Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Today

Schedule Chimney Sweeping Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThere are some thing that take lots of time and planning. If you’re planning a lengthy vacation, for instance, it’s best to start planning early. You’ll want to find a destination, map out the best route and places to stop along the way, call ahead for reservations so you have someplace to stay along the way, and decide which attractions you’re going to visit once you get there. Or how about a wedding? You set the day, pick the venue, ask the bridal party if they’ll do you the honor of standing up for you, buy the dress, send out the invitations, and so much more before the big day finally arrives. There are some things, however, that take almost no planning at all. Do you want to take a walk? Go for it! Getting a drink of water? No problem. Another thing to add to that list? Calling Pozzi Chimney Sweep to schedule your annual inspection and chimney sweeping. Pozzi’s friendly staff makes this the easiest call you’ll make all summer.

Why is an Annual Inspection Important

You might think that having your chimney cleaned isn’t really that big of a deal. How dirty can a chimney get, after all. The answer? Really dirty. Over the course of the winter of using your fireplace on a regular basis, lots of a highly flammable substance called creosote can build up. Depending on several conditions, this buildup can occur more or less quickly. The type of wood you burn, how cured the wood is, how restricted the air supply is, or even the temperature of the chimney itself can all affect how quickly creosote builds up in your chimney.

Can You Do it Yourself?

You may think that this is a do-it-yourself job. You’re a handy person, right? You can hang your own pictures, fix the loose tile, tighten up a leaky faucet. Perhaps this is a job you could tackle on your own. But do you really want to? There are a couple of reasons that this is best left to the professionals. For one, there are things that you will need to look for that only a professional really has the knowledge and experience to recognize – such as signs of structural deterioration or damage. Also, there are tools that can be used that make the process much easier and more efficient. And do you really want to deal with the mess and smell? It is much safer to leave this job to certified professionals.

Schedule a sweeping with us

Pozzi Chimney Sweep has certification from the National Chimney Sweep Guild, as well as being recognized by Angie’s List with the Super Service Award several years running. If you want expert service, give Pozzi a call today!

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!

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.

Do I Really Need To Have My Chimney Cleaned After A Mild Winter?

So, you’ve just experienced a very mild winter; your fireplace was hardly used at all, and you may find yourself thinking that maybe it would be okay to skip your yearly chimney inspection and cleaning. After all, if you didn’t use it much, there’s no real reason to clean it, right? Wrong! Here are a couple of reasons why.

National Fire Protection Agency Says So

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), National Fire Protection Agency Standard 211 states that “(C)himneys, 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.” Although it may seem that there would be less reason for a cleaning because you’ve used your fireplace so seldom, it isn’t necessarily the quantity of time that you’ve used your fireplace, it’s the type of the fire that you get in a mild winter that is the real culprit.

Creosote Build Up

When you burn a fire during a mild winter, you may just be concerned about getting the chill out of the air, and not be too concerned about building up a hot fire. These smaller fires tend to smolder more rather than burn hot and steady. When you have a smoldering fire burning in your fireplace, creosote will build up more quickly.

So, what is creosote? When using your masonry fireplace by-products such as smoke, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbons, and more are released. The purpose of your chimney is to provide a passage to release these by-products into the air rather than into your home. As they move up your chimney, they cool and leave a residue behind which coats the inside of your chimney. This residue is known as creosote. Creosote that builds up in your chimney is a fire hazard and must be removed.

Small AnimalsAnimals In Chimney - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Another reason that it is important to clean and inspect your chimney after a mild winter is because you are more likely to have animals build nests in your chimney when you aren’t using it as often. These nests can cause a blockage in your chimney. One major consequence of this could be a chimney fire; another may be that the dangerous gases that should be released into the air through your chimney may actually be pushed back into your home.

Who Should I Call For My Yearly Cleanings/Inspections

When looking to hire someone to do your yearly fireplace inspection and cleaning, it is recommended that you hire someone who has been certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep have been CSIA certified and National Chimney Sweep Guild certified. Pozzi Chimney Sweep has also received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for three years.

Make sure that you don’t neglect having your chimney inspected and cleaned every year, regardless if the winter is cold and snowy or warm and mild. And to make sure that the job is done correctly, call the professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep. You can rest easy knowing that your chimney will be clean and clear of debris, ready for next winter – which might not be so mild!

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!

Annual Chimney Check: Beat the Rush!

During these late summer months, most Americans are packing for last minute vacations, shopping for school supplies, and breathing a sigh of relief as the worst of the heat waves subside, leaving them to relax in comfort. Not many, however, are scheduling chimney maintenance. Unfortunately, most homeowners will wait until fall or even early winter to schedule a chimney inspection and chimney sweep, in anticipation of long, chilly nights. There are several reasons why you should consider scheduling your appointment during the summer to beat the fall rush.

Availability of certified technicians

Our goal is to make sure that you are well-informed about the importance of having your chimney inspected annually and swept and repaired when needed. In doing so, you will be doing all you can to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire and your property from costly damages. You will also maximize enjoyment of your fireplace or furnace.

Our goal is to make sure that you are well-informed about the importance of having your chimney inspected annually and swept and repaired when needed. In doing so, you will be doing all you can to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire and your property from costly damages. You will also maximize enjoyment of your fireplace or furnace.

You want only the best for your family and the peace of mind that accompanies the knowledge that your chimney is clean and clear of creosote and other debris. Creosote is a highly flammable, tar-like substance that is the leading cause of chimney fires. Chimney fires, in turn, are a leading cause of house fires and can occur quite suddenly. Only a certified professional should attempt to rid your chimney system of creosote, but experienced and certified technicians may be difficult to schedule during the busy fall months. Schedule your appointment during the summer months to avoid the wait, and ensure that your fireplace is ready to use when you are ready to use it.

Removal of animals and animal nests

You want your home to be warm, inviting and festive for holiday guests. You do not, however, wish for your home to invite “other” guests, such as squirrels, snakes or birds. While some animals will find their way out of your chimney, others will take up residence and build nests. Animal nests are, quite simply, a fire hazard. Sparks from your fire will travel upward, and can ignite anything left behind by resident wildlife. During your chimney sweep, a technician can determine whether any animals have inhabited your chimney system and can recommend the best way to remove them. It is best to do this during the summer months, as removal may involve animal control or even protected wildlife services and can cause delays in the service of your chimney. They may even be able to remove the problem during the service visit.

Time for additional maintenance

You want quality. While your chimney sweep may not vary in cost of service from season to season, chances are that a home repair contractor will. During the spring thaw and summer rains, your roof and chimney may show signs of structural deficiency or damage. Whether a leaky roof, a need for a new flue or a cracked masonry structure, you will need to repair any damage caused by bad weather before the onset of winter. A certified chimney sweep is able to determine which services your chimney needs, and you will have more time to find a reputable and qualified repair service if the problem is spotted early in the season. Time is on your side, so shop around!

Don’t wait until October to schedule an annual inspection of your chimney system. Your fireplace is not only a focal point and gathering place, but also a source of security and comfort to your family. Schedule your maintenance appointment during the summer months and you will be ready to showcase your fireplace with no hassle when the cold fronts arrive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chimneys and Carbon Monoxide

A big part of the role that Pozzi Chimney Sweep plays in our community—and where we derive much of our purpose—is keeping Illinois homeowners and their families safe. By thoroughly inspecting and cleaning chimneys and dryer vents, we keep people safe from potential fires, but we also keep them protected from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide, known as “the silent killer,” is often the last thing on a homeowner’s mind when they get their fire lit for the first time each year or when they turn on their clothes dryer, but if a chimney or dyer is blocked or its draft is impeded in some other way, it may not be able to vent properly.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep offers the full gamut of chimney services, including chimney sweeping, inspection, and repair, along with dryer ventilation cleaning.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep offers the full gamut of chimney services, including chimney sweeping, inspection, and repair, along with dryer ventilation cleaning.

Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America reports that more than 200 people die each year because of venting problems that lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. An additional 10,000 carbon monoxide-related injuries are reported annually. Simply put, too much CO in your blood will kill you, and our bodies will mistakenly choose carbon monoxide over oxygen when exposed to both. To make matters worse, this is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas.

Experts will tell you that the symptoms of prolonged, low-level carbon monoxide poisoning mimic flu symptoms so closely that people sometimes don’t discover the real culprit until it’s too late and permanent damage has already been done to the brain or organs. Common CO poisoning symptoms include: headaches, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion, even depression.

How can my chimney create carbon monoxide?

Because houses today are more tightly sealed, saving us energy dollars, they do not naturally vent toxic gases, which are the byproducts of combustion, so well as they once did. Furthermore, new high-efficiency heating appliances, when paired with an existing chimney flue or improperly installed, may not function correctly and can cause CO to build up in the home. Chimneys that are blocked by birds’ nests or creosote build-up may also prevent toxic gases from filtering as they should.

How can a chimney sweep company prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

The most important thing to do is to have your fireplace, chimney, and your heating system inspected annually. This is a recommendation shared by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Lung Association. During an inspection, your Pozzi Chimney Sweep technician will be able to alert you to any areas of concern in your chimney or heating appliance. We also recommend having a certified technician inspect your clothes dryer vent to search for any blockages.

If you live in or around Hinckley, Illinois, we hope you will schedule your chimney inspection and/or dryer vent inspection with Pozzi Chimney Sweep today.

Why is my Chimney’s Masonry Crumbling?

There are lots of reasons why your chimney’s masonry may be crumbling, and a professional chimney mason will likely be able to take a look at your chimney and determine exactly what has caused the damage based on the way your chimney brick has responded. For instance, spalling brick—characterized by brick faces popping off—usually indicates severe moisture damage.

If you can see damage on the outside of your chimney, just imagine all the damage hiding on the inside. The chimney masons at Pozzi Chimney Sweep want to help make your home safe again so that your family and home are protected.

If you can see damage on the outside of your chimney, just imagine all the damage hiding on the inside. The chimney masons at Pozzi Chimney Sweep want to help make your home safe again so that your family and home are protected.

The most important thing to do is to not ignore your crumbling masonry and to call a CSIA-certified professional to remedy it. Masonry in bad condition will only grow worse and lead to greater problems such as water damage to the interior of your chimney and to the ceiling and walls adjacent to your chimney.

Here are some of the things that may be causing your chimney masonry to crumble:

  • It’s water-damaged – This is the problem we see most often. Mortar is surprisingly absorbent and can draw rainwater into the chimney. The freeze-thaw cycle can worsen this problem.
  • It’s old – If you have an ancient masonry chimney, just think of all the things it has likely had to withstand, sticking out from the top of your roof all these years. Weather, flue gases, and time have surely taken a toll. It’s only natural that your old masonry chimney would eventually need attention.
  • It’s unprotected -All chimneys need to be professionally waterproofed to keep water from seeping into the brick and mortar, while still allowing your chimney to “breathe” so that flue gases won’t be trapped inside the masonry.
  • It was built with the wrong bricks – Different bricks are designed to be utilized in different ways. If your chimney’s masonry seems especially vulnerable, it may be that improper materials were used during its construction.
  • It was damaged by sandblasters or pressure washers -It may seem like a good idea to clean your chimney with one of these high-powered tools, but this can be problematic, as these machines can force water into your bricks, shortening their lifespan.

How We Restore Crumbling Brick Chimneys

At Pozzi Chimney Sweep, we don’t think there are any chimney problems that we have yet to encounter. Our chimney masons are usually able to diagnose the problem with your chimney’s masonry during our initial consultation. We’ll then recommend the best, most affordable and durable method for repairing your chimney.

In addition, there are some great ways to protect your chimney’s brick and mortar from future harm once we get it repaired for you. We always recommend waterproofing following any of the masonry repairs we do.

For information on chimney repairs, contact us today. We serve customers in and around the Hinckley, Illinois, area.

All About Chimney Liners

The flue and flue liner of your chimney system is one of the most critical components.  According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the byproducts of combustion to the outside of your home.

Every chimney needs a working liner to usher the deadly byproducts of the combustion process out of your home.

Every chimney needs a working liner to usher the deadly byproducts of the combustion process out of your home.

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.