Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

What is Creosote and Why is it Harmful?

Creosote Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThe Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis, and there are many reasons why this is a good idea. They will be looking for things like obstructions in your chimney, such as birds nests or dry twigs and leaves, that could catch a spark and cause a chimney fire. A good inspector will look for any structural damage that may be occurring, and will also be keeping an eye out for damage to key components of your chimney, such as the chimney cap or the damper system. All of these things are very important because they help make your chimney and fireplace system more efficient and your fire burning experiences more pleasant. But one of the most important things that your inspector will be looking for is creosote buildup.

Creosote Composition

One of the problems with burning a fire in a fireplace is smoke production. No one wants to sit in a smoky room, and that’s where your chimney comes into play. A chimney has two main functions: to help create a draft, which helps your fire burn, and to pull smoke out of the chimney. When wood burns, several chemical elements are released and carried up and out on the water vapor, which is also released during the burn process. When this chemical-laced vapor rises and hits the relatively cooler surface of the upper interior of the chimney, it condenses and forms a layer of crusty, flaky, dark-colored gunk: creosote. Creosote is extremely flammable, so if it is allowed to build up into a thick layer (an eighth of an inch is thick enough to cause problems, you are looking at a dangerous situation waiting to happen. To avoid this problem, you’ll want to hire a CSIA certified chimney sweep like the ones at Pozzi Chimney Sweep to come in and clean your chimney.

Ways to Cut Down on Creosote Buildup

There are some things you can do which will help cut down creosote buildup between those annual inspections and cleanings. One of the most important things to do is to make sure that the wood you burn has been properly seasoned. When you cut a tree into firewood, it can initially have at least a 45% water content, and usually much more. The higher the water content, the harder the wood is to burn and the greater the creosote buildup. Therefore, using dried (seasoned) firewood is a good way to reduce creosote buildup over the course of the year. It’s a good rule of thumb to let your firewood sit for at least six months after cutting, and more is better. Also, burning a hotter fire will help decrease the amount of creosote that collects.

Annual Inspection and Cleaning

Most important, however, is that annual cleaning. Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep to set up an appointment today, before the cold winds of winter start to blow.

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!

Summer is the Best Time for Masonry Repairs

Remember last fall? You took the time to really look at your chimney. Finally, you noticed that some of the mortar was beginning to look a little cracked and flaky! That probably made you a bit worried about the structure of the chimney. Also, about whether it was safe to use for another winter fireplace season. So you did just what you should do; you called a chimney sweep company to do some inspection, repair, and cleaning.

Summer is the Best Time for Masonry Repairs Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThe trouble was, you had called too late in the season! So, chances are that chimney technician probably made recommendations for repairs. Afterwards, they then told you you’d have to wait until next summer to do those repairs. The truth of the matter is, he was right. There are many chimney repairs that work best when they are done in warm weather, and that’s why it’s important to give Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call as soon as you can to set up another inspection and cleaning and to have any recommended repair work done.

Causes of Mortar Breakdown

Your mortar and brick chimney is a very solid structure. Even so, it is still susceptible to wear and tear over many years. When snow, rain, and other precipitation hits your chimney, it causes deterioration to occur, especially to the mortar. Over time, leaks can appear in the chimney itself and the metal parts of your fireplace system can start to show rust. The damage that occurs goes beyond ordinary wear and tear. However, the freeze/thaw cycle can also have a damaging effect on the mortar and bricks that make up your chimney!

Repairs

When your chimney specialist recommends work to your mortar, most likely he will recommend tuckpointing. This process involves removing the old mortar and then replacing it with new mortar. This is done using special tools and making sure that the colors match up to your existing chimney mortar. The mortar needs several days to cure, which is one reason that it is a job best left for summer time.

Once your chimney is repaired and cured, you may want to consider waterproofing it. This will prevent the moisture from entering your new masonry as quickly. In addition, gives you protection from the deteriorating effects of precipitation. Waterproofing is another job that is best done while the weather is warm. Plus, when properly applied by a CSIA certified professional, can give your chimney up to ten years of waterproofing protection!

Call Pozzi

When it comes to taking care of your chimney, it’s clear that sooner is better than later – especially when you’re talking about early summer vs. late autumn. Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep soon to make sure that you can get your chimney inspection and cleaning done now, in the late spring. That way any necessary repairs to your mortar can be completed and cured by the time the weather starts to get cooler. Beat the rush and secure your place on the early summer schedule by giving Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call today!

New Home Owners: Fireplace Tips

So you just bought a new home – and it has a fireplace in it! You’re looking forward to sitting in front of a fire roasting marshmallows in the fall and snuggling up in the warmth of a crackling fire on those cold winter nights. But before you lose yourself in those dreams, there are some tips you need to be aware of.

Water Damage

Be sure to check the exterior of your chimney for soft or crumbling mortar or flaking, peeling or cracking of the bricks. If these signs are present, it is possible that water damage is present. It’s important to take care of any damage that occurs as soon as possible so that more impairment doesn’t take place. If left unchecked, you could be in for extensive rebuild and repair work.

Chimney Caps

Check to see that you have a chimney cap that is in a good state of repair. A chimney cap is important to keep sparks from escaping from your chimney. Sparks that aren’t contained in your chimney can land on your roof or your yard and cause a fire. Another important purpose of a chimney cap is that it keeps outside elements such as birds, leaves, or twigs from entering your chimney and causing blockages that can block air flow out of your chimney. It will also keep precipitation out of your chimney. According to CSIA, “[C]himney caps, also called rain covers, are probably the most inexpensive preventive measure that a homeowner can employ to prevent water penetration and damage to the chimney.”

Proper Cleaning MethodsFireplace Tips For Home Owners  - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweeps

Make sure that you properly clean out the ashes after using your fireplace. If you don’t clean out your fireplace on a regular basis, an unpleasant odor can occur. Home Guides website that, at least four days after having a fire, you use a stiff brush to reach into the interior of your chimney to loosen any ashes that may be clinging there. Use the same brush to sweep the ashes that fall into a dustpan and then into a garbage bag. Take this bag out to the trash right away to avoid spilling those ashes.

Yearly Inspections and Cleaning

Most importantly, be sure to schedule yearly inspections and cleanings to maintain optimum benefits from your fireplace. When choosing a chimney sweep, remember to look for a company that has Chimney Safety Institute of America certified employees. CSIA certification is recognized as the gold standard in the chimney industry, and the chimney sweeps at Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc. are highly qualified and CSIA certified. With Pozzi, you are sure of getting great service at a fair price.

Waterproofing

Once an inspector has given your chimney a thorough inspection and cleaning, you may want to consider having your chimney waterproofed. If you choose this route, be sure to choose a qualified service, such as Pozzi Chimney Sweep, to perform this service. CSIA stresses the importance of using a product that will waterproof the exterior of your chimney while allowing the vapors that form from using your fireplace to escape. Pozzi Chimney Sweep uses ChimneySaver’s Water Repellant, a product that is designed especially for chimneys and is 100% vapor permeable, allowing water vapors to pass through bricks while protecting your chimney from leaks.

Following these tips will help you turn those dreams of s’mores and snuggling into reality!

Stinky Fireplace Odor Solutions

The heat and humidity of the summer can create some stinky odors in your chimney that may affect your living space through the fireplace. Every summer Pozzi Chimney Sweep gets calls from customers asking for help dealing with unpleasantly smelling fireplaces. A few different things can be behind these strong smells, and our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps have the experience to find the source of the smelly fireplace odor. We can take care of your stinky fireplace problem to make your house smell as great as it should. We would like to share with you a couple of the culprits behind smelly chimneys.

Stinky Fireplace Odor Solutions - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepCREOSOTE

The main cause of stinky fireplace odors in the summer, creosote is a natural compound that is formed during the condensation process of a burning wood. The toxic byproducts of combustion turn into this residue as they exit the cooler walls of the upper chimney. This residue sticks to the inner walls of your chimney and can accumulate into large deposits. Not only is creosote the main cause of smelly chimneys because of its strong, acrid scent, but, according to the CSIA, creosote is also the main cause of chimney fires because it is highly flammable. For these reasons, removing creosote is an important task in keeping your home safe from a chimney fire and in keeping your home from smelling badly. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are experts at getting rid of accumulated creosote deposits when they clean your chimney during a professional chimney sweep. If you have a stinky fireplace, contact us to schedule a chimney sweeping so that we can remove the smelly creosote deposits.

DRAFTING PROBLEMS

When your fireplace smells smoky, the odor problem may involve your drafting system. Blockages in the flue your chimney can be one of the causes of drafting problems. What happens with drafting problems is the smoke that needs to be pushed out of your fireplace cannot exit completely, and this smoke combined with air gets pushed back into the living areas of your home. You can be certain that drafting issues are the cause of your stinky fireplace problem when you light a fire in the fireplace and the room fills with smoke. To take care of these drafting problems, contact Pozzi Chimney Sweep for a professional chimney inspection and sweeping.

Have a stinky fireplace? Contact Pozzi Chimney Sweep to schedule a professional chimney sweeping and inspection so that we can locate the source of the odor and have your home smelling great again.

Legend of Chimney Sweeps’ Good Luck

Dating back several hundred years, the chimney sweep has been considered a symbol of good luck, particularly to brides and grooms on their wedding days. As more people learn of the luck associated with chimney sweeps, more and more chimney sweeps appear at weddings and other occasions where luck is desired. The reason behind the chimney sweep’s good luck is still debated but seems to have been narrowed down to three legends.

legend-of-chimney-sweep-luck-aurora-il-pozzi-chimney-sweep

The most common legend involves King George II back in the 18th century. As told by this legend, the King was riding his horse in a procession when a growling dog appeared. His horse, spooked by dog, became unruly, and the King lost control. Out of the crowd walked a chimney sweep that caught the horse and calmed it down, essentially saving the King from falling to the ground. Thankful for being saved, the King declared all chimney sweeps to be good luck. Allegedly, this message spread across Europe and has stuck around ever since.

Another legend proposed to be the origin of the chimney sweep’s good luck takes place in 1066 with King William of Britain. Peacefully walking down a quiet road, the King fell into the path of a runaway carriage, which put him in grave danger. A chimney sweep happened to foresee the accident and pushed the King out of harm’s way. In return for saving his life, King William invited the chimney sweep to his daughter’s wedding. He wanted his daughter to experience the luck of the chimney sweep as well. The King also declared chimney sweeps were good luck and allowed them to wear top hats while working. Reserved for the distinguished, permitting the top hats was a sign of great respect. Ever since, chimney sweeps at weddings have been considered lucky, and their presence could even negate bad luck.

The third legend is not linked to a specific date or person, but it contains an entertaining story. While working one day, a chimney sweep fell from the roof. Fortunately, the chimney sweep was saved from falling to the ground when his foot became caught in the gutter. Dangling from the gutter, the chimney sweep was completely helpless. Upon hearing the ruckus, the maiden who lived in the house came to the window to investigate. Seeing the poor chimney sweep in such a sad state, she quickly pulled him inside through the window. They quickly fell in love with each other, resulting in the maiden breaking off her engagement to a man she disliked. She and the chimney sweep married and lived happily ever after.

Whether you believe one of these legends or choose to believe a different story, history has shown that generation after generation believes in the good luck brought by chimney sweeps.