Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

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.

Summertime Fireplace Maintenance Tips

Summertime Fireplace Maintenance Tips

Summertime is a great time to do deep-down house and yard cleaning. Gardening, cleaning windows, outdoor paint touch-ups – this is the time to get your house, yard, and outbuildings in tip-top shape. One area that Summer Tips for Fireplace Maintenance - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep-w800-h800you don’t want to overlook is your fireplace and chimney inspection, cleaning, and maintenance. After a long winter of using your fireplace, a thorough cleaning is exactly what is needed to ensure that you can continue to use your fireplace safely.

As you use your fireplace, the chimney is used to expel the byproducts produced by burning wood. According to Chimney Safety Institute of America, over time these byproducts, which include water, gasses, tar fog, and hydrocarbons, can build up in your chimney, causing a layer of creosote to coat the interior. This can lead to a dangerous blockage of your chimney. If this blockage is left unchecked, the toxic gasses that form will be forced back into your home, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up. This build-up is also highly combustible, which means that you could be facing a fire in your chimney.

Summertime Maintenance

There are several things that you can do to insure that your fireplace is safe and ready to go for wintertime use. Make sure that you have a store of dry, seasoned wood to burn in your fireplace. Summertime is a great time to renew your supply of firewood so that you’ll be ready for the cool fall days that follow.
Take time in the summer to make sure that your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Also, make sure that you continue to do monthly checks on your smoke detectors throughout the summer, and change batteries as necessary.

Most importantly, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your fireplace inspected and cleaned at least once a year. It is especially important that the chimney professionals you hire for this be CSIA certified, such as those at Pozzi
Chimney Sweeps.

There are three levels of chimney inspections that can take place, ranging from a cursory inspection to actual demolition of your chimney in order to get inside a chimney wall to check clearances. Your chimney service technician will be able tell you what level of inspection you need.

After having your chimney inspected and cleaned, ask your professional technician to cap your chimney to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from landing in your chimney. These items can also build up, causing fires or blockages.

Chimney Maintenance and Care

The Family Handyman states that “[Y]ou could try to remove creosote yourself, but for a thorough job, call a chimney sweep who’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Make sure the sweep you hire does more than just push a brush.” The professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweeps are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and are proud members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, and the Better Business Bureau. They are highly qualified to meet all your chimney needs.

Three Levels of Chimney Inspection

Level 1

If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance. In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible** portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. Your technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep for Annual Inspection - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep for Annual Inspection – Pozzi Chimney Sweep

 Level 2

Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted. A Level 2 inspection is a more in-depth inspection than a Level 1 inspection.– When a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.

There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.

Level 3

A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3  inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.

* Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish. 

 ** Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings.