Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Scheduling a Chimney Sweeping for Santa

Ho, ho, ho! How excited are you for Christmas?! It’s time for presents and carols, twinkling lights and shining stars. The house is starting to look and smell like a bakery with all of your favorite holiday dishes. Guests are invited, parties are planned, and your favorite Christmas sweater is ready to go. Soon Santa will be making a trip down your chimney, and it better not be dirty!Scheduling a Chimney Sweeping for Santa Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney

The last thing you need to worry about during this holiday season is how safe your fireplace is, especially when you know nothing is quite as welcoming as a crackling, glowing fire for your guests to gather in front of. So if you’ve neglected having your chimney cleaned, now is the time to call!

What Will They Be Looking For?

When you use your fireplace a lot, it obviously is going to get dirty and sooty. But did you know that your chimney is also getting a buildup of something called creosote? The smoke that is created from the fire is full of water vapor and lots of chemicals, and when that smoke hits the cool surface of the inside of your chimney, it forms a thick layer of a black and shiny or maybe brown and gummy substance called creosote. No matter what form it takes, creosote should be removed! And that’s where Pozzi Chimney Sweep comes into play. They have the tools and the expertise to clean creosote out and make your fireplace safe throughout the holiday season and all winter long.

One thing that can cause additional creosote buildup is the type of wood that you use in your fireplace. It’s recommended that you use hardwoods, such as oak, maple, ash, or beech. These hardwoods will burn hotter and cause less creosote buildup in your chimney.

Odor in Your Chimney

Sometimes you might notice an odor coming from your fireplace, especially if you haven’t started using it yet. What could be happening is that your dampers aren’t tight enough, and a downdraft is causing odors from your dirty chimney to flow down the chimney and into your house. You don’t want your guests to be subjected to any odors but the delicious smells of holiday cooking and pine needles!

All Your Chimney Parts

Don’t let worrying about dangerous creosote buildup and nasty odors spoil your holiday season. Keep your family and your home safe and sound by calling in the experts from Pozzi Chimney Sweep to clean your chimney now, before your company starts arriving and the party starts in full swing. You’ll be able to enjoy the holidays worry-free knowing that your chimney is squeaky clean and fresh smelling. And Pozzi’s technicians won’t just be checking out your damper system, they’ll make sure that all of the parts of your chimney and fireplace system are working and in tip-top shape. Give them a call today!

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.

Why Can’t I Get A Fire Started???

Now that we are well into the winter season, the nights are getting longer and cooler. There’s nothing more relaxing after a hard day’s work than sitting in front of a cozy fire with a warm cup of cider. When you’re ready to unwind, you certainly don’t want to have trouble getting that fire started.

Drafting

Why Can't I Get a Fire Started Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepOne of the most common problems when starting a fire is drafting. So, what does drafting mean? To properly explain this concept, it’s important to understand how your chimney works. According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), when a fire burns, the warm air that is produced is less dense than the cold air outside of the chimney. This causes the warm air to rise. The cool air in the room will then move into the firebox, which fans the fire and keeps it burning. This is a normal burn cycle.

A draft effect strong enough to overpower the normal burn cycle can occur if your home is leaking in air. If this is happening in your home, a quick fix is to seal things up as much as you can. You can keep windows closed and covered in plastic, and be sure your attic access door is tightly closed.

Other Reasons

CSIA also cites that fires need large amounts of air to burn correctly. The air replacing the drafted air leaving through the chimney has to come from somewhere. There will be little air that can replace the warm air being drawn up through the chimney if your home has been insulated or weather-stripped.  This can lead to a fire that burns low and sluggishly. One solution to this problem is to slightly open some windows on the windy side of the house. Be aware that carbon monoxide may build up in a tightly sealed home. Be sure to use the window opening as a very temporary fix and have experts in to help suggest permanent solutions.

Another problem similar to the drafting issue relates to the use of your chimney’s dampers. According to hearth.com, a damper is used when your fireplace isn’t burning to stop the cold air from reverse drafting. When you are building a fire, make sure that you have opened the damper so that the path is open for warm air and smoke to leave your home through the chimney.

Ask the Experts

Whatever the reasons for problems with your fire, there’s never a question of who can help out. The experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are qualified to answer any questions you may have. The awarded technicians have been recognized for the quality services they provide for a number of years. Give them a call for a great service experience, and answers to all your fire-burning questions.

Tips for More Efficient Fireplace Use

Efficient Fireplace Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepThere’s something so appealing about curling up in front of a crackling fire, sipping a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of good wine. The aesthetics of this picture is so homey and relaxing. But there’s much more to owning a fireplace than just the relaxation factor. To really get the most out of your chimney, it’s important that it is running as efficiently as possible so that you get the most heat bang for your buck.

Making Your Chimney Run Efficiently

One inexpensive way of improving the efficiency of your chimney is by purchasing inflatable plugs. According to Mother Earth News, if you don’t use your fireplace very often, these plugs can stop the warm air that’s in your house from escaping up the chimney.

According to the HomeGuides website, burning seasoned wood (cut and seasoned for a year) can help increase your fireplace’s efficiency. Besides decreasing efficiency, burning green (freshly cut) wood can also make for a very smoky fire.

HomeGuides website also states that installing a fireplace insert can help increase efficiency. Make sure that the insert fits properly, and to increase efficiency even more, you might consider installing a double-wall unit that has a built-in circulating fan, which will help the warm air circulate and blow the warmth into the room rather than allowing it to escape out the chimney.

Make sure your chimney is safe to use with a certified chimney sweep. When you burn firewood in your fireplace, gases are released up your chimney and into the outside air. These gases include smoke, water vapor, hydrocarbon, assorted minerals, and unburned wood particles, and as they flow up your chimney, they can settle on the cooler interior of your chimney, resulting in a buildup that is called creosote. This can appear in different forms, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America website – either black or brown, crusty and flaky or tar-like and sticky, or even hard and shiny. This can cause several problems in your chimney. This substance is extremely flammable, so the real danger here is chimney fire. Another problem with a thick creosote build-up is the reduction of area for the gases to escape. This makes your fireplace run less efficiently as well. A certified chimney sweep can detect and remove creosote that has settled in your chimney.

Another thing that HomeGuides suggests is replacing your fireplace screen with tempered glass doors that you keep closed while burning a fire in your fireplace. These doors, if they fit tightly enough, can “increase the temperature of the chimney and reduce the amount of warm air that the fire sucks from the room.”

Yearly Inspection and Cleaning

These are some things that can be done to help increase your chimney’s efficiency, but the best thing you can do is to have your fireplace and chimney system inspected, cleaned, and repaired on an annual basis by a company that hires CSIA certified employees. Pozzi Chimney Sweep takes pride in hiring employees that are CSIA certified and who offer top-quality service at great rates. Give them a call today to set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected and cleaned, and be sure of getting the best service in the industry.

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.

Dangers of a Dirty Chimney

Don't allow your family to be in harm's way just because of a dirty chimney.

Don’t allow your family to be in harm’s way just because of a dirty chimney.

For good reasons, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends you have your chimney swept and inspected annually. Of course, your chimney gets dirty from soot throughout the year whenever you burn a fire in your fireplace and should be cleaned; however, one of the main reasons for this maintenance recommendation is to protect you from the dangers of a dirty chimney. A CSIA-certified company, Pozzi Chimney Sweep offers superior service in chimney sweeping and inspecting and will help you prevent the leading causes of these two deadly dangers of a dirty chimney.

chimney fires

The CSIA stresses that dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, both dramatic, flame-shooting fires and slow-burning, quiet fires. Luckily, this danger can be easily prevented by having your chimney swept annually by Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Yearly inspections are equally important to check to see if any fire hazards are remaining in your chimney after its cleaning. The reason a chimney cleaning is so essential is to remove creosote build-up, the leading cause of chimney fires. Creosote is formed naturally during the wood-burning process. When the by-products of combustion (smoke, gases, vapors, tar fog, unburned wood particles, etc.) exit your fireplace through your cooler upper chimney, condensation occurs, and the remaining residue that sticks to your chimney walls is creosote. Black or brown in color, the appearance of creosote can vary from shiny and hardened, crusty and cracked, or gummy and sticky, but no matter what it looks like, creosote is highly combustible and a dangerous fire hazard, especially if the build-up is significant and your internal flue reaches a certain temperature. This is why it is so important to schedule a chimney sweep to clean out all of the built-up creosote deposits in your chimney. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Pozzi Chimney Sweep even use a “Chim-Scan” video camera attached to a long pole to record the exterior of your chimney walls up close to be sure all creosote is removed after they finish sweeping.

carbon monoxide poisoning

The second deadly danger of a dirty chimney, carbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of thousands of Americans every year as well as causes around 10,000 cases of illnesses, according to the CSIA. Carbon monoxide, another by-product of combustion, enters your home from your chimney when you have a damaged or deteriorated flue liner, debris clogging the flue, soot and creosote build-up, or animals or nests obstructing the passageway of your chimney. Restricted air flow also contributes to carbon monoxide leaking into your house because not enough air flowing does not allow the combustion by-products to exit, forcing them back into your living space. When you breathe carbon monoxide, the protein hemoglobin in your blood latches on to it rather than live-giving oxygen. Low-level exposure to carbon monoxide can result in permanent brain and organ damage and death. Preventing carbon monoxide leaks is simple: schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection from Pozzi Chimney Sweep to clean out soot, creosote, and debris and to check the condition of your flue liner.

To protect you, your family, and your home from the deadly dangers of a dirty chimney, schedule an appointment today for your annual chimney sweep and inspection from Pozzi Chimney Sweep. We will ensure no chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning will endanger you and your family.