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Pozzi Chimney Sweep In The News

Heating a home can lead to hot water

Now that it’s time to start heating the house, fire officials are warning residents to beware of the potential fire hazards that lurk – especially deep within the recesses of their chimneys and furnaces.

Without taking certain precautions, some homes may help make up the 36 percent of residences that catch fire in rural areas each year from faulty or dirty heating systems and chimneys.

It’s a good time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re placed in or near bedrooms, fire officials say.

Jim Ward, fire prevention coordinator with the Sycamore Fire Department, advises people to have their home heating systems inspected around this time of year to help prevent fires caused by furnaces and fireplaces.

“A lot of times [fires are] from furnaces that are not maintained properly, belts going bad or wood-burning stoves,” he said.

Chimney fires are the most common fire Ward said he encounters this time of year. He said it’s sometimes easy to forget to check whether chimneys are clean because people can’t really see that flammable creosote has built up in the chimney flue.

Gary Pozzi, owner of Hinckley-based Pozzi Chimney Sweep, said fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected annually to make sure there are no cracks, loose bricks or debris clogging the airway.

Aside from bird nests, he often discovers the carcasses of birds that fall into the chimney, causing it to clog and create a carbon monoxide hazard. Birds often perch on chimney pipes because they like the warm air, but they can be overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and fall into the chimney.

That’s why it’s important to have a chimney cap, he said.

Ward said the chimney flue should always be open when the fireplace is in use. He said to only burn wood or creosote-reducing logs, and avoid burning things such as wrapping paper or cardboard boxes. Burning items that aren’t meant for a home fireplace are much more likely to clog a chimney or stick to chimney walls.

When Pozzi does fire inspections, he said one of the most common fire hazards he sees are combustibles that are stored too close to furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces. Combustibles should be kept 3 feet from water heaters, furnaces and fireplace openings. That includes stockings at Christmastime.

Pozzi also warns that blocked airways in dryer vents and chimneys can cause carbon monoxide hazards.

People should also be careful when warming up their cars. Pozzi said drivers should always pull the car out of the garage before letting it run.

Ward said homes should never be heated using a gas range or oven, and charcoal should never be burned inside a home or garage.

Pozzi said it’s important for people with gas stove ranges to make sure the flames are blue when they light their stove. If they’re not, that means it’s time for a professional to clean the pilot light or stove range.

“If it’s a yellow flame, that means it’s giving off a lot of carbon monoxide,” he said.

Tips for maintaining a furnace:

• Have your furnace or boiler serviced annually. • Leave furnace or boiler repairs to qualified specialists.• Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in working condition.• On the furnace or boiler, check the flue and pipe seams. Make sure they are supported and free of holes and cracks. If the flue is installed into a masonry chimney, make sure there are not any cracks or loose bricks.• Keep trash and other combustibles away from the furnace or boiler.• Change your furnace filter regularly per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Tips for using a fireplace or wood stove safely:

• Always open the chimney flue when you use your fireplace.• Make sure the chimney isn’t clogged with debris prior to use.• Hire a professional to clean and inspect your chimney or wood stove once a year.• Have a sturdy screen in front of the fireplace.• Keep all flammables at least 3 feet away from the chimney or wood stove.• Don’t burn excessive amounts of paper in your fireplace.• Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place ashes in a metal container well away from the house.


Local chimney sweep attends CSIA

Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances

Gary Pozzi of Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc. recently attended the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s (CSIA) Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances. Gary received extensive instruction in the latest techniques of gas hearth installation & troubleshooting.

The Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances class is a week long, highly intensive program that provides sweeps with both classroom and lab experience. Under the guidance of CSIA instructions, the students learn core knowledge such as: combustion, heat transfer, construction & safety principles. They also learned installation, fuel delivery, appliance requirements, venting & ventilation and troubleshooting. All major gas appliances/fireplaces, gas log sets, inserts and freestanding stoves, as well as venting methods are covered in this class.

Gary is the owner of Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc. Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc. is located at 211 W. Miller Ave., Hinckley, IL 60520, and may be reached at 815-286-9922 or

Chimney sweeps open online store

By Pam Molnar April 24, 2014
The Beacon-News

Gary and Laura Pozzi, owners of Pozzi Chimney Sweep, recently opened an online store on their website. The Hearth and Home Store offers grills, fireplace accessories, gas stoves, gas logs and tool sets.

“We are really excited about it,” says Laura Pozzi, of Hinckley.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep is based out of the couple’s home.

“The online store is the next best thing to having a retail space,” Pozzi says.

Customers can order the items online and have them shipped directly to their house. Installations can be scheduled once the item has arrived.

The Pozzi’s opened their chimney sweep business in 2010. Gary Pozzi, a retired Aurora firefighter, offers chimney and dryer vent cleaning, chimney water proofing and repair as well as installation of wood stoves and gas logs.

Chimney sweep business focuses on fire prevention

By Nicole Weskerna May 22, 2012
Daily Chronicle

HINCKLEY – A chimney sweep may conjure images of Dick Van Dyke’s dust-covered character in Mary Poppins, but that’s not really what a chimney sweep looks like today.

In addition to the traditional long-handled brush, chimney sweep Gary Pozzi uses rotary cleaning rods powered by a cordless drill with special vacuums to keep homes clear of dust.

Pozzi opened his business, Pozzi Chimney Sweep, in Hinckley early last year with his wife, Laura. Technology plays a big role in his business, which also includes dryer ventilation cleaning.

When cleaning chimneys, he uses a “Chim-Scan” video camera that captures still images and video, which show up on a computer screen in real time. The camera attaches to a rod and helps Pozzi pinpoint defects such as a broken tile.

“I have the homeowner come over and show them exactly what the problem is,” he said. “They’re not being scammed.”

Pozzi was certified in February through the Chimney Safety Institute of America, which involved months of self study, an eight-hour review and passing a two-hour test.

He started his business after retiring in 2010 as an Aurora firefighter – a job he held for 27 years. He spent some time as a chimney sweep while working as a part-time firefighter before being hired full time.

“I enjoyed the chimney sweep business,” he said. “It keeps me involved in fire prevention.”

Pozzi was certified as a dryer exhaust technician in March. He said people with dryers in their homes – especially those powered with natural gas – should have machines inspected once a year because pent-up lint or clogged airways could result in fires or the release of carbon monoxide.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, failure to clean dryers is the leading cause of dryer fires.

And built-up creosote – the sticky substance created when wood isn’t burned completely – causes chimney fires. Fireplaces should also be inspected once a year, Pozzi said.

According to the NFPA, heating equipment such as fireplaces and dryers account for 18 percent of reported home fires – the second highest after cooking. More than half of home fires that start from a fireplace, chimney or chimney connector are caused because they weren’t cleaned properly.

Pozzi said his job allows him to inspect homes more freely than when he was a firefighter.

“Being in the fire service, code allowed us to walk into any business and do inspections,” he said. “But we’re not able to go into a resident’s home.”

When a client sets up an appointment, he usually checks furnaces and water heaters to make sure there’s proper venting and that flammable materials aren’t sitting too close. He also carries extra carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in case a client needs one.

Pozzi said there are three levels of inspection, with the first level being what he can see. The second level would involve the Chim-Scan camera, and the third level would be doing demolition and getting inside of a wall to check clearances.

Pozzi said with properly maintained heating equipment, clients can have peace of mind that fire risks are much lower.

“I’m able to make people more aware of potential problems with fire because it’s devastating,” he said. “It really is devastating.”

Local chimney sweep becomes certified

May 8, 2012
Daily Chronicle

Gary Pozzi of Pozzi Chimney Sweep recently passed the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s exam to become a certified chimney sweep. Pozzi passed two exams based on standard chimney service practices and applicable fire safety codes. Certification is valid for three years from the test date.

CSIA certification signifies knowledge of codes and practices important to providing the best service and to staying ahead in a changing industry.

Pozzi has enhanced his knowledge of how to properly inspect, diagnose, clean and repair chimney and venting systems to better protect people against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pozzi owns Pozzi Chimney Sweep with his wife, Laura. The business is located at 211 W. Miller Ave., Hinckley. The phone number is 815-286-9922.

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