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!

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!

Eliminating Smoky Smells

There are countless advantages to owning a wood-burning fireplace. It offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, while creating a classic, timeless look for your home. On top of that, the maintenance involved can often be a fun hobby for those who have the time to dedicate to it. It helps you stay active and keeps your brain focused and stimulated, thus improving overall health.

Yet, all of those benefits start to fade when you smell that persistent smoky odor that tends to occur in more humid or rainy weather. Educating yourself on the cause of this odor and studying up on how to eliminate it will not only leave your home smelling great again, but will offer you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your fireplace to the fullest.Eliminating Smoky Smells - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

What Causes These Smells?

The outside air pressure causes a downdraft, which is why this smell occurs. The warm air from the house rises out of the chimney, then the cool air outside replaces it. As the air works its way through the chimney and into your home, it passes by all of the dirt and creosote in your fireplace and invites their fumes along with it.

Since the downdraft causes these issues, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble when you go to light a fire. Rather than smoke escaping up the chimney, the cold air outside will swoop down and push all of that smoke into your home. Now you are not just dealing with the smell, but the actual smoke itself. This can cause damage to your walls and is very hard to get out of furniture and other belongings.

What To Do

There are things you can do to eliminate this problem from your life, allowing you the ability to relax and enjoy your fireplace. Follow some of these guidelines:

  • Turn Off Fans: If you normally run fans or other appliances that push air around the house, turning these off will help to eliminate foul odors from the chimney. These devices help to push the air out, which then means the air from outside will come in to take its place.
  • Check Chimney Height: Make sure that your chimney height is meeting the regulations set in place for your area of residence. Adding some length to your chimney can help reduce the smell of odors, as it prevents the outside air from entering in as frequently. A professional will be happy to check up on this for you, as well as get you set up for adding that additional chimney height.
  • Adjust The Damper: By ensuring that the damper is fully shut and locked down tightly, you can help reduce the air flow entering from the outside. The worse the weather is, the stronger downdraft you will get, so any little bit helps. When it is really blowing, close the damper for added protection from smoky smells.
  • Add Some Heat: Before starting any fire, heat up your chimney area with something smaller. Hold a candle or some lit, rolled newspapers in your fireplace to start getting those drafts reversed. Soon, you will be able to light a fire without having to deal with smoke entering your home.

Air Quality Issues

Sure, you might enjoy the smell of a wood fire on a crisp fall evening—but that’s not a smell you should be experiencing inside your home from your fireplace. In fact, smelling smoke means not only that your chimney isn’t doing its job, but also that the air inside your home is being polluted and is hazardous to your health. We all spend a lot of time in our homes, and want to do what we can to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air. Let’s take a look at how we can eliminate your chimney from contributing to bad air.

If draft isn't happening properly, some air that should go up the chimney is coming into your home. This can cause breathing difficulties.

If draft isn’t happening properly, some air that should go up the chimney is coming into your home. This can cause breathing difficulties.

Smoke pollution, also called spillage, is when air gets pulled down through the chimney, instead of allowing the smoke to exit up. This pushes the smoke into the home. Even in small amounts, this can be dangerous. Elderly or children are especially susceptible to this kind of pollution—it can cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues, lung cancer, and can damage lung tissue.

There are a number of things that can cause spillage. An average fire consumes all the air that can fit into a 1200 square-foot space three times within 24 hours of operation. If your home isn’t properly ventilated, that fire is going to get the air from somewhere. There can also be issues with your flue size or the position of the fire grate. A smoke guards or exhaust fan is often a practical and effective solution to this problem.

Mold spores are another, more invisible foe, and your chimneys can often be the culprit. If there is moisture trapped inside the chimney it’s the perfect place for mold to grow—dark, damp and warm. It’s also responsible for a number of health problems, like sinus and respiratory problems, coughing, headaches, and eye and throat irritation. Having a chimney cap installed and waterproofing your chimney will rid it of moisture and help keep your air cleaner.

As you can see, keeping up with the regular maintenance of your chimney is a vital part of being a homeowner. Be sure to schedule an annual inspection and cleaning, so your chimney sweep can keep you one step ahead.

Why Does My Fireplace Stink?

Everyone wants their home to be appealing to their visitors.  Many have the living room as a common gathering place, and during the holidays the fireplace is a symbol of the warm feeling in the home.  However, you may notice a foul smell coming from your fireplace. A certified sweep can help you identify the cause of the smell and help craft a solution. Your annual cleaning and inspection gives the sweep critical information to assist in making your living room pleasant again.

Enjoy your fireplace odor-free! Call a certified sweep today to make sure you don't have a dangerous build up of creosote.

Enjoy your fireplace odor-free! Call a certified sweep today to make sure you don’t have a dangerous build up of creosote.

Smells in fireplaces are formed from creosote deposits in the chimney.  These odors are usually worse in the summer when the humidity rises, when it begins to rain, or when the air conditioner is running in the home.  While a chimney sweep will help reduce some of the built up odors, it will not eliminate them.  Creosotes will absorb into the construction of your chimney, going beyond the surface.  The chimney sweep is designed more to remove buildup that can cause fires.

The problem with smells is the amount of air and pressure sending the air through the chimney, flushing the various odors down as well.  There are many reasons for pressure change, some caused by problems with old parts such as damper closure and exhaust vents.  New equipment, such as a new furnace or water heater, or new windows, being added can also change airflow.

There are ways to fix the negative air being brought in by your chimney, and most are simple steps.  If one method does not work, it is recommended that you try more than one way to remove the smell.  The first thing to do is to close your fire damper when it is not in use.  This usually stops all problems, unless there is a problem with the seal.  Also, some people have a glass screen installed so that the air cannot pass through.  Also, you can change the airflow in the other appliances that are helping create the negative air.

Ask your sweep to confirm at your cleaning and inspection that there are no critters or birds that have taken up residence in your chimney. Chimney Swifts are a federally protected bird and cannot just be removed. The sweep will help you narrow down the probable cause of the smell. The sweep will also be able to help you make decisions about a chimney cap that can help keep curious animals and birds out of your chimney.

Cleaning Your Wood Stove

Cleaning your Wood Stove

Recently in the United States there has been a surge of wood stoves being installed in homes as an alternative to traditional heating methods. While these rustic heating appliances have an aesthetic appeal they also have economic advantages. Having a wood burning stove greatly reduces the heating costs associated with central heat and air. As with any fireplace however, wood stoves do require a certain amount of upkeep to maintain a safe and energy efficient system. One absolute necessity is scheduling an annual chimney inspection.

The first step to cleaning a wood burning stove is to locate the stove’s catalytic combustor between the fire and the stovepipes. The catalytic combustor acts similarly to a filter. Heat activates the catalyst on the grid that the smoke passes through and converts the ash, particulates, and gases to carbon dioxide and water vapor which harmlessly escapes through the chimney and into the atmosphere. To clean the catalytic combustor you need to use a wire brush to remove any ash that has collected on and inside the combustor. This should be done every 2 months or so.

Did you know you can use cooled ash in your compost pile or garden?

Did you know you can use cooled ash in your compost pile or garden?

Next remove the ashes from the stove using a fireplace shovel or similar tool. These ashes should be kept in an air-tight non-combustible container until they have cooled. Once this has happened they can be disposed of or used in gardens or in compost piles. If you decide to use the ashes in the garden it pays to do a soil test first. The main result of using wood ash in the garden is to raise the pH of the soil. If your soil is has a pH of 7 or higher then you should not use the wood ash. Also be aware of the plants you have and if they thrive in high-acidic soil. Examples of these plants would include potatoes and blueberries.

The next step to cleaning your wood stove is to remove any debris from the outside of the stovepipe. Use a wire brush to scrape the outside and clean all the creosote out of the inside. Creosote is flammable and can cause serious problems if left in your stovepipe. You can identify creosote as a yellowish oily compound. If you can’t identify it by sight you should be able to identify the bad smell. Creosote is created when gases in the stovepipe cool and turn to liquid. Make sure to shovel out any debris that may have fallen while you were cleaning the stovepipe. Always double check your work to make sure all the ash and creosote have been removed.

The last step is to clean the window. This is usually done with fine steel wool. If you chose to use a chemical based cleaning product be sure to let it dry completely before use as it can be a fire hazard and can cause dirt and soot to cake onto the window defeating the purpose of cleaning it in the first place. Of course if all of this seems like more work than you care to take on you can always call your local chimney sweep!