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!

Gary Pozzi Earns Master Chimney Certification

Are you in the market for a chimney sweep? If so, it is important to look for certified chimney sweeps. In fact, Angie’s List tells us that the most important question to ask is this: whether the hired sweep is certified. In addition to being certified, a chimney sweep can work to attain a Master Chimney Technician certification. We’re proud to announce that Gary Pozzi, owner of Pozzi Chimney Sweep, has attained this status!

pozzi master certification badgeMaster Chimney Sweep Certification

So what does it mean to have Master Chimney Sweep certification?  A sweep must be an active full time chimney sweep for a minimum of eight continuous years to attain the highly regarded status. They must also be actively certified as a chimney sweep for a minimum of 6 years. The applicant must be reviewed and approved by the application committee after going through an extensive application process.

Sweeps with Master Certification are also expected to hold a high standard of ethics.

Distinguished Position

The Master Chimney Technician certification process requires a rigorous education and routine.  The highly distinguished position is held by only a few people in the United States. Gary Pozzi has been involved in the firefighting field for 27 years. His work included serving as an arson investigator for the Aurora Fire Department. In that time, Gary realized that most fires were preventable, and started in the chimney or fireplace. Gary Pozzi wanted to make a real difference to the home owners of this area by opening his chimney sweep business.

Other Awards

Master Chimney Technician certification is not the only award that Pozzi Chimney Sweep as earned. Gary Pozzi is also National Fireplace Institute certified. In addition, the Pozzi Chimney Sweep has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award three times. Gary’s goal is to ensure that every customer is treated to top-notch service.

 

Minimizing Creosote Buildup

As a fireplace owner, you already know the positives that a fireplace holds. A crackling fire can be both beautiful and practical, heating a room with something that you can also cozy up in front of. But, if you want to continue to enjoy the ambiance that your fireplace brings, you need to make sure to take care of it. This is done by having it inspected, repaired, and swept on a yearly basis by certified professionals.

Minimizing Creosote Buildup Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepWhat We’ll Look For

You may ask yourself why annual inspection is so important. There are actually several things that your chimney sweep will be looking for. According to houselogic, if you have your chimney maintained on a regular basis, your technician may do a level one inspection. They will be looking for any damage, obstructions, and soot and creosote build-up. If your chimney needs cleaning, they’ll be able to do a certified sweeping job, too.

Structural Damage

Damage that occurs during the freeze-thaw cycle is the type that is most likely to occur during the winter months. When water gets into the cracks of your mortar and then freezes, it will expand, causing bigger cracks to occur. This continuous cycle can eventually cause structural damage. Consequently, that can cause big problems that can cost you a lot of money. That’s one reason to stay on top of the yearly inspections.

Creosote

Another problem that your chimney sweep will be looking for is creosote build-up. What is creosote? As stated on the Chimney Safety Institute of America website, when you burn wood in your fireplace, byproducts are released in the smoke that is channeled up the chimney. As the warm smoke hits the cooler chimney, it condenses and sticks to the inside of your chimney. The residue can be black or brown, crusty and flaky or tar-like, sticky, and drippy, or even hard and shiny. No matter what it looks like, this creosote is a big problem because it is extremely flammable. And the last thing you want is a chimney fire in the middle of winter. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help keep the creosote build-up down.

One thing you can do, according to Mother Earth News, is to build a hot fire. When you build a smoldering fire, up to 48% times more creosote can build up then when a hot flaming fire is burned. The way to accomplish this is by using smaller fuel loads and larger air settings on your fireplace.

Hiring A Quality Company

Yearly maintenance for your chimney is so important. However, even more important is picking the right company to take care of that yearly maintenance. For professionals who are CSIA certified and who stay on top of all the latest cleaning and inspection technology, call the experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Not only can we take care of existing problems, but we can also offer advice on how to avoid the creosote build-up that can cause chimney fires. If you are having problems with your chimney or if you are just looking for words of wisdom on caring for your fireplace and chimney, give us a call today.

Chimney Sweeping – Not a Do-It-Yourself Job

There are so many things you do to get your home ready for the holidays. There’s cleaning, preparing food, trimming the tree, and wrapping the gifts. However, there’s something else that should be done well in advance. That is making sure that your chimney and fireplace are clean and in good repair. You may be thinking that this is a job that you can do yourself. Well, truth be told, you probably can. But before you go into this task thinking it’s a piece of cake, think again! As a do-it-yourself job? It’s messy, labor intensive, and you’ll want special cleaning equipment and protective devices for yourself. Not to mention making sure your house stays clean. Also, if you’re afraid of heights, then you really want to rethink this.

Chimney Sweeping - Not a Do-It-Yourself Job - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepCall in the Professionals

When you want a job done right, you need to call the right people for the job. That means Pozzi Chimney Sweep. The expert technicians at Pozzi are Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified and know exactly what to look for when inspecting your chimney. They also know how to clean your chimney. This way you know that your family will be safe and sound through the long winter season.

Over years of fireplace use, your chimney can amass large quantities of creosote. 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. As they flow up your chimney, they can settle on the cooler interior of your chimney, resulting in a buildup called creosote. This substance is extremely flammable, so the real danger here is chimney fire. Creosote removal is a difficult task, and it’s important that the person who removes the creosote is knowledgeable about the process.

What to Look for in a Chimney Sweep

According to Angie’s List, there are certain questions you should ask before hiring a chimney sweep. How long has this company been in business? Can the chimney sweep company provide references from previous customers? And most importantly, are the sweeps CSIA certified?
It’s already been stated that the technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are CSIA certified, but how about the other questions? Pozzi Chimney Sweep has been in business for five years, and has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2012, 2013, and 2014. You can read the testimonials of many of their satisfied customers at the Pozzi Chimney Sweep website, and you can also give us a call or contact us online. We will be happy to provide you with references.

CSIA Certification

You may be asking yourself, how important it is to hire a chimney sweep that is CSIA certified? When you consider that it is the safety of your family and your home that you are thinking about, it doesn’t take long to realize one thing: You need a company that hires sweeps that have taken the time to secure extra training and certification. As Jeff Rossen from the Rossen Report concludes, “The best advice? Experts say: Look for companies with techs certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.”

So, if you’re looking for professional, knowledgeable service, the place to turn is Pozzi Chimney Sweep!

Prepare for Winter by Having Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned

Chimney Winter Sweeping Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi ChimneyWhen the weather starts to cool down and winter is just around the corner, many people start to think about preparing their homes for winter. It just feels so good to cozy down into a house that has been cleaned from top to bottom. But in the midst of your fall cleaning, don’t forget about your fireplace and chimney. This is a job that you shouldn’t tackle yourself – you’ll want to hire Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified technicians like those from Pozzi Chimney Sweep.

The Importance of Yearly Inspections

Over a year of usage, your chimney can undergo some serious wear and tear. Although some of this wear and tear might be obvious, your chimney might also have structural damage that isn’t visible to the untrained eye. If this is the case, you’ll want to have the latest in technology to let you know exactly what is going on with your chimney. Pozzi Chimney Sweep uses a Chim-Scan to help see what problems might exist that need repair before another fireplace season begins. This Chim-Scan video camera is attached to a rod that the sweep can insert into your chimney. The video can be seen in real time on the computer screen so that you can see the problems and have them explained to you by your chimney sweeping professional.

The more obvious problem you may be having with your chimney is something you can see: the dirt and grime that can build up. A big part of this build-up is creosote – the black, sticky substance that is a natural byproduct of burning wood in your fireplace. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, creosote build-up is the cause of most chimney and fireplace fires.

Get rid of chimney odors

You may have noticed that over the summer your fireplace may have developed an unpleasant odor. This smell is from the creosote build-up inside your chimney, and the odor can become stronger in the summer because of high humidity. Although, according to the CSIA website, there are ways that you can reduce this problem on your own, there are also ways that Pozzi Chimney Sweep can help you with a more permanent solution. “The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house.” Your home may need a tight-sealing, top mounted damper that would reduce the air flow that is coming down your chimney, and this is a problem that Pozzi Chimney Sweep can solve.

Clean Service

You love the feeling of a house that has been deep-cleaned in preparation for winter. Rest assured that Pozzi Chimney Sweep experts use state-of-the-art equipment that have special vacuums attached, so that your clean house will stay that way.

If you’re ready to have your chimney inspected and cleaned, make sure that you make a call to Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Their CSIA certified professionals will make sure that they take care of all your chimney cleaning and repair needs, so that your fireplace and chimney will be as ready for winter as the rest of your house!

Have Your Chimney Swept Now To Avoid A Chimney Fire Later

Haste Chimney Sweep Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepYour living room can be a haven of comfort and rest, especially if you are fortunate enough to own a home that has a fireplace. Coming in from a hard day’s work, deep down cold from the icy winter wind, there is nothing better than warming up in front of a crackling fire. The downside is this: where there is fire, there’s the danger of chimney fire. But don’t despair! There’s help out there, and if you live in the Aurora, Illinois area, the people to call are the experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweep.

Causes of Chimney Fires

There are several ways that fires can start in your chimney. Probably the most common cause of chimney fires is creosote build-up caused by a winter of building fires in your fireplace. According to Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), creosote can be black or brown, drippy and sticky or hardened and shiny, crusty and flaky – and all forms can exist in the same chimney. No matter what form it takes, one thing is for sure: creosote is highly combustible and can cause a dangerous chimney fire if left untended.

Another cause of chimney fires is blockage. It is a common occurrence for dried leaves, sticks and twigs, and other debris to blow down into your chimney, or even for wildlife such as birds or squirrels to build nests in your chimney. When you start a fire in your fireplace in the winter, sparks from the fire can escape up your chimney and catch in this blockage, causing a chimney fire to ignite.

Damage Isn’t Always Visible

Did you know that a chimney fire can occur without the homeowner being aware of it? According to the CSIA website, there are some tell-tale signs that only a qualified chimney sweep can recognize, such as ‘honey-combed’ creosote, a distorted or discolored chimney cap, or damaged roofing materials. If a chimney fire has occurred, it is vitally important that you have your chimney cleaned and checked for damages. Only by using a CSIA certified chimney sweep can you be assured that the damage will be assessed and repaired correctly and efficiently. The Chimneys.com website echoes this sentiment: “A qualified chimney sweep can diagnose and fix problems that the average person may not notice. Regularly engaging such services can mean the difference between comfortable living and disaster.”

Make Pozzi Your First Call For Chimney Sweeps

If you’re looking for a chimney service that uses the most current, up-to-the-minute cleaning techniques and technologies, then Pozzi Chimney Sweep is the chimney service for you. All of Pozzi’s technicians and sweeps are CSIA certified, and Pozzi Chimney Sweep is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Pozzi Chimney Sweeps also uses a “Chim-Scan” video camera. This allows not only the sweep, but also the homeowner, to see exactly what is happening in the chimney. This helps to reassure you, the homeowner, that only the work that needs to be done is being done.

Call Pozzi Chimney Sweep to set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected and cleaned today, before that snowy Illinois winter arrives.

Chimney Cleaning Logs Don’t Replace A Professional Chimney Sweeping

Trust the certified pros at Pozzi Chimney Sweep for complete peace of mind with your chimney and fireplace.

Trust the certified pros at Pozzi Chimney Sweep for complete peace of mind with your chimney and fireplace.

Chimney cleaning logs are not a bad product to use in your fireplace. They are made with certain chemicals inside of them that are then dispersed into your chimney as you enjoy your fire. This process is thought to help reduce the amount of creosote build-up in your chimney, as well tar and other materials. These substances are typically sticky and hard to clean, but the logs are known for turning them into more flaky and brittle substances making the cleaning process a lot easier. Some of these products are even CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) approved, ensuring that they will not damage your chimney.

Yet, many are deceived by the misleading name of these logs. While chimney cleaning logs can offer some assistance in terms of debris build-up, they should never replace a yearly cleaning done by a professional. Note the following precautions when using chimney cleaning logs in your fireplace.

– Chimney cleaning logs do not remove creosote: Although they can break down the sticky substance, the now flaky bits of creosote do not disappear. Rather, they disburse throughout different parts of your chimney, still making cleaning necessary. Also, remember that creosote is highly flammable so these flakes could cause hazards as they fall back into your fire.

– Chimney cleaning logs cannot advise: When it comes down to it, nothing can replace the insight offered by a CSIA certified professional. While the CSIA does not discourage the use of these logs, they maintain that a yearly cleaning is still necessary to ensure proper functioning throughout the fireplace. Professionals are trained to note any repairs that may be needed before burning season begins and can advise you on proper procedures to take when approaching chimney care.

– Chimney cleaning logs do not do the full job: There is a lot more to cleaning and inspecting a chimney than addressing creosote build-up. Many things can accumulate within a chimney throughout a year, such as animal nests or leaves. These need to be physically removed. These things, along with many other types of soot and debris that accumulates over time, should always be addressed by a professional who knows how to properly remove then clean them.

– Chimney cleaning logs cannot repair: Should any cracks or other issues start to occur in your fireplace, a professional will need to come in to address these. Often these can go unseen by the homeowner, which is why having that regular inspection is so important and why these logs are not a sufficient replacement for an actual cleaning. If repairs go unaddressed for too long, the overall costs involved with getting your chimney back into working order can be devastating.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep prides itself on being up-to-date with their CSIA certification and is happy to help with your chimney needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

3 Common Chimney Repairs

Look out for the three most common chimney repairs. Even if you think the repair needed is just minor, have it fixed so it won't create a bigger problem in the future.

Look out for the three most common chimney repairs. Even if you think the repair needed is just minor, have it fixed so it won’t create a bigger problem in the future.

Due to the nature of the materials used in their construction, chimney repairs are inevitable. Some repairs are more common than others, however, all repairs are important. Making minor repairs as soon as problems arise will help you prevent or at least postpone major chimney system repairs down the road.

Some parts of the system are exposed to the outside elements and are adversely affected by them, whereas other parts are exposed to the heat of your fires, which causes them to wear out. Either way you cut it, these parts will need to be repaired or replaced at one point or another.

Repointing

Your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside. As a result of this two-front attack, the weathering process is sped up. As such, it isn’t atypical for your mortar to begin to crumble and/or break away.

This leaves open areas between the bricks, which exposes more surface area to these weathering agents and processes. Repointing your chimney might be recommended. During this process, your chimney’s damaged, old and loose mortar is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar.

Chimney Crown Repair

Your chimney crown is a reinforced concrete cap placed over the top of your brick and mortar chimney. A properly constructed crown sheds water and serves as a protective covering for your chimney against harsh weather. Your chimney crown is exposed to the same elements that wreak havoc on your chimney itself.

As such, it can eventually crack or break and need to be replaced. The replacement will either be cast-in-place (a form is placed on the top of your chimney and filled with cement to the exact specifications required by your particular chimney) or precast (a prefabricated unit that is placed atop your chimney).

Flue Liner Repair/Replacement

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, problems in your chimney’s flue pose serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to safely contain and vent the harmful gases that are products of the combustion process to the outside of your home.

If your current liner was installed improperly or is beginning to crack, it is highly recommended that you have a licensed professional either repair it or install a new one altogether. It’s a critical component of your chimney system! Every functioning chimney needs a working flue liner.

Dealing with masonry repairs can be frustrating. Your chimney and fireplace play a large role in your home; when issues arise, we know you want them taken care of correctly, quickly and affordably.

The central theme here is clear: repairing minor problems in a timely manner will decrease the likelihood of them becoming major problems down the road. We encourage our customers to have annual chimney inspections and cleanings to help reduce the chances of chimney system surprises.

The expert technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are dedicated to making your system look and feel like new again. If your system is in need of repair, or you need a chimney inspection to determine the cause of a problem, call us today. We are ready to help!

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.

A Spring Checklist for Your Chimney

Give your chimney some much needed care. Don't forget to include you chimney in your spring home maintenance checklist.

Give your chimney some much needed care. Don’t forget to include you chimney in your spring home maintenance checklist.

Spring is finally here, and that means spring cleaning is on your mind. It’s time to rid your home from that dusty, winter air, and your fireplace and your chimney should not be left out. After using your fireplace all winter to warm your home from the chilling winter air, spring is the best time to schedule your annual chimney sweep and chimney inspection, and Pozzi Chimney Sweep is ready to take on your spring checklist for your chimney because you only have one step to check off: contact us today to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning.

When Pozzi Chimney Sweep arrives at your home for your chimney sweep and inspection, we have a spring checklist for your chimney that we follow in our modern chimney sweep with state-of-the-art tools:

  • Clean the chimney with powerful tools. We use a long-handled chimney brush and rotary cleaning rods, all powered by a cordless drill and equipped with vacuums to keep your house free from any debris or dust.
  • Video the entire cleaning process. With a “Chim-Scan” video camera attached to a rod, we can video and take still images up close of your chimney, allowing us to find problems like cracks in the mortar, creosote buildup, or broken tile. You can also see for yourself exactly what your chimney interior looks like, so you know for certain when we tell you that you have a problem.
  • Decide if your chimney needs maintenance. After cleaning and inspecting your chimney and watching the footage from the “Chim-Scan,” we then evaluate whether your chimney needs any repairs.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America lists three obvious signs that your chimney is in need of maintenance sooner than later:

  1. A strong odor. Your fireplace should not put off any smell at all, so if it does smell smoky, this means you may be having problems with your damper or issues with air ventilation.
  2. A stained-black or discolored fireplace opening. This is an obvious sign smoke is escaping through your fireplace. You need to have your venting replaced immediately before using your fireplace again.
  3. Loose bricks or cracks in the mortar. This means water is getting into your chimney and causing structural damage, leading to all kinds of nightmares. This also should be repaired immediately, as in tomorrow.

There are other things you as a homeowner can look for to see if your chimney needs repairing, so add these to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s signs:

  • a dripping noise coming from your chimney
  • soot on your furniture or smoke in your home
  • a campfire smell coming from your chimney
  • a dead animal smell coming from your chimney
  • a powdery white substance on the bricks and mortar on the exterior of your chimney, indicating water damage.

With proper chimney maintenance, you can enjoy your fireplace inexpensively for years. The importance of an annual chimney sweeping and inspection is stressed highly by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Ignoring this step on your spring cleaning list can be dangerous. Schedule an appointment today with Pozzi Chimney Sweep, and let us handle all of your chimney maintenance this spring.