chief Chimney Services today. We’ll let you know if there is a problem with any part, component, or a portion of your chimney. We’ll make sure it is in good shape so you’re safe and warm this winter. We’ll determine if your system is properly safe from water penetration and animal intrusion, and we’ll offer a repair plan onsite if it isn’t.

Don’t let your chimney system up to chance. Start the new year with a new inspection that gives you peace of mind and saves you money in accidents and damage.

Call Chief Chimney Services today at 631-863-2460 or request an appointment online.

By John Pilger on January 16th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Importance of a Clean Chimney in the New Year

The Dangers of Creosote and How to Reduce Fire Risk

If you are new to fireplaces and chimneys, the mysterious creosote may be intimidating. The truth is that creosote is bothersome and can be quite dangerous, but it is manageable.the-dangers-of-creosote-and-how-to-reduce-fire-risk-img-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney-service-inc

What is Creosote?

When organic fuel like oil, gas, and wood are burned byproducts are released into the chimney. As vapor and soot is pulled up the chimney, the soot clings to the flue liner and coats it. As this soot builds up, it becomes a substance known as creosote. Through a process of high heat melting the creosote followed by cooling, glazed creosote is created. Glazed creosote is not only highly flammable, but it can obstruct the flue completely if left to build.

How to Reduce Fire Risk

In order to avoid creosote buildup and increased risk of fire, keep these things in mind while enjoying your fire this winter.

  1. Chimney Sweeps and Inspections
    It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to schedule regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections to avoid increased risk of fire.
  2. Choosing Proper Wood
    Wood should be properly seasoned, or dried, in order for it to burn completely, and more cleanly, with less byproduct. Choosing the right wood for your appliance or fireplace will make it easier to burn a high-temperature fire, thereby decreasing creosote left behind after burning.
  3. Monitor Your Chimney System
    Monitor your firebox and flue for signs of creosote buildup and schedule a chimney sweep before your creosote becomes a problem. This makes it easier and cheaper to remove, while also lowering fire risk.

Hiring a Professional

There are chemical cleaning products on the market that promise creosote removal, but these products cannot replace regular chimney maintenance by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS). Chief Chimney Services is experienced in glazed creosote removal and can do so using brushes and tools as well as chemicals that are safe for use inside the home and will not affect your family. A Chief Chimney sweep will assess the creosote before forming a removal plan. If the creosote is moist, a chemical will be applied in order to allow the tools and brushes to work. The creosote is removed with the use of tools, brushes, and a high-powered vacuum. A professional knows the importance of safety and comfort. Our services will be as timely as possible, and with as little disruption to your home as possible. Hiring a professional is a necessity, and here at Chief Chimney Services we aim to offer the best services in Suffolk County, Long Island.

If you have questions or concerns about creosote, or want to schedule services for your chimney, call Chief Chimney Services at 631-863-2460 or request an appointment online today.

By John Pilger on September 5th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on The Dangers of Creosote and How to Reduce Fire Risk

What Is Creosote?

What Is Creosote? The term creosote in relation to fireplaces and chimney occurs when the by-products of wood are not totally burned off and the residue travels in the smoke as a vapor. When it is cooled to a liquid it coats whatever it encounters. The wood-tar substance is a blackish brown sticky gooey oil mixture that builds up on the interior surfaces of your chimney and fireplace. It is extremely combustible. Due to the hazardous nature of creosote and its offensive odor, Chief Chimney Services takes special care to remove it and protect homeowners from fire and toxic gas risks associated with creosote.

The Hearth.com website explains, “Creosote buildup is pretty sneaky. You may not notice it at first but it tends to feed on itself. As it builds up, it restricts the flow in the chimney and/or stove pipes. This slows the smoke on its way out, allowing more time for it to cool and for the creosote to condense and deposit on itself thus further restricting the flow.”.

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The fire hazard occurs when it is ignited by a hot fire. Pieces of the built up creosote can also become loose and flake and travel upwards to your roof, or down your chimney into your fireplace and into your home. No matter the direction, the result of burning creosote is no good. A traveling piece of burning creosote can bring on a dangerous and expansive fire.

The inspectapedia website lists these considerations about creosote build up:

  • The temperature of the chimney. Consider long low smoldering fires make more creosote that hotter roaring fires
  • The wood to sap ratio of the wood you burn, the greener the wood the more moisture and the more creosote
  • The moisture content of the wood, wet wood burns more slowly and produces more creosote
  • The chimney size, height, location, and construction materials also influence the buildup of creosote.

There are important things for homeowners to understand about creosote that you need to know if you are even considering to attempt to remove creosote buildup yourself. First, without the professional equipment and cameras a chimney professional uses, you are not able to view the entire length of your chimney and therefore you may not be aware of the buildup that occurs out of sight which still puts you at risk. There are two other considerations as well as access. Dislodging the creosote is extremely dangerous for several reasons. First, as you chip away at the creosote you may do damage to the underlying chimney structure. Worse you will be breathing the extremely toxic materials even if you wear a mask. Worst yet, if you dislodge the creosote it may travel in the smoke and downdrafts of future fires and ignite whatever it lands upon.

Creosote inspection and removal is critical to the safety and security of your home and best done by a technician certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. CSIA certified technicians know the proper methods, cleaning agent, and tools to keep your chimney unblocked. Chief Chimney Services, Inc.wants to be your chimney professional. Contact us today!

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Your home is your safe place, where you and your family gather to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Because of this, you want to keep your home as safe and free from harm as possible. There are many dangers present inside a home, and a little due diligence, care and maintenance can help protect you and your family from harm.

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Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is a big concern for many homeowners, because they know it is something to fear but don’t necessarily understand what it is. Simply put, carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is extremely poisonous. Carbon monoxide is most commonly produced from fuels that have not been burned completely such as wood, oil, natural gas and charcoal. Appliances that use these types of fuel can leave behind carbon monoxide and should be handled with extreme care.

Carbon Monoxide And Wood-Burning Heaters

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are of particular concern to many homeowners because they can emit carbon monoxide. This is of even greater concern during the winter months when wood-burning appliances are more frequently used to heat homes across the US. Luckily for homeowners, there are many things you can do to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide from entering your home.

Safe Wood-Burning Practices

With some simple safe practices, you can alleviate the risk of carbon monoxide. First and foremost, use your fireplace or wood stove according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and only use wood-burning heating appliances you are completely confident you know how to operate. Unsafe handling of any wood stove or fireplace is a surefire way to use it incorrectly and unsafely.

Additionally, always store your wood outdoors where it is protected from the elements because seasoned wood that is properly dried will burn hotter than other types of wood. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a moisture content of less than twenty percent. You want to burn fires that are as hot as possible, and dry wood, as well as dry kindling is the first step to that. Never burn wood that is rotted, moldy or wet. Other safe burning practices include:

Making sure your fires are lit in a well-ventilated area.

Never burning painted, pressure-treated wood or particleboard because these will emit chemicals.

Never burn household garbage in your heating appliance.

Regularly remove ashes from the firebox.

Burn fires as hot as possible. Remember, a smoldering fire may not be a safe fire.

You also want to keep your fireplace/stove and chimney as clean as possible to allow fires to burn extremely hot. A professional chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services, Inc in Suffolk County is committed to keeping your chimney clean, professionally swept and free of any harmful residue. We want your fireplace to work efficiently, but more important than that, we are passionate about keeping you and your family safe from harmful build-up and the potential threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Take every preventative measure possible when it comes to keeping your home safe, and start with a clean, efficient fireplace or stove that your family can enjoy for years to come.

By John Pilger on March 27th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Carbon Monoxide Dangers

The Science of Combustion

This graphic explains some of the basic science at work inside your chimney. This is helpful in understanding some of the problems that can develop.

Understanding what is happening inside your chimney can alert you to potential problems.

Understanding what is happening inside your chimney can alert you to potential problems.

By John Pilger on January 28th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Science of Combustion

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.

By John Pilger on December 31st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Creosote in the Chimney

Is There Too Much Creosote In Your Chimney?

People who have chimneys in their home no doubt know about the obvious dangers that they come along with, including blazing chimney fires. However, creosote poses a serious risk if it is left to accumulate in the chimney and many homeowners are unaware of it. Understanding this chemical compound and what it can do is essential to maintaining a home that is healthy and safe for the entire family, even those who do not come into direct contact with the fireplace or chimney.

Creosote is a combination of chemicals that is used to treat wood and coal. When these materials burn in the fireplace, they leave a layer of the creosote behind on the inside of the chimney. Over time, the creosote will accumulate and then the family may have to face a number of different risks if they do not properly take care of it.

Creosote buildup can cause Chimney fires - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services

Creosote buildup can cause Chimney fires – Suffolk NY – Chief Chimney Services

One of the biggest risk factors associated with creosote is that it is extremely flammable. It would take only a small spark from the fireplace to ignite the entire chimney. This can start a fire that will not only damage the structure of the chimney but that could potentially spread throughout the home. This is an especially significant risk in the event of negative air pressure, which sends material from the chimney into the home instead of out of the flue.

If creosote or smoke from burning creosote enters the air, everyone in the home will be at risk for health issues. Inhalation of creosote has been linked to a number of serious health problems, including respiratory illnesses as well as damage to various organs. These effects have been especially severe in the cases of children. Although some conditions can be treated, it is also possible that the effects of creosote could be fatal if left untreated over time.

In addition to doing internal damage, creosote can be dangerous for anyone who comes into physical contact with it. Just a bit of exposure can cause minor skin irritations and, in some people, severe rashes on the skin. The substance can also cause significant damage if it comes into contact with the eyes. Not only will it cause a painful irritation, but it has also been connected with a loss of sight.

Anyone who burns treated wood and coal in their fireplace should assume that they have at least some creosote inside of their chimney. There is no avoiding the residue when the treated material is burned. However, there are other signs that there is a significant accumulation of the material in the chimney. For example, when it burns, creosote will have a distinct smell that should come straight through the fireplace and into the home.

The best way to deal with accumulation of creosote is to have a cleaning by a professional chimney sweep at the end of each cold weather season. Since there are so many health dangers associated with it, the average, untrained person should not attempt to clean it up on their own. A chimney sweep has the proper tools and training to safely rid the chimney of excess creosote. An annual cleaning is the best way to keep the chimney safe and clear.

Creosote is a typical problem for anyone with a fireplace but it is a fairly easy issue to manage. Remember to have a chimney sweep come in each year to clear it out and to check for any damage to the chimney. Failure to take care of this could result in illness, physical injury, and devastating chimney fires. Let a professional bring peace of mind along with an efficient heating system.

By John Pilger on July 31st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Is There Too Much Creosote In Your Chimney?