Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Gary Pozzi Earns Master Chimney Certification

Are you in the market for a chimney sweep? If so, it is important to look for certified chimney sweeps. In fact, Angie’s List tells us that the most important question to ask is this: whether the hired sweep is certified. In addition to being certified, a chimney sweep can work to attain a Master Chimney Technician certification. We’re proud to announce that Gary Pozzi, owner of Pozzi Chimney Sweep, has attained this status!

pozzi master certification badgeMaster Chimney Sweep Certification

So what does it mean to have Master Chimney Sweep certification?  A sweep must be an active full time chimney sweep for a minimum of eight continuous years to attain the highly regarded status. They must also be actively certified as a chimney sweep for a minimum of 6 years. The applicant must be reviewed and approved by the application committee after going through an extensive application process.

Sweeps with Master Certification are also expected to hold a high standard of ethics.

Distinguished Position

The Master Chimney Technician certification process requires a rigorous education and routine.  The highly distinguished position is held by only a few people in the United States. Gary Pozzi has been involved in the firefighting field for 27 years. His work included serving as an arson investigator for the Aurora Fire Department. In that time, Gary realized that most fires were preventable, and started in the chimney or fireplace. Gary Pozzi wanted to make a real difference to the home owners of this area by opening his chimney sweep business.

Other Awards

Master Chimney Technician certification is not the only award that Pozzi Chimney Sweep as earned. Gary Pozzi is also National Fireplace Institute certified. In addition, the Pozzi Chimney Sweep has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award three times. Gary’s goal is to ensure that every customer is treated to top-notch service.

 

Preventing Chimney Fires

Imagine this scene: You are sitting in your family room, enjoying food and fun with family and friends. Suddenly, you notice a crackling and popping sound, and smoke starts rolling out of your chimney. It’s a chimney fire! As terrifying as this sounds, this type of chimney fire can occur. However, this isn’t normally how a chimney fire presents itself. In fact, most chimney fires actually go undetected. A chimney fire can be a major occurrence or barely noticeable. Either way, both types of fire can cause major damage. This is why it’s important to do your research! Know what causes a chimney fire. In addition, know how to prevent this scenario from becoming a reality.

Preventing Chimney Fires Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepCauses of a Chimney Fire

The number one cause of chimney fires is creosote build-up. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood in your fireplace. When wood burns, by-products are released. These include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, and tar fog. These are released up your chimney and hits the cooler walls of the chimney. Afterwards, it sticks to the sides and forms a black or brown sticky crust. This crust is creosote, a highly flammable material.

There are some conditions that cause creosote to build up more quickly. Using unseasoned wood is one contributing factor. Fires using unseasoned wood don’t burn as hot. They also burn smoky and cause creosote to build up more quickly. According to Montana Homesteader, if you use a harder wood, you’ll get a hotter fire. This helps prevent creosote build-up. Additionally, if you use a wood stove, don’t overload the firebox. Doing so will also cause a thicker build-up of creosote. Building smaller, hotter fires on a frequent basis is a great way to help minimize creosote build-up.
It may be tempting to get rid of some of your paper trash by burning it in your fireplace. However, this is not a good idea. These items are not meant to be burned in this manner! Consequently, burning these items sparks a chimney fire.

Cleaning the Creosote

So, what is the best preventative measure you can take when it comes to preventing a chimney fire? Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. As stated on the CSIA website, “Clean chimneys don’t catch fire.” Trusting your annual inspection to a CSIA certified sweep such as those at Pozzi Chimney Service will ensure that the job is done correctly. Another benefit of hiring a CSIA certified sweep? They will assess any damage that your chimney has sustained over the course of the winter. Also, they’ll recommend necessary repairs. Since all chimney fires aren’t always easily detectable, a CSIA certified chimney sweep will be able to tell you if a fire has taken place. Plus, explain what repairs need to take place or whether a rebuild is necessary.

Be Worry Free

Although chimney fires are a very real worry, you can take steps to ensure that your family will not be put at risk. Be sure to have your chimney inspected yearly!  Then sit back and enjoy worry free evenings in front of a relaxing, crackling fire.

Why Can’t I Get A Fire Started???

Now that we are well into the winter season, the nights are getting longer and cooler. There’s nothing more relaxing after a hard day’s work than sitting in front of a cozy fire with a warm cup of cider. When you’re ready to unwind, you certainly don’t want to have trouble getting that fire started.

Drafting

Why Can't I Get a Fire Started Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepOne of the most common problems when starting a fire is drafting. So, what does drafting mean? To properly explain this concept, it’s important to understand how your chimney works. According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), when a fire burns, the warm air that is produced is less dense than the cold air outside of the chimney. This causes the warm air to rise. The cool air in the room will then move into the firebox, which fans the fire and keeps it burning. This is a normal burn cycle.

A draft effect strong enough to overpower the normal burn cycle can occur if your home is leaking in air. If this is happening in your home, a quick fix is to seal things up as much as you can. You can keep windows closed and covered in plastic, and be sure your attic access door is tightly closed.

Other Reasons

CSIA also cites that fires need large amounts of air to burn correctly. The air replacing the drafted air leaving through the chimney has to come from somewhere. There will be little air that can replace the warm air being drawn up through the chimney if your home has been insulated or weather-stripped.  This can lead to a fire that burns low and sluggishly. One solution to this problem is to slightly open some windows on the windy side of the house. Be aware that carbon monoxide may build up in a tightly sealed home. Be sure to use the window opening as a very temporary fix and have experts in to help suggest permanent solutions.

Another problem similar to the drafting issue relates to the use of your chimney’s dampers. According to hearth.com, a damper is used when your fireplace isn’t burning to stop the cold air from reverse drafting. When you are building a fire, make sure that you have opened the damper so that the path is open for warm air and smoke to leave your home through the chimney.

Ask the Experts

Whatever the reasons for problems with your fire, there’s never a question of who can help out. The experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are qualified to answer any questions you may have. The awarded technicians have been recognized for the quality services they provide for a number of years. Give them a call for a great service experience, and answers to all your fire-burning questions.

Minimizing Creosote Buildup

As a fireplace owner, you already know the positives that a fireplace holds. A crackling fire can be both beautiful and practical, heating a room with something that you can also cozy up in front of. But, if you want to continue to enjoy the ambiance that your fireplace brings, you need to make sure to take care of it. This is done by having it inspected, repaired, and swept on a yearly basis by certified professionals.

Minimizing Creosote Buildup Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepWhat We’ll Look For

You may ask yourself why annual inspection is so important. There are actually several things that your chimney sweep will be looking for. According to houselogic, if you have your chimney maintained on a regular basis, your technician may do a level one inspection. They will be looking for any damage, obstructions, and soot and creosote build-up. If your chimney needs cleaning, they’ll be able to do a certified sweeping job, too.

Structural Damage

Damage that occurs during the freeze-thaw cycle is the type that is most likely to occur during the winter months. When water gets into the cracks of your mortar and then freezes, it will expand, causing bigger cracks to occur. This continuous cycle can eventually cause structural damage. Consequently, that can cause big problems that can cost you a lot of money. That’s one reason to stay on top of the yearly inspections.

Creosote

Another problem that your chimney sweep will be looking for is creosote build-up. What is creosote? As stated on the Chimney Safety Institute of America website, when you burn wood in your fireplace, byproducts are released in the smoke that is channeled up the chimney. As the warm smoke hits the cooler chimney, it condenses and sticks to the inside of your chimney. The residue can be black or brown, crusty and flaky or tar-like, sticky, and drippy, or even hard and shiny. No matter what it looks like, this creosote is a big problem because it is extremely flammable. And the last thing you want is a chimney fire in the middle of winter. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help keep the creosote build-up down.

One thing you can do, according to Mother Earth News, is to build a hot fire. When you build a smoldering fire, up to 48% times more creosote can build up then when a hot flaming fire is burned. The way to accomplish this is by using smaller fuel loads and larger air settings on your fireplace.

Hiring A Quality Company

Yearly maintenance for your chimney is so important. However, even more important is picking the right company to take care of that yearly maintenance. For professionals who are CSIA certified and who stay on top of all the latest cleaning and inspection technology, call the experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Not only can we take care of existing problems, but we can also offer advice on how to avoid the creosote build-up that can cause chimney fires. If you are having problems with your chimney or if you are just looking for words of wisdom on caring for your fireplace and chimney, give us a call today.

Chimney Sweeping – Not a Do-It-Yourself Job

There are so many things you do to get your home ready for the holidays. There’s cleaning, preparing food, trimming the tree, and wrapping the gifts. However, there’s something else that should be done well in advance. That is making sure that your chimney and fireplace are clean and in good repair. You may be thinking that this is a job that you can do yourself. Well, truth be told, you probably can. But before you go into this task thinking it’s a piece of cake, think again! As a do-it-yourself job? It’s messy, labor intensive, and you’ll want special cleaning equipment and protective devices for yourself. Not to mention making sure your house stays clean. Also, if you’re afraid of heights, then you really want to rethink this.

Chimney Sweeping - Not a Do-It-Yourself Job - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepCall in the Professionals

When you want a job done right, you need to call the right people for the job. That means Pozzi Chimney Sweep. The expert technicians at Pozzi are Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified and know exactly what to look for when inspecting your chimney. They also know how to clean your chimney. This way you know that your family will be safe and sound through the long winter season.

Over years of fireplace use, your chimney can amass large quantities of creosote. When you burn firewood in your fireplace, gases are released up your chimney and into the outside air. These gases include smoke, water vapor, hydrocarbon, assorted minerals, and unburned wood particles. As they flow up your chimney, they can settle on the cooler interior of your chimney, resulting in a buildup called creosote. This substance is extremely flammable, so the real danger here is chimney fire. Creosote removal is a difficult task, and it’s important that the person who removes the creosote is knowledgeable about the process.

What to Look for in a Chimney Sweep

According to Angie’s List, there are certain questions you should ask before hiring a chimney sweep. How long has this company been in business? Can the chimney sweep company provide references from previous customers? And most importantly, are the sweeps CSIA certified?
It’s already been stated that the technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are CSIA certified, but how about the other questions? Pozzi Chimney Sweep has been in business for five years, and has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2012, 2013, and 2014. You can read the testimonials of many of their satisfied customers at the Pozzi Chimney Sweep website, and you can also give us a call or contact us online. We will be happy to provide you with references.

CSIA Certification

You may be asking yourself, how important it is to hire a chimney sweep that is CSIA certified? When you consider that it is the safety of your family and your home that you are thinking about, it doesn’t take long to realize one thing: You need a company that hires sweeps that have taken the time to secure extra training and certification. As Jeff Rossen from the Rossen Report concludes, “The best advice? Experts say: Look for companies with techs certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.”

So, if you’re looking for professional, knowledgeable service, the place to turn is Pozzi Chimney Sweep!

Tips for More Efficient Fireplace Use

Efficient Fireplace Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThere’s something so appealing about curling up in front of a crackling fire, sipping a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of good wine. The aesthetics of this picture is so homey and relaxing. But there’s much more to owning a fireplace than just the relaxation factor. To really get the most out of your chimney, it’s important that it is running as efficiently as possible so that you get the most heat bang for your buck.

Making Your Chimney Run Efficiently

One inexpensive way of improving the efficiency of your chimney is by purchasing inflatable plugs. According to Mother Earth News, if you don’t use your fireplace very often, these plugs can stop the warm air that’s in your house from escaping up the chimney.

According to the HomeGuides website, burning seasoned wood (cut and seasoned for a year) can help increase your fireplace’s efficiency. Besides decreasing efficiency, burning green (freshly cut) wood can also make for a very smoky fire.

HomeGuides website also states that installing a fireplace insert can help increase efficiency. Make sure that the insert fits properly, and to increase efficiency even more, you might consider installing a double-wall unit that has a built-in circulating fan, which will help the warm air circulate and blow the warmth into the room rather than allowing it to escape out the chimney.

Make sure your chimney is safe to use with a certified chimney sweep. When you burn firewood in your fireplace, gases are released up your chimney and into the outside air. These gases include smoke, water vapor, hydrocarbon, assorted minerals, and unburned wood particles, and as they flow up your chimney, they can settle on the cooler interior of your chimney, resulting in a buildup that is called creosote. This can appear in different forms, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America website – either black or brown, crusty and flaky or tar-like and sticky, or even hard and shiny. This can cause several problems in your chimney. This substance is extremely flammable, so the real danger here is chimney fire. Another problem with a thick creosote build-up is the reduction of area for the gases to escape. This makes your fireplace run less efficiently as well. A certified chimney sweep can detect and remove creosote that has settled in your chimney.

Another thing that HomeGuides suggests is replacing your fireplace screen with tempered glass doors that you keep closed while burning a fire in your fireplace. These doors, if they fit tightly enough, can “increase the temperature of the chimney and reduce the amount of warm air that the fire sucks from the room.”

Yearly Inspection and Cleaning

These are some things that can be done to help increase your chimney’s efficiency, but the best thing you can do is to have your fireplace and chimney system inspected, cleaned, and repaired on an annual basis by a company that hires CSIA certified employees. Pozzi Chimney Sweep takes pride in hiring employees that are CSIA certified and who offer top-quality service at great rates. Give them a call today to set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected and cleaned, and be sure of getting the best service in the industry.

Identifying Flue Liner Damage

It may seem upon a simple visual inspection that your chimney is in great shape. This may tempt you to overlook having your chimney inspected by a professional this year. But, there are things to look for that indicate that you may have a problem. One of these issues is damage to your flue liner. Read on for information on how to identify if your flue liner has been damaged. Also, who to call to get quality repairs at a reasonable price.

Identifying Flue Liner Damage - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepPurpose of a Flue Liner

First off, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “(A) flue lining in a masonry chimney is defined as “A clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” It is important that the gases from your fire are not allowed to flow back into your home. This is one reason why it is so vital that flue liner damage is detected and repaired.

Damage to the Flue Liner

There are ways to tell if your flue liner has been damaged. First, the flue liner is designed to draw the gases out of your home. When your chimney doesn’t seem to be smoking much when there is a fire in the fireplace, there’s a good chance that there is a problem with your chimney liner. That’s easy enough to check. Walk outside and see how much smoke is emitting from your chimney while a fire is burning.

Another sign that you may have problems with your flue liner? A peculiar, unpleasant odor coming from your chimney. This is likely caused by a build-up of creosote in your chimney. When you burn wood in your fireplace, especially if the fire is smoky and not as hot, creosote will build up. Creosote, as defined by corrosionpedia.com, is a gummy, very flammable material that forms when volatile gases combine and condense in your chimney. If your flue liner is damaged, the gases will not have a smooth transfer out of your chimney. Then, it is more likely that a heavy creosote buildup will occur. Not only does this leave an unpleasant smell, but even worse, this creosote buildup may lead to a chimney fire.

What to Do

If you are seeing signs that your flue liner may be damaged, it’s definitely time to call in the professionals. The technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep have been specially trained to inspect your chimney for damage to your flue liner, and all parts of your fireplace and chimney. Pozzi inspectors can use a “Chim-Scan” video camera to see what is happening inside your chimney. This allows us to determine what repairs need to take place to get your chimney running efficiently and effectively. An added benefit to this type of inspection is that it allows you, the homeowner, to see the damage while it is explained to you by your chimney inspector. The work they do is transparent, so you know that you aren’t being advised on work that isn’t completely necessary.

The workers at Pozzi Chimney Sweep take pride in providing you with thorough inspections and cleanings and repair work. Their years of experience and expertise will make you one happy fireplace owner. Call us today and let us have a look at your chimney system!

Prepare for Winter by Having Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned

Chimney Winter Sweeping Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi ChimneyWhen the weather starts to cool down and winter is just around the corner, many people start to think about preparing their homes for winter. It just feels so good to cozy down into a house that has been cleaned from top to bottom. But in the midst of your fall cleaning, don’t forget about your fireplace and chimney. This is a job that you shouldn’t tackle yourself – you’ll want to hire Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified technicians like those from Pozzi Chimney Sweep.

The Importance of Yearly Inspections

Over a year of usage, your chimney can undergo some serious wear and tear. Although some of this wear and tear might be obvious, your chimney might also have structural damage that isn’t visible to the untrained eye. If this is the case, you’ll want to have the latest in technology to let you know exactly what is going on with your chimney. Pozzi Chimney Sweep uses a Chim-Scan to help see what problems might exist that need repair before another fireplace season begins. This Chim-Scan video camera is attached to a rod that the sweep can insert into your chimney. The video can be seen in real time on the computer screen so that you can see the problems and have them explained to you by your chimney sweeping professional.

The more obvious problem you may be having with your chimney is something you can see: the dirt and grime that can build up. A big part of this build-up is creosote – the black, sticky substance that is a natural byproduct of burning wood in your fireplace. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, creosote build-up is the cause of most chimney and fireplace fires.

Get rid of chimney odors

You may have noticed that over the summer your fireplace may have developed an unpleasant odor. This smell is from the creosote build-up inside your chimney, and the odor can become stronger in the summer because of high humidity. Although, according to the CSIA website, there are ways that you can reduce this problem on your own, there are also ways that Pozzi Chimney Sweep can help you with a more permanent solution. “The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house.” Your home may need a tight-sealing, top mounted damper that would reduce the air flow that is coming down your chimney, and this is a problem that Pozzi Chimney Sweep can solve.

Clean Service

You love the feeling of a house that has been deep-cleaned in preparation for winter. Rest assured that Pozzi Chimney Sweep experts use state-of-the-art equipment that have special vacuums attached, so that your clean house will stay that way.

If you’re ready to have your chimney inspected and cleaned, make sure that you make a call to Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Their CSIA certified professionals will make sure that they take care of all your chimney cleaning and repair needs, so that your fireplace and chimney will be as ready for winter as the rest of your house!

Hiring a Quality Animal Removal Specialist

Quality Animal Removal Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThe gentle crackling of a fire is relaxing and comforting in the middle of cold winter weather. But when you hear screeching and scratching coming from your chimney in the middle of warm summer days or nights, you may not be quite so comfortable thinking about what might be hiding out there! Your chimney makes an ideal nesting place for some birds, squirrels, or even raccoons. And sometimes it’s an accidental tourist you may have in your chimney, a scared bird or squirrel that can’t fly or climb out. When this happens, special care must be taken to remove the visitor from your home.

Why is this a Problem?

You may wonder why it’s a big deal if there are animals nesting in your fireplace. You won’t be using it during the summer anyway, right? Well, there are a couple of reasons why this isn’t a good idea.

First, it’s true that most animals build their nests to have their young, then, when the babies are old enough to survive on their own, they move out. The nest that they leave behind is worrisome because it can be a spark catcher when you begin using your fireplace again. If this does happen, make sure that you call the professional, CSIA certified chimney sweeps at Pozzi Chimney Sweep to clear your chimney before starting any fires in your fireplace.

Another reason that you want to avoid having birds or other animals in your chimney is because of what is left in their wake. According to the Animal Control Specialist website, if animals are left to nest in your chimney unrestricted, they can cause flies and fleas in your home, excessive negative odor from urine and droppings, and damage to the flue tiles in your chimney.

Can You Take Care of Removal on Your Own?

It may be tempting to try to get rid of any creatures on your own, and you might have some success if the animal in question isn’t stuck or stubborn. But a better option for animal removal is to call animal control experts who know what to do to get rid creatures at different stages of infestation.

Chimneys.com reports that it is illegal to take certain birds out of your chimney during nesting season. You’ll need to wait until the baby birds are out of the nest, then have your chimney cleaned and a chimney cap installed. This is another job that Pozzi Chimney Sweep can take care of with ease and efficiency.

In the case of larger animals, however, you will want to call animal removal specialists who will perform this job in a humane, efficient way. The Humane Society website gives some of the following tips for choosing a good animal removal specialist:

  • ask for an inspection and a removal cost estimate
  • ask for specifics on how the animal will be removed
  • be attentive for unethical practices
  • get referrals from trusted sources

After Removal, Have Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned

After you have your animal removal problems taken care of, be sure to call Pozzi Chimney Service to inspect and clean your fireplace so that it’s ready for fireplace season. These professionals will also be able to recommend preventative measures to ensure that these creatures don’t come back.

Have Your Chimney Swept Now To Avoid A Chimney Fire Later

Haste Chimney Sweep Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepYour living room can be a haven of comfort and rest, especially if you are fortunate enough to own a home that has a fireplace. Coming in from a hard day’s work, deep down cold from the icy winter wind, there is nothing better than warming up in front of a crackling fire. The downside is this: where there is fire, there’s the danger of chimney fire. But don’t despair! There’s help out there, and if you live in the Aurora, Illinois area, the people to call are the experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep.

Causes of Chimney Fires

There are several ways that fires can start in your chimney. Probably the most common cause of chimney fires is creosote build-up caused by a winter of building fires in your fireplace. According to Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), creosote can be black or brown, drippy and sticky or hardened and shiny, crusty and flaky – and all forms can exist in the same chimney. No matter what form it takes, one thing is for sure: creosote is highly combustible and can cause a dangerous chimney fire if left untended.

Another cause of chimney fires is blockage. It is a common occurrence for dried leaves, sticks and twigs, and other debris to blow down into your chimney, or even for wildlife such as birds or squirrels to build nests in your chimney. When you start a fire in your fireplace in the winter, sparks from the fire can escape up your chimney and catch in this blockage, causing a chimney fire to ignite.

Damage Isn’t Always Visible

Did you know that a chimney fire can occur without the homeowner being aware of it? According to the CSIA website, there are some tell-tale signs that only a qualified chimney sweep can recognize, such as ‘honey-combed’ creosote, a distorted or discolored chimney cap, or damaged roofing materials. If a chimney fire has occurred, it is vitally important that you have your chimney cleaned and checked for damages. Only by using a CSIA certified chimney sweep can you be assured that the damage will be assessed and repaired correctly and efficiently. The Chimneys.com website echoes this sentiment: “A qualified chimney sweep can diagnose and fix problems that the average person may not notice. Regularly engaging such services can mean the difference between comfortable living and disaster.”

Make Pozzi Your First Call For Chimney Sweeps

If you’re looking for a chimney service that uses the most current, up-to-the-minute cleaning techniques and technologies, then Pozzi Chimney Sweep is the chimney service for you. All of Pozzi’s technicians and sweeps are CSIA certified, and Pozzi Chimney Sweep is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Pozzi Chimney Sweeps also uses a “Chim-Scan” video camera. This allows not only the sweep, but also the homeowner, to see exactly what is happening in the chimney. This helps to reassure you, the homeowner, that only the work that needs to be done is being done.

Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep to set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected and cleaned today, before that snowy Illinois winter arrives.