How to Plan for Chimney Safety During COVID-19

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will continue to be an ongoing health issue for some time to come. Yet life continues, fireplace-related issues included. With restrictions on how and when service professionals can work in homes and businesses, it’s important to make chimney and fireplace safety plans both while stay-at-home orders persist, and after reopening is complete. Read on to learn how you can be proactive about fireplace safety in your home.

Inspect your Fireplace and Chimney

Fireplace safety requires yearly on-site inspections. Animals can take up residence inside of a chimney, structural materials can break down or shift into hazardous positions, and creosote buildup can result in an uncontrollable fire that goes unnoticed until it spreads through your home. It’s important to take the time to inspect your fireplace and chimney. If the system hasn’t been inspected in the last year, wait to use it until seeking guidance from a professional.

Call an Expert for Assistance

In California, officials have agreed to permit some limited home and business service emergency calls. The best course of action is to contact a qualified professional for guidance related to chimney and fireplace safety inspections, cleaning, and upkeep as soon as you detect a problem.

Remote advice and instruction are available for many common fireplace safety issues. If you’re dealing with animals or nesting insects, please don’t try to smoke them out. Call your local Wildlife Control for help.

Create a Checklist for Future On-Site Appointments

Professional fireplace and chimney services require a technician to work within a confined space. Before you schedule an appointment, confirm that the company has a solid plan in place for limiting the risk of coronavirus.

Anyone visiting your home should perform a virus symptoms review prior to arrival, and wear appropriate protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask. During the appointment, the CDC recommends maintaining a personal distance of at least six feet

We go the Extra Mile

The Irish Sweep goes the extra mile to protect customers from risks related to common fireplace and chimney issues. We’re also taking additional health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on the steps we’re taking to prepare for future on-site appointments, contact us at (510) 521-4088.

Dryer Vents Cleaning – What is C-DET?

If you’ve ever had your dryer vents professionally cleaned, you’ve most likely come across the phrase “C-DET certified.” In this guide, we explore the relationship between C-DET and dryer vents cleaning and explain exactly what C-DET means.

What is C-DET?

C-DET is the only nationally recognized certification for dryer vent cleaning. A C-DET, or Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, is certified by the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America). So, a C-DET is a specially trained technician that is qualified to recognize safety issues and potential problems with your dryer. C-DET and dryer vent cleaning are essential to ensure dryers in your home operate safely. Otherwise, your dryer poses a risk for house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

What Does a C-DET do?

C-DETs do a lot more than simply cleaning out a dryer vent – they have other responsibilities too, such as checking the dyer system and making sure it’s in compliance with all relevant codes and regulations. A C-DET takes into account the age of your dryer, and how frequently it’s used. This information helps to eliminate possible safety hazards.

Why Use a C-DET?

If you choose to hire a technician without a C-DET certification, you could be trusting your dryer vent cleaning and analysis service to someone who is unqualified and inexperienced. When you work with a C-DET, you can have complete confidence that you hired someone with an expansive knowledge of dryers, as well as all the relevant codes and regulations. To become a CSIA C-DET, you must pass an extensive exam that covers everything from dryer maintenance to codes and regulations.

Why is C-DET Dryer Vents Cleaning Important?

• Improve the efficiency of your dryer

A clean dryer vent keeps your dryer functioning properly. When it’s clogged, it causes your appliance to work overtime. Clothes stay damp for longer, and your dryer deteriorates at a much faster rate than usual.

• Fire Safety

If your dryer is taking longer than usual to dry clothes, it may be running at a higher temperature. This can cause the heating element of your dryer to burn out. Not to mention this is one of the most common causes of house fires! Regular dryer maintenance by a C-DET ensures your dryer runs at a safe temperature.

C-DET and Dryer Vents Cleaning for You

Our mission is to educate and bring awareness to our customers regarding home safety. Maintain the optimum performance of your dryer, and secure your peace of mind, with a professional C-DET dryer vent cleaning from The Irish Sweep. Give us a call at (510) 521-4088.

The Importance of Chimney Sweeping Early in 2020

As a homeowner, it’s important to regularly schedule a chimney sweeping appointment to prevent fires. If you use your fireplace regularly, soot and creosote collect on the walls of your chimney. This is dangerous and can also reduce the efficiency of your fireplace.

Luckily, all of this can be avoided by having your chimney cleaned before the colder months arrive, and 2020 is no exception. It’s always best to hire a professional chimney sweep before the rainy weather sets in.

Here’s why hiring a chimney sweeping service is essential for every homeowner…

This Isn’t a Job to Handle by Yourself

Not only is it messy work, but in order to ensure that your chimney is really clean, it’s essential to hire a professional to get the job done right. Most homeowners don’t have the proper equipment or the expertise that’s needed to thoroughly clean their own chimney.

Chimney Fires are Extremely Common

It’s estimated that each year 70,000 house fires are caused by the buildup of soot inside chimneys. In fact, research indicates that as many as 30% of all home fires are caused by chimney soot buildup. Furthermore, these fires can cause costly damage to homes. In fact, chimney-related fires cause an estimated $1.3 billion in damage every year.

The Efficiency of Your Fireplace Will Increase

Creosote and soot buildup reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the fire in your fireplace, causing it to burn at a lower temperature. There can be a substantial difference in heating efficiency after your chimney is cleaned.

Buildup Can Become Costly

In some cases, dust, soot, and debris can build up in your chimney to the point where the walls become damaged. Left long enough, it may require costly repairs to restore your chimney.

It Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide in your home can be deadly, and having a chimney that’s partially clogged can increase this risk. Furthermore, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often go unnoticed. But fortunately, having your chimney cleaned can greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to this silent killer.

Chimney Sweeping With Us

At The Irish Sweep, we’re here to help with any masonry repairs, fireplace insert installation, chimney cleaning, and/or dryer vent cleaning. We offer our services to Bay Area customers to ensure their health and safety. Schedule an appointment online, or contact us at (510) 521-4088.

Fireplace Inserts and Maintenance Tips During the Shelter-in-Place

There’s nothing cozier than a wood-burning fireplace for warmth. But fireplace maintenance is vital to the health and safety of your home. In fact, improper upkeep is a common reason for house fires. Fireplace inserts are one solution to help safeguard your home, but here’s a look at some other steps you can take.

Sweep the Interior

Sweeping out your fireplace on a regular basis will make it look tidier, as well as cause it to work more efficiently. We suggest wearing a dust mask to avoid inhaling particles from ash and creosote. Sweeping out this buildup also helps to prevent it from catching on fire.

Watch For Smoke

A well-maintained fireplace shouldn’t fill your home with smoke. This is an important warning sign to pay attention to. It’s possible you could simply be burning the wrong wood. But it’s also very likely there’s a layer of soot or flammable creosote in your chimney that isn’t allowing it to properly vent smoke.

Burning the Right Wood

There are as many different kinds of wood as there are trees, but maybe you’ve never considered what you’re putting in your fireplace before. Hardwoods, such as ash and oak, are the best options because they’re denser and give off more heat. Avoid burning unseasoned “green” wood. Ideally, wood needs to be split and dried for 6-12 months in a covered area before use. Green wood just won’t burn as well, and it creates more creosote on your chimney walls.

Fireplace Inserts

Fireplace inserts can be installed with heat-proof glass to contain any burning materials, like stray embers. Most of them have a blower that circulates heat into the room. Fireplace inserts protect your home, while making your fireplace more efficient.

Scheduling With Us

Aside from DIY sweepings, it’s a good idea to have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned and inspected at least once a year. It’s less work to maintain your home than to let creosote buildup. Plus, it’s nice to know your fireplace is ready on cold nights. To schedule a chimney cleaning with us, or learn more about fireplace inserts, call (510) 521-4088.

The Danger of Skipping Your Dryer Vent Cleaning

Your dryer is probably not something you ever think about as long as it’s working properly. But dryer vent cleaning is a critical aspect of home maintenance. Read on to learn more about the danger of skipping this annual appointment.

What is a Dryer Vent?

We all know it’s important to clean the lint trap in the dryer door, but there’s a vent connector that leads to an outside vent and it also gets full of clothing fuzz. The problem with this is that heat escapes from your dryer.  Dryer sheets exacerbate the issue because they leave sticky debris.

House Fires

When dryer vents become clogged with debris and lint, it restricts the airflow, and exhaust gases become trapped. Your dryer then has to work harder to create heat. Not only is this a nuisance because clothes stay damp, but it causes thousands of house fires each year.

Vent blockages can also force the deadly gas carbon monoxide to backup. This is especially dangerous because it’s odorless.

Pesky Invaders

A pest invasion isn’t as dramatic as a house fire, but too much lint can prevent your exterior dryer duct’s hood flap from closing all the way. This creates an entry point for birds or rodents looking for warmth and shelter. Cleaning your dryer vent will help keep your home free of critters. You can also consider installing a pest guard.

Your Energy Bill

A dryer that’s burdened with lint simply won’t function as well, which means higher monthly energy costs for you. It might not seem like much, but those extra dollars can add up over time.

Scheduling Your Dryer Vent Cleaning

The Irish Sweep has been in business since 1979. Our top priority remains safety, and we tailor services with our client’s best interest at heart. We hope you found this article informative. To schedule your dryer cleaning appointment today, give us a call at (510) 521-4088.

How Long Does a Chimney Sweep Take?

If you’re ready to have your chimney cleaned, you might wonder what to expect and how long the process will take. The short answer is that a chimney sweep typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Technicians spend some time setting up equipment, like laying drop cloths to protect your living space from soot and chimney debris. There’s also packing up at the end to thoroughly clean up all resulting debris. Because of this, the total service time may exceed an hour. Although, you shouldn’t need to schedule more than two hours for your entire service, from start to finish.

Here’s a more thorough look at what to expect…

CAP OR NO CAP

The total time expenditure of your chimney service will depend on a few outside factors. We recommend your chimney has a cap that covers the opening. This prevents outside debris from coming in. It also keeps animals from making homes or becoming trapped inside. So, if your chimney has a cap, the chimney sweep process will likely take less time. Chimneys without a cap may have extra debris that needs to be removed.

BUILDUP

Another factor impacting the amount of time a chimney service takes is buildup. Creosote is a tar buildup present in the chimney. Because it’s a byproduct of wood burning, some residue is left inside the chimney after every fire. Over time, it creates a thick layer of black tar. Since creosote is flammable, it’s important to have this buildup removed periodically by a chimney technician.

This is one of the reasons why a regular chimney sweep service is so important. If it’s been a while since the chimney was cleaned, there will be more creosote and the service might take longer. Generally, chimneys that are regularly serviced can be swept more quickly.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A CHIMNEY SWEEP

Your chimney sweep technician will likely clean your chimney with a long wire brush that looks something like a large bottlebrush. The bristles of the brush sweep debris from inside the chimney and down the flue, cleaning the inside surface area. Accumulated debris gather in the fireplace area to be removed.

CHIMNEY SWEEP SERVICES

Regular chimney cleaning is an important safety measure, a central part of home maintenance, and can be done quickly and cleanly. Now that you know what to expect, contact a representative at The Irish Sweep to set up your chimney cleaning service today. Contact our office at (510) 521-4088.