Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Why Use Vented Gas Logs?

Gas logs provide a lot of extra convenience for homeowners with a fireplace. They do not require kindling and do not produce the mess associated with building a fire from regular wood logs. They are fueled with gas, meaning they simply need to be turned on and enjoyed. There are two options when it comes to using gas logs – vented or vent-free. Many choose to switch to gas logs because of their many benefits, and knowing which type to choose from is an important, but not always easy, decision to make.  Reasons to Use Vented Gas Logs - Aurora IL- Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Safety Concerns

For our customers, we recommend going with vented gas logs. There are many health risks and other issues associated with vent-free logs. Read up on just a few of the many concerns below.

  • Nasty Odor: The fumes associated with running gas logs have nowhere to go if there is not a proper venting system. Normally, these toxins make their ways outside, leaving the home gas-free and allowing homeowners to enjoy their fireplace to the fullest. With nowhere to go, these fumes linger and quickly stink up the entire household.
  • Increased Illness: Those living in the house can suffer from health issues after inhaling the toxins associated with burning vent-free gas logs. Gas levels have to be monitored very carefully to ensure that no one is breathing in harmful amounts. This leads to an increase in doctor bills and can lead to lasting health issues for those living in the home.
  • Excess Moisture: Condensation is known to accumulate when vent-free logs are used. This leads to moisture building up on the windows and walls that can eventually lead to mold and other issues. Too much water in the home will affect the structural soundness of the foundation and will hurt the value of the house when the time comes to resell.
  • More Restrictions: Vent-free logs cannot be run as long as vented options. They can be used for a few hours at a time, then must be shut down to ensure that an unhealthy amount of toxins do not enter the air. This means enjoyment must be cut short on countless occasions and, should the power go out, the fireplace cannot be relied on as a back-up heat source for extended periods of time.

If you decide that gas options are better for you when it comes to fireplace maintenance, call in an expert to make sure that installation is done correctly. When working with these types of products, you will want to be certain that everything is venting properly, ascertaining the safety and health of your home and family.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep has everything you need to ensure that your home is safe and that your gas fireplace is running as efficiently as possible. Give our experts a call today at 815-286-9922 and let us set you up right.

Now Is The Prime Time For Masonry Work

Getting an inspection at least once a year is highly recommended in maintaining the health of your chimney. If fixes are needed throughout the brickwork, they need to be addressed quickly. Otherwise, they will turn into even bigger problems that will cost you a lot of time and money in the future. This time of year, when the weather is warm, is ideal for hiring a professional to check everything out and make any necessary repairs.

Optimal Time for Masonry Work Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Knowing the importance of scheduling repairs early on and why this time of year is ideal for doing so is important in home maintenance. Keep reading to learn more on this important topic.

Why Repairs Are Needed

When it comes to masonry, addressing any cracks or problem areas is better to do sooner, rather than later. Check out just some of the many negative side effects of ignoring chimney issues.

  • Excess Moisture: When moisture enters your mortar and brick, it can cause a lot of damage. When the weather gets cold, all of the absorbed water freezes and expands your brick. When it thaws in the warmer months, the chimney settles and experiences a lot of extra pressure. On top of this, too much moisture can cause rust, decay, and various form of deterioration that will eventually make your chimney unsuitable for use.
  • Draft Issues: Excess build-up, cracks, holes, and other various types of potential damage can mean a lot of issues for you when it comes to lighting a fire. If there are structural issues going on with your chimney, it will not be able to draft properly. When a chimney cannot push air in the right direction, you will be left with excess smoke backing up into your home, causing nasty smells that soak into the furniture. Your family will also be left breathing in harmful toxins, which means extra doctor visits and medical bills.
  • Eventual Destruction: If chimney issues go too long without being fixed, the chimney will eventually start to break down. If it settles or collapses, you will be facing some expensive repairs and remodeling that will likely take a long time to fix. Save yourself time and hassle by addressing the smaller and cheaper repairs now, rather than putting them off until big fixes are needed.

Why Repair Now?

The weather in spring and early summer is normally ideal for scheduling any needed masonry repairs. A certain temperature is needed to allow the masonry work to set and cure properly. Temperatures need to stay consistent within a certain range until the work is considered complete. This is why doing these types of repairs is not ideal in the fall or winter months.

If you live or work in and around the Aurora, IL area, give us a call today and schedule an appointment. Do not hesitate as the time span for these types of chimney repairs is limited! We work hard to meet the needs of all of our customers as efficiently and thoroughly as possible, but once the cold weather hits, your chimney masonry repairs will likely need to wait until the warm months come back around.

Eliminating Smoky Smells

There are countless advantages to owning a wood-burning fireplace. It offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, while creating a classic, timeless look for your home. On top of that, the maintenance involved can often be a fun hobby for those who have the time to dedicate to it. It helps you stay active and keeps your brain focused and stimulated, thus improving overall health.

Yet, all of those benefits start to fade when you smell that persistent smoky odor that tends to occur in more humid or rainy weather. Educating yourself on the cause of this odor and studying up on how to eliminate it will not only leave your home smelling great again, but will offer you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your fireplace to the fullest.Eliminating Smoky Smells - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

What Causes These Smells?

The outside air pressure causes a downdraft, which is why this smell occurs. The warm air from the house rises out of the chimney, then the cool air outside replaces it. As the air works its way through the chimney and into your home, it passes by all of the dirt and creosote in your fireplace and invites their fumes along with it.

Since the downdraft causes these issues, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble when you go to light a fire. Rather than smoke escaping up the chimney, the cold air outside will swoop down and push all of that smoke into your home. Now you are not just dealing with the smell, but the actual smoke itself. This can cause damage to your walls and is very hard to get out of furniture and other belongings.

What To Do

There are things you can do to eliminate this problem from your life, allowing you the ability to relax and enjoy your fireplace. Follow some of these guidelines:

  • Turn Off Fans: If you normally run fans or other appliances that push air around the house, turning these off will help to eliminate foul odors from the chimney. These devices help to push the air out, which then means the air from outside will come in to take its place.
  • Check Chimney Height: Make sure that your chimney height is meeting the regulations set in place for your area of residence. Adding some length to your chimney can help reduce the smell of odors, as it prevents the outside air from entering in as frequently. A professional will be happy to check up on this for you, as well as get you set up for adding that additional chimney height.
  • Adjust The Damper: By ensuring that the damper is fully shut and locked down tightly, you can help reduce the air flow entering from the outside. The worse the weather is, the stronger downdraft you will get, so any little bit helps. When it is really blowing, close the damper for added protection from smoky smells.
  • Add Some Heat: Before starting any fire, heat up your chimney area with something smaller. Hold a candle or some lit, rolled newspapers in your fireplace to start getting those drafts reversed. Soon, you will be able to light a fire without having to deal with smoke entering your home.

Effects of Winter on Your Chimney

When winter weather strikes Aurora, your chimney can experience some major issues if you are not adequately prepared. If you do not take the proper precautions, you could find yourself facing some costly repairs in the future. Getting your chimney inspected and getting some of these preventative measures completed will cost you a little right now, but will save you a lot of money in the long run when it comes to the extensive damage that could be caused by excess moisture and bad weather.Effects of Winter on Your Chimney - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Moisture and Masonry

The biggest thing that you can do to protect your chimney during winter is getting it waterproofed. Water and masonry are not meant to mix and excess moisture can cause a lot of damage throughout time. The main problem you will experience is dealing with freeze/thaw process. If water gets sucked into your brick, it will cause it to expand in the winter when it freezes. It then thaws out again and sinks down, putting a lot of stress on your brick and decreasing its lifespan significantly.

On top of this, too much exposure to moisture will cause rust, cracks, water stains, and various forms of deterioration. All of these things add up to cause big problems. Your chimney will eventually either tilt, settle, or just collapse altogether. There is a lot of work involved in repairing these things and it will cost you a lot of money to get everything properly addressed, so you will want to avoid these issues at all costs.

Preventing Damage

There are many things you can do to keep water away from your chimney. Here are just some ways to prep for nasty weather conditions.

  • Add A Chimney Cap: By adding a chimney cap you are preventing all types of weather from entering you chimney and causing wear and tear. They also keep out animals and other pests that may build nests and cause blockages.
  • Waterproof: A professional will know how to properly waterproof your chimney so that moisture cannot enter the brick. Get an expert in today to ensure your masonry is safe for whatever the winter weather brings.
  • Address Damaged Mortar: Water can easily penetrate your chimney if the mortar is not in top shape. Any cracks or holes need to be addressed and fixed to ensure that water is given no opportunity to cause your chimney damage.

Whatever you decide to do, seeking a professional’s help is strongly advised. Experts know exactly what your chimney needs and how to address any needed repairs. They also know the proper techniques to use when waterproofing and preparing your chimney for any type of weather, so you can rest assured that your chimney is good to go year round. On top of all that, taking on these tasks yourself can be challenging and dangerous, especially if you are not adequately trained on the correct procedures.

Save yourself the time and hassle and give Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call today at 815-286-9922! We have everything you need to get your chimney ready for whatever comes its way.

What Not To Burn In Your Fireplace

When it comes to building and maintaining a strong and healthy fire, what to burn and what not to burn may seem clear enough. Most people know that burning trash or diapers is not a good idea, but not everything is so obvious. Even certain types of wood are considered a bit more hazardous and can cause issues within your home. Before building your next fire, study up on this list of what not to burn in your fireplace.What Not to Burn in Your Fireplace - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

  • Cardboard: Although it may seem like no big deal, burning cardboard can ignite a lot of problems. Cardboard is not a natural substance and gets coated with waxes and chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. When burned, these toxins release into the air and can be very harmful to those living in the home. Anything manufactured, such as plastics or plywood, should not be burned.
  • Driftwood: Driftwood is known for building up excess creosote in the fireplace. While some creosote is unavoidable, it is ideal to minimize its build-up as much as possible. Creosote is highly flammable and too much of it increases the likelihood of a chimney fire occurring, putting your home and family at risk.
  • Unseasoned Wood: Burning wood that is still green or just freshly cut is not a safe option. You use up a lot of energy burning off all of the excess water in the wood. This causes the water to turn acidic and build-up in your chimney. You will then be more prone to excess creosote, meaning more cleanings and a higher risk for house fires.
  • Old or Moldy Wood: If the wood you have is rotted or moldy, you may find yourself dealing with some nasty odors when trying to burn it. On top of that, handling old wood could lead to illness after exposing yourself to all of the extra bacteria that comes with mold and mildew build-up. If you come across wood like that, leave it alone.

What To Burn

It’s clear that burning anything that comes from a store or factory is not a good idea. Things that have gone through the production process are often coated in chemicals that will release into the air if they are burned. Wood is always the best option, but even that can be tricky, as it needs to be properly seasoned before use.

Here is what to look for when picking out firewood. If it is dark at the ends and there are cracks or splits, then that is a good indicator the wood is well-seasoned. It will be fairly lightweight because the water will have had adequate time to escape. You can also try hitting two pieces together and if it makes a clear clunking noise, as opposed to a duller thud, then it should be ready to burn.

At Pozzi Chimney Sweep, we have all the tools and resources you need to help you practice safe wood-burning techniques. If you live in and around Aurora, IL, schedule a cleaning and inspection today to ensure your fireplace is safe and ready for use.

Maintain Safe Clearances Around Your Fireplace

Fireplaces are desired by many homeowners. The warm, classic feel they add to a room makes them a favorite feature in any household. Yet, with a fireplace comes a lot of responsibility and maintenance. It is important to follow all of the codes and rules associated with owning a fireplace to ensure that your home and family remain as safe as possible.Maintain Safe Clearances Around Your Fireplace - Aurora IL- Pozzi Chimney Sweep
One thing people should be educated on is clearances. There are many regulations as to maintaining correct clearances around a fireplace. These codes are established to keep homeowners and their families free from harm, while allowing them to enjoy their fireplace to its fullest potential. If followed appropriately, these rules should reduce the risk of fires in the home, minimizing the threat of injury and decreasing the number of lives lost.

 

Clearance Codes

So, what are the clearance codes? There is a lot of information for homeowners to be educated on when it comes to fireplace maintenance. Between proper cleaning procedures, fire-starting techniques, and overall knowledge of all of the parts of a chimney, there is a lot to learn before starting fires on a regular basis. Here are some basic things to remember when it comes to maintaining correct clearances.

  • Anything combustible must be at least six inches from the opening of the fireplace. If you have a wood mantel or wood trim, for example, this must maintain an appropriate distance. For every 1/8 inch that sticks out, add one inch of necessary clearance.

 

  • The space in between the mantel or trim and the fireplace should not be filled with anything, so keep an eye out as far as decorations. Mantels are often used to showcase many things, but keeping flammable substances away is very important in following regulations and keeping your home safe. Keep this in mind when picking out your home décor.

 

  • Carefully read the safety instructions that come with your fireplace’s installation directions. Follow the directions exactly as they specify to your fireplace, and call the manufacturer if you have any questions. Every fireplace is different, so reading up the safety measures that specifically accompany yours is important.

 

  • Hire an expert. Your best option is to hire an expert who is trained in properly installing fireplaces and who knows all of the codes associated with the process. On top of this, an expert can help educate you on any future measures you hope to take with your fireplace. You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of your family, so get a professional in to make sure everything is in proper condition before being put to use.

At Pozzi Chimney Sweep we have all the tools you need to ensure that your fireplace is up-to-code and safe for regular use. Our certified experts are ready to help with any installations, cleanings, or repairs. Give us a call at 815-286-9922 today!

Using A Gas Starter Pipe

Do you struggle when it comes to building a fire in your fireplace? Many desire the natural look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace, yet quickly discover that mastering the perfect fire-starting technique is not always easy. Gas fireplace options offer a lot more ease, turning on with just the flip of a switch or push of a button, but do not have the classic atmosphere that traditional fireplaces offer. With these things in mind, finding the best option for your home often brings about some trouble.

If this is the predicament you find yourself in, there is a solution for you. To simplify the fire-building process, while saving yourself a lot of frustration, consider installing a gas starter pipe. These products work to make the fire-building experience much quicker and easier. They allow you more opportunities to actually enjoy your fireplace, rather than waste excessive time working on getting a fire started.Gas Starter Pipes - Aurora, IL- Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Once installed, consider these tips for ensuring that your fires are the best that they can be.

  • Finding Balance: Maintaining the right balance of gas and air is important when using a gas starter pipe. You will want to ensure that you are burning cleanly, so be sure to adjust your pipe accordingly. There should be a larger hole at one end with an adjustable covering, allowing you freedom to open and close it as you see fit.
  • Even Distribution: Allowing the gas to disperse evenly throughout your fireplace is important. This will help to keep the fire more controlled and the heat will distribute more regularly throughout the area of the home.
  • Take Your Time: By taking your time and doing things in the correct order, you can ensure that you are being as safe as possible when lighting your fireplace. You will want to make sure that your flame is in place before turning on any gas, to avoid a large and sudden combustion. Avoid possible house fires by educating yourself on fire safety and proper procedures before starting any fires.
  • Hire A Professional: Asking a professional (like Pozzi Chimney Sweep) to install your appliance, as well as offer any maintenance advice is always the best option. By hiring an expert you can allow you and your family peace of mind, knowing that everything is functioning correctly and that your purchase will last throughout time. Not only is it best for making your product work efficiently, but it ensures that everything is safe to use, greatly reducing the risk of injury.

If a gas starter pipe seems like the right option for you, give the professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call today. We can offer tips and advice for purchasing your starter pipe. We also offer our services as far as installation and regular maintenance for both gas and wood-burning fireplace inserts.

Is Your Wood Stove EPA Certified?

If you have recently made the decision to purchase a wood stove and are looking for insight into which one is best, be sure to make EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification one of your requirements. Buying something older and used may seem like a good option, but anything built before 1990 will not be EPA certified and you will quickly discover that a newer model would have been well worth the extra cash spent.

What makes EPA certification so important for wood stoves?Is Your Wood Stove EPA Certified - Aurora, IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

  • Efficiency: A newer stove will provide more heat, allowing you to get much more out of what you are paying for. EPA certification allows for stricter requirements as far as how efficient a stove needs to run in order to be sold. This causes you to use less fuel for more heat and will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

 

  • Less Pollution: If a stove is EPA certified, it will produce less pollutants. They burn cleaner and run better, causing less toxins to escape into the air. This is not only a benefit for you and your family, but for the environment as a whole. Smoke and other toxins can be very harmful to one’s health, making a newer model well worth the investment.

 

  • Advanced Technology: The newer the wood stove is, the more advanced the technology behind it will be. With every passing year, companies are working hard to make certain these stoves are as energy-efficient as possible. With new insights and strategies being implemented on a constant basis, customers can be assured that they are getting the best products possible.

 

Once you have decided on which wood stove is best for your home, call a professional to install it. Improper installation can lead to a lot of headaches and costly repairs later on down the road. The littlest mishap can cause big problems and the complexity often involved with installing wood stoves can make anyone frustrated. An expert will ensure that everything is in the proper place and that your stove will run efficiently.

Once installed and put to use, schedule annual inspections to make certain that your wood stove remains in the best condition possible. A certified professional will be able to remove any type of build-up with the use of proper tools and chemicals and can make certain that all parts of your unit are working as they should be. Also, when using the stove, be sure to purchase properly seasoned wood and consistently study up on fire safety and proper wood-burning techniques. This will make a huge difference in ensuring your stove is properly maintained and will help you keep your home and family safe.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep has certified professionals who can assist you with any of your stove or fireplace needs. Save yourself time and hassle and give us a call today!

Tips For Priming Your Fireplace’s Flue

The flue in your fireplace is an essential component in maintaining proper air flow. Flues work to take out hazardous gases produced by fires and replace these gases with fresh air, keeping your home safe and free from smoke. Proper ventilation is essential in being a responsible homeowner. Ensuring appropriate flue care when building fires will help keep your home and family free from harm.

Take the Right Steps

A key component of maintaining good ventilation is properly preparing your flue before starting any fires. Making sure this is done correctly is important in keeping smoke outside of your home and ensuring that your fire stays lit. Follow these steps to ensure that your flue is primed and ready to go before lighting a fire.

  1. Your damper should be open before doing anything with the flue. This first step will save a lot of hassle and reduce the risk of hazardous gases entering the house. Once it is open, you will notice that the cold air from outside is sinking down into your home through the flue.
  2. The cold air coming in needs to be moving the opposite way, so the next step is to heat the flue so that the air flow reverses. The recommended process in doing this is to take a rolled up newspaper, light the end, and hold it up to the damper for a few minutes. The cold air should change direction and start moving up the flue.
  3. Enjoy! Once these simple steps are complete, you can move forward with your fire-starting process. Get the flame going, then sit back, relax, and enjoy a cozy evening indoors.

Be Safe

As always, employ safety strategies when working to build and maintain a fire. Follow these tips to ensure that you and your family are safe when using your fireplace.

  • Keep your chimney clean. Clean out the ashes regularly and be sure that you receive an annual inspection by a professional to ensure that everything is up-to-code. If potentially hazardous substances (such as ash or creosote) build up, you will be at an increased risk for house fires.
  • Dispose of ashes properly. Study up on proper procedures when getting rid of your fireplace ash. Wait until they are completely cooled, then store them in a metal bucket to ensure that nothing potentially flammable will ignite.
  • Never leave the fire unattended. Make sure that someone is always awake and acknowledging the fire until it has gone out completely. This is essential in ensuring that, if something were to go wrong, it can be addressed immediately, greatly reducing the risk of injury or harm to friends and family.

These, as well as countless other safety tips, should be studied regularly by any fireplace owner. Pozzi Chimney Sweep cares about your home and family’s safety. Call us today to inspect your chimney and ask our experts about how you can maintain the safest and most efficient fireplace possible.

Chimney Fires and Your Home

A fireplace comes with a lot of responsibility. While the warmth and comforting atmosphere they offer is ideal and desired by many throughout the cold months, the maintenance required in owning one is often underestimated. Improper care can cause many hazards, a main one being chimney fires. Chimney fires are preventable and becoming educated on this manner is essential if you are choosing to operate a fireplace.

Be Aware of the Signs

Often times, the signs of a chimney fire are obvious. Flames, smoke, and loud popping noises are dead giveaways that something has gone wrong and that proper fire safety measures should be taken immediately. Yet, others are more secretive and these are the ones to study up on. Look out for any damages, cracks, or discoloration in your chimney. All of these are signs that a chimney fire might have occurred. Also, note if there is any excess creosote in unusual spots or examine if the creosote in your chimney has expanded and obtained colorful streaks.

Whenever you see any damages in your chimney, you should call a professional to check it out. Most types of damage could be signs of a chimney fire and, if this is the case, you need to restore your chimney to proper working condition right away. This will ensure that everything is running safely and efficiently, allowing you to relax and enjoy your fires throughout the cold months.

Preventing Chimney Fires Chimney Fires - Pozzi Chimney Sweeps - Aurora IL

Building fires in your fireplace causes creosote and other debris to build up inside of it. These elements are highly flammable and they need to be addressed on a regular basis to ensure that your fireplace is safe for use. Getting your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected one to two times a year is extremely important in reducing your risk of fire. An expert will know what to examine and will have the proper tools and chemicals needed to remove any hazardous materials.

There are steps you can take to lower the amount of creosote build-up in your fireplace. Knowing how to construct a proper fire will help immensely. Using seasoned wood will lower the amount of energy spent removing excess water from the logs and will keep the smoke cooler during your burning period. Also, do not overload with wood. Rather, add logs as needed to keep your creosote build-up lower.

The air flow in your chimney is another big factor in controlling how much creosote accumulates. Study up and learn how to use your damper efficiently so that air is flowing at an appropriate rate. If it gets stuck inside for too long, that is when hazardous materials will build-up quickly. Smoke should move up the chimney at a fairly rapid pace to keep things flowing smoothly.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep wants to ensure that you and your family are safe and warm throughout the winter months that are quickly approaching. Call us today for a cleaning and inspection! We can ensure that everything is running efficiently for your upcoming burning season.