Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

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!

Maintain Safe Clearances Around Your Fireplace

Fireplaces are desired by many homeowners. The warm, classic feel they add to a room makes them a favorite feature in any household. Yet, with a fireplace comes a lot of responsibility and maintenance. It is important to follow all of the codes and rules associated with owning a fireplace to ensure that your home and family remain as safe as possible.Maintain Safe Clearances Around Your Fireplace - Aurora IL- Pozzi Chimney Sweep
One thing people should be educated on is clearances. There are many regulations as to maintaining correct clearances around a fireplace. These codes are established to keep homeowners and their families free from harm, while allowing them to enjoy their fireplace to its fullest potential. If followed appropriately, these rules should reduce the risk of fires in the home, minimizing the threat of injury and decreasing the number of lives lost.

 

Clearance Codes

So, what are the clearance codes? There is a lot of information for homeowners to be educated on when it comes to fireplace maintenance. Between proper cleaning procedures, fire-starting techniques, and overall knowledge of all of the parts of a chimney, there is a lot to learn before starting fires on a regular basis. Here are some basic things to remember when it comes to maintaining correct clearances.

  • Anything combustible must be at least six inches from the opening of the fireplace. If you have a wood mantel or wood trim, for example, this must maintain an appropriate distance. For every 1/8 inch that sticks out, add one inch of necessary clearance.

 

  • The space in between the mantel or trim and the fireplace should not be filled with anything, so keep an eye out as far as decorations. Mantels are often used to showcase many things, but keeping flammable substances away is very important in following regulations and keeping your home safe. Keep this in mind when picking out your home décor.

 

  • Carefully read the safety instructions that come with your fireplace’s installation directions. Follow the directions exactly as they specify to your fireplace, and call the manufacturer if you have any questions. Every fireplace is different, so reading up the safety measures that specifically accompany yours is important.

 

  • Hire an expert. Your best option is to hire an expert who is trained in properly installing fireplaces and who knows all of the codes associated with the process. On top of this, an expert can help educate you on any future measures you hope to take with your fireplace. You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of your family, so get a professional in to make sure everything is in proper condition before being put to use.

At Pozzi Chimney Sweep we have all the tools you need to ensure that your fireplace is up-to-code and safe for regular use. Our certified experts are ready to help with any installations, cleanings, or repairs. Give us a call at 815-286-9922 today!

Valor Gas Units

Many people today are choosing to put gas fireplaces in their home, gaining the cozy atmosphere often associated with a fireplace, without the hassle of maintaining and building a fire. Today’s gas inserts look and feel like a real fire, but require much less of a commitment. There are no logs, no smoky smells, and no need to constantly tend to a fire. Many families simply do not have the time to maintain a wood fireplace, making the gas option a perfect fit.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep recognizes the importance of providing safe, affordable, and easy to maintain products and is working with Valor to offer you the best gas fireplace for your home and needs. Valor has been in business since 1890 and strives to design modern products that will help your home run as efficiently as possible [valorfireplaces.com].

Valor History

The products Valor has produced throughout its history are ones meant to provide a more efficient way of heating one’s home. Through extensive research and by bringing awareness as to what their products can offer, Valor made a name for themselves and quickly became a leader in their industry. They then worked on producing various styles and designs to provide products that not only function well, but look great in one’s home. Today, they are still selling modern and efficient gas fireplaces that make a perfect addition to anyone’s home.

Valor Styles Valor Gas Units - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweeps

Whether you are looking for a zero clearance fireplace, a gas insert for a pre-existing fireplace, or something freestanding, Pozzi Chimney Sweep and Valor have various options for you. Finding the right product for your lifestyle is important. There are many different styles offered for each type of gas unit, so you can rest assured knowing you will not only purchase a product that runs well, but looks good in your home.

Valor Safety

When purchasing a fireplace, safety is the biggest issue to consider, especially in a home with small children. Valor’s products are designed with safety in mind. Each unit contains protective screens for your fireplace that help prevent unwanted contact with the glass surface, while it is still hot. Valor also offers a variety of accessories that will help in maintaining fire safety.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep Guarantee

Pozzi Chimney Sweep can guide you in purchasing the right Valor product for your home. Call us today to set up an appointment to find what works best for you. We offer advice and guidance to ensure that you are purchasing the right unit.

To keep up with fireplace safety, be sure to schedule a yearly cleaning and inspection for your fireplace to avoid any build-up of hazardous materials. Making sure your gas unit is running efficiently will offer peace of mind and will allow you the ability to relax with your family and enjoy the comfort of a low-maintenance fireplace throughout the cold months.

Use and Disposal of Fireplace Ash

A common inquiry for those with a fireplace is what should be done with the ashes? If they are not properly disposed of it will not only be damaging to your fireplace, but can also be a safety hazard. Depending on the nature of your fire (what was burned, for how long, etc.), ash has the potential to stay hot for days, which could lead to fires occurring wherever the ash was disposed.

Leaving Ash in the Fireplace

While leaving some ash in the fireplace is often beneficial in building new fires, this should only be done in regulated quantities. A small layer of ash will cause no major issues throughout the burning season and helps maintain the longevity of the new fire that was built. Yet, a build-up of ash will be harmful. If the ash is high enough that it makes contact with the grate, the grate will suffer and need to be replaced earlier than usual. Also, once you have reached the end of your burning season, all of the ash should be cleaned out, as moisture is attracted to ash and is known for causing major damage to one’s fireplace and brickwork. Despite the type of fireplace you have, the acid in the ashes combined with this added moisture will always have damaging effects.

Disposing of AshAsh Disposal Pozzi Chimney Sweep Aurora IL

When the time comes to dispose of the ash, it is recommended to wait until the ash is completely cooled, which may take days. Once the ash is cooled, use a metal container to transport it out of the fireplace. The use of metal is important, as is keeping this container away from any flammable objects. Wetting down the ashes is another safe tip for reducing potential fires.

Other Uses of Ash

  1. Gardening – By placing ash in the garden, many plants can be given more opportunity to thrive. If adding compost to the soil, putting limited amounts of ash into it beforehand is known to enrich it. Also, for plants that are known for soaking up calcium, some recommend adding a quarter of a cup of ash to each plant while putting them into the ground in hopes of keeping them healthier.
  2.  Outside Uses – If you have a pond near your garden, ash will help aquatic plants grow stronger, thus fighting off unwanted algae. Also, placing ash around your gardens and outside plants will help to repel snails and slugs, which are known for causing harm to many plants.
  3.  Cleaning – If your fireplace doors are dirty and building up residue, ash works as a great cleaner. By dampening a sponge, adding ash, and scrubbing away, you are given an easy and affordable cleaning technique. Ash can also be used in making soap. Lye is often combined with animal fat then boiled into soap. Lye can be created by soaking old ashes with water, offering the groundwork for homemade cleaning products.

There are many techniques and uses involved when disposing of ash, but the main thing to remember is to be safe when going through these processes. By following proper procedures and finding out-of-the-box uses for ash, you can enjoy your fireplace to its fullest, while maintaining other areas of your home, as well.

Fireplace Safety for Children and Pets

Keep your pets and children safe from the fireplace this Fall and Winter

Keep your pets and children safe from the fireplace this Fall and Winter

Now that fall is in full swing, many homeowners are starting to think about heating their homes during the upcoming cold weather. For those using fireplaces this season, it is time to have the chimneys cleaned and inspected and to stock up on firewood. However, families with children and pets have special concerns around this time of year when burning fires in their fireplaces and wood stoves. Accidents can happen and plenty of families have horror stories from mishaps involving the fireplace or hearth. To avoid creating a story of your own, you can take a few simple measures and keep your beloved children and pets safe this fall and winter.

Many accidents involving the fireplace happen in conjunction with the sharp, hard edges of the brick or stone hearth. These pointy, rough corners are bumps and bruises just waiting to happen. To prevent ouchies and permanent scars from accidental falls, you can purchase and install a product known as hearth padding. This fire-resistant foam lines the sharp edges of the hearth, so in the case of a stumble around the fireplace, your child is less likely to suffer any serious injuries. While not the most attractive feature of the fireplace, the price is well worth ensuring your child’s safety.

Other incidents that affect both children and pets often involve accidental burns. To remedy these risks, you have a few different options. One measure you can take is installing glass doors in front of your fireplace. This addition keeps curious fingers, paws and noses from making direct contact with the dangerous flames. Although the glass does heat up to high temperatures itself, which can also cause minor burns, it protects clothing and fur from catching on fire. It also discourages children from tossing inappropriate items into the fire, such as toys, electronics, or flammable materials.

To avoid the minor burns associated with the hot glass doors, you can also have a grate installed in front of the fireplace. Some homeowners worry the grates might make the fireplace look tacky, but there are actually a wide variety of stylish options available to make the grate a sophisticated addition to the space.

Finally, the most effective way to keep your children and pets safe is to keep a watchful, loving eye on them while burning a fire. Keeping tabs on where your kids, dogs and cats are can greatly reduce the risk of accidental burns or even misplaced fires.

If you need to child- and pet-proof your fireplace, contact an expert to discuss your options. The safety of your family depends on it. If you live near Hinckley or Aurora, Illinois, get in touch with Pozzi Chimney Sweep for a professional consultation.

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.

Dryer Vent Safety

Many homeowners don’t pay as much attention to their dryer vent’s maintenance thinking that it doesn’t pose a threat to their family’s safety. Well, this infographic will enlighten you of the dangers of dirty dryer vents and how you can prevent it.

It's easy to overlook your dryer vents, thinking it doesn't pose a threat to your safety. But now you know that it can, in fact, cause serious destruction and harm. Don't neglect it.

It’s easy to overlook your dryer vents, thinking it doesn’t pose a threat to your safety. But now you know that it can, in fact, cause serious destruction and harm. Don’t neglect it.

Relining Your Chimney

The winter season is approaching us faster than most can believe, and with that comes and increase in people using fireplaces in their homes.  This means that now is the best time if you have not already to schedule your routine chimney maintenance.  Pozzi Chimney Sweep’s professionals are ready to take care of all your needs for the season, including the yearly chimney sweep.  One of the things they will check is your chimney’s lining.

The flue liner protects the exterior masonry from heat damage. Over the life of your home, it may have to be relined.

The flue liner protects the exterior masonry from heat damage. Over the life of your home, it may have to be relined.

So, your main question is probably why do you need a chimney liner?  Chimney liners were not deemed necessary until the 1980s when the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) tested masonry chimneys for questions about performance and safety.  They are important in preventing anything that may be combustible inside of your chimney from catching fire.  Unlined chimneys have the tendency to heat up quickly that nearby woodwork can catch fire in less than fur hours.  Also, a chimney liner will protect your masonry and lengthen the overall life of your chimney.  They will help keep acidic flue gases from entering brick and mortar and ruining the durability of the overall chimney structure.  When this happens heat transfers to combustible particles and creates an environment good for Carbon Monoxide, which can be extremely harmful to your health.  Lastly, chimney liners help create the correct sized flue so the unit can function better.  A liner that is not the correct size however can lead to extra creosote buildup.

There are two types of liners; clay tile liners and metal chimney liners.  Masonry chimneys are usually lined with clay tiles, which are great because they are inexpensive.  The downside to this type of liner is that sometimes they do not distribute the heat evenly and as the uneven tiles heat they can expand, causing flue tiles to expand, crack, and break.  If your chimney’s liner is cracked you must repair it before continuing to use it.  Metal liners can generally withstand more heat and corrosion, often times brought on by gas or oil vents.  If you suspect that there is a problem with the lining in your chimney, always call the professionals, because what looks like a small problem can easily turn into trouble.