Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

It is the dream of most people to own their own home. Being able to decorate however you want, take out walls, put up new walls, and do your yard work. All of these things bring with them a certain sense of pride of ownership. Not to mention, the fact that owning your home can be a great investment. However, home ownership also brings many responsibilities.

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepIf something breaks, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to fix it. When the grass gets long, the homeowner is responsible to mow it. Also, if the home has a fireplace, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to have that chimney inspected and cleaned to ensure the safety of the family. So, this brings up the question of how often that chimney needs to be inspected and swept. It would seem that if you don’t use the fireplace very often over the course of the winter, you probably won’t need to have it cleaned, right? Not necessarily.

What Do the Experts Say?

Do you have a question about something as important to the safety of your family as getting your chimney inspected and cleaned? If so, it’s best to ask the experts! In this case, that would be the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The CSIA website is very clear about this topic: “The simple answer is: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, ‘Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.’ This is the national safety standard and is the correct way to approach the problem.” Even if you don’t use your chimney very often during the previous winter, you can experience blockages from birds or other animals. In addition, have debris that gets blown into your chimney. This must be removed to avoid a dangerous chimney fire!

Chimney Repairs

Even if you don’t use your chimney very often, there are other factors to consider. These include weathering and precipitation that can cause breakdowns to occur. Some of this wear and tear is easily observed, even by an untrained person. Other damages aren’t as easily detected, however. An annual inspection by a CSIA trained professional will give you peace of mind; knowing that any damages that might cause instability in the structure of your chimney have been discovered and repaired.

Creosote

Even if you didn’t use your fireplace very often over the past winter, creosote can still build up. In fact, there are some conditions that cause creosote to build up more quickly. If the temperature in your chimney is cooler than normal, or if you burn unseasoned firewood, creosote will build up more quickly. Also, if you don’t open your damper wide enough to allow for a good airflow, you will find that creosote will form more quickly.

Annual Inspection and Cleaning

Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep today to schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. Even if your chimney didn’t receive much use over the past winter, you’ll want to make sure that everything is clean and in good working order so that it’s ready to go next winter. Give them a call today!

Beat the Fall Rush: Have Your Chimney Swept in the Summer

As fall weather approaches, many people begin to think of cozy fall and winter days. These thoughts will spur them on to get their chimney inspected and cleaned, so that these thoughts can turn into reality. Unfortunately, the phone lines may be busy. Why? Simply because so many people put this task off until that time of year! So this year, think ahead and schedule that inspection and cleaning for the summer!

House Fire - Aurora IL - Pozzi ChimneyWhy Inspections Are So Important

After a winter of using your fireplace, the inside of your chimney will need to be cleaned out. The chimney is the main passage of escape for the various fire extracts that are produced by your fire. Unfortunately, over the course of the winter a build-up of creosote can take place. According to the GuideOne Insurance website, creosote is a mix of water vapor, unburned wood particles, tar fog, and various minerals. Over time it can coat the inside of your fireplace. If left untended, this thick build-up can be the cause of chimney fires! According to the Dave Your Home Inspector website, “[A] build-up of as little as 1/8 to ¼ inch of creosote is sufficient to create a fire hazard.” Quality chimney sweeps, like those at Pozzi Chimney Sweep, are trained to clear your chimney of this dangerous build-up.

After Your Chimney Has Been Swept

After having your chimney inspected and cleaned, it is important to keep your chimney free of debris, leaves, or grasses. They may blow into your chimney and block air flow. This debris can cause a backup of toxic gasses and a blockage of air flow, once you start using your fireplace again. Birds and animals can also choose to use your chimney as a place to build their nests. This can also cause a blockage that you may not notice, until you begin using your chimney again. How do you prevent this from happening? Make sure that your chimney cap is in good shape! A quality chimney service company, such as Pozzi Chimney Sweep, will make sure that all parts of your chimney are in good shape and ready for winter use.

Choosing Your Chimney Maintenance Professionals

It is important to choose chimney care professionals that you can trust. Be sure that the company you choose has technicians that are certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Pozzi Chimney Sweep is a member of the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the National Chimney Sweep Guild, and the Better Business Bureau. The professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep pride themselves in offering quality service at a fair price. This way you can enjoy the comfort and warmth of a cozy fireplace knowing that safety and efficiency is assured.

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned in the summer. By doing so, assures that you have plenty of time to schedule repairs or rebuilds before cold weather sets in. Be ready to enjoy the comfort of a crackling fire next winter, confident that your fireplace is safe and running efficiently!

Problems with Draft

Are you having trouble with a smoky fire? Maybe your fire is having difficulty igniting or staying lit. These problems indicate you may have a draft problem. The professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep know how to handle all of your chimney needs, whether it be your chimney sweep and inspection or something a little more serious.

If anything is blocking the process of combustion inside your chimney, your risks increase.

If anything is blocking the process of combustion inside your chimney, your risks increase.

What is a chimney draft?

When thinking about things that could go wrong inside of a chimney, draft problems is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind.  A proper chimney draft is important because that is how all of the toxic air is flushed out of the home.  As the air inside of your chimney begins to get hotter, it pulls air up and through the firebox, causing the draft.  Your chimney’s draft can be varied by increasing or decreasing fire levels and changing the temperature, or by adding or taking away the height of the chimney.

What happens to change the draft? 

There are many things that can go on with a chimney to disrupt its flow.  One of the mot common reasons is a large amount of creosote build up within the structure.  Creosote is released during the burning of a fire and clumps together inside of your chimney.  This is one reason that having your annual chimney sweep is so important.  When hiring a sweep make sure it is someone that you trust.  ‘

One way to find an experienced professional is to ask neighbors, family and friends, and internet websites.  You should also make sure that whoever you hire is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. (CSIA)  This means that they follow a set of guidelines used across the country that will leave you safe and getting the most out of your appointment.

In addition to the draft, having a chimney sweep will reduce the chance of any fires.  When having a chimney sweep, make sure that you do not burn any fires for at least 24 hours prior so the area is cooled down enough for the technicians.  Also, have all furniture and valuables pulled away from the chimney to keep them from becoming dirty or damaged.  Lastly, lock away any pets for their safety and the safety of the sweeps.  Other things that could cause draft problems include clogged dampers, dirty chimney caps, structural damage, and building issues.

What happens when the draft is changed?

With improper chimney draft, the air that has become filled with gases from the fire cannot escape the home.  Carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, gas, is so discrete that you are unable to tell when it is filling the area around you.  Unfortunately, this means for most people that they will begin to feel symptoms before they realize anything is wrong.

Symptoms can range anywhere from cold and flu-like symptoms with nausea, fatigue, and dizziness, to severe problems such as chest pains and fatality depending on how much they are exposed to.  If you feel as if the area you are in is questionable evacuate immediately and seek medical help.  When you arrive at the doctor, they will evaluate you.  If levels are high enough, you can be admitted into the hospital where they will give you additional oxygen.  Even if you open windows and doors, that will not be enough to immediately air out the area.  Carbon monoxide monitors have been invented where you can be alerted if levels start to rise.  You should scatter them throughout the floor plan of your home, and on multiple levels if necessary.  Even though these devices are similar to smoke detectors, they should not be used as replacements.