The winter rains can cause a lot of damage and destruction. While your fireplace can keep you warm, it is also subject to harm during the cold season. An annual chimney inspection may uncover hidden water damage from these rains or obvious masonry repairs maybe noticeable. The summertime is an ideal time to make such fixes while the weather is good.

Chimney Inspection

When we have a winter like the one we had with record rainfall, a chimney inspection is even more critical than ever. Add to this is the recent earthquakes. These combine to create a combination of scenarios where cracks may lead or have lead to water damage. Along with this, long winters also lead to higher use of chimneys which cause higher levels o buildup of creosote. This is your fireplaces enemy and can lead to safety hazards and corrosion.

Thus, the first thing you should do after a winter with high rain and cold spells is to schedule a chimney inspection before a new winter. This is a lot easier to do over the summer so you don’t have to try to schedule it in the middle of a cold spell. In addition, if repairs are needed, the rain won’t slow down the repair service.

Chimney Repairs

As we discussed, a harsh winter makes chimney inspections even more important to identify chimney damage. Just like with most repairs, time can make the condition worse. Thus, it is imperative that you start repairs as soon as possible.

Since we are approaching Fall, the timing for repairs has become even more critical. It is a huge safety risk to have a damaged chimney or fireplace. Should you start a fire and your chimney is damaged, it could lead to even bigger problems like water seeping into parts of your home from winter rain or even a fire getting ignited.

Replacing Masonry

One are where damage may exist is the masonry. Most of the time, this can solved by replacing damaged masonry. It is critical to use the proper materials to fix it or you could damage the underlying integrity of the chimney.

Other Repairs

Some other areas that may need repairs are the flue, liner, firebox, or smoke chamber. Each of these poses its own hazards. Inspections can identify any harm so you can get it remedied quickly.

Call The Irish Sweep if you are uncertain of the damage or have chimney repairs you need done before the next set of winter storms.

Homes that have chimneys and/or fireplaces are ones with parts that may seem simple but with parts that are unfamiliar. Most only know of these two and maybe the flue and/or damper. However, there are other areas of your chimney that are even more important like the fireplace insert, liner, or even smoke chamber. These are the areas that handle the smoke created by your fires.

As with anything with fire, there is always a danger. Having proper lining and airflow are critical to your safety. If there is buildup, it provide fuel for a potential fire. When the key areas are damaged, parging is required.

THE SMOKE CHAMBER

For instance, this space is shaped like an inverted funnel to direct air up into the flue. It also features a wall that is straight up, and one that is at an angle and a shelf called a “smoke shelf” which prevents the smoke from falling back into the fireplace. The smoke chamber walls should be parged

Parging

A chimney is generally angled towards a flue to ensure maximum airflow. The surrounding area is then covered in a protective layer to have a smooth coat. This is called parging. By creating this smooth area that goes towards the flue, it creates the ideal flow of air through the chimney system. In addition, it allows the surrounding area to be protected and keep temperatures manageable to protect against a fire hazard.

An annual chimney inspection particularly one using a camera allows a full scale analysis of your fireplace and chimney system to ensure the coating is still there and any other damage that may exist within the area. This is a preventive mechanism to protect against fire hazards and other concerns.

The camera inspections could uncover several things. For instance, if the chimney has cracks or water damage, it would show. If the parging is damaged or non-existent, the camera inspection would show the need to reapply.

At The Irish Sweep, we strongly recommend annual inspections to ensure yours and your family’s safety. If you have questions or have doubts, contact us today.

Among the top appliances that homeowners rely on to manage a household is the dryer. Don’t let your dryer turn into a fire risk by not cleaning it routinely and appropriately. The lint that builds up is like kindling for a fire. Add the heat of the dryer and a safety hazard exists in every home.

Homeowners often disregard fundamental dryer support until something breaks, but that plan is a fire risk you don’t need. Consistently cleaning the dryer vent is a simple method of reducing laundry expenses, increasing fire safety, and minimizing maintenance while getting better laundry drying results.

Here are some of the reasons to have your dryer vent professionally cleaned on a schedule: 

Clothing Drying:

A dryer with a clogging vent will take more time drying clothes. This is because of restricted airflow, which is why it also reduces the effectiveness of your lint trap! You’ll find your clothes are more damp and more linty than if you had dried for the same time with a clear dryer vent system. You can save time waiting for things to dry AND time spend with your lint roller by getting vents cleaned.

Equipment Failure:

Given that you don’t clean your vent routinely, you’re setting a superfluous measure of strain on the dryer. Warmth will eventually slaughter the hardware that power each apparatus available. What’s more, a dryer that is working more diligently than would normally be appropriate will experience parts like course more rapidly. Cleaning the dryer vent routinely can spare you substantial dollars in fixes during the life span of the unit.

Utility Bills:

Moderate evaluations keep up that a normal dryer will use at any rate $0.75 worth of power during a standard drying cycle. A dryer with a messy or obstructed vent can accept twice as long to accomplish worthy outcomes. This implies a common family unit will squander about $100 towards power in a year. Regardless of whether the cushioned service bill doesn’t concern you, the unnecessary carbon emanations should.

Unwanted Guests:

In all honesty, a linty dryer vent is an extraordinary method to pull in an assortment of irritations to your home. Build up garbage in and around the surge pipe are the ideal condition for a number frightening critters. Rodents specifically love to relocate to a comfortable, trash stopped up vent. The moist smaller scale atmosphere encompassing a dryer with a messy vent is a prime area for termites and ants.

Fire Hazards:

As indicated by the National Fire Protection Agency, somewhere in the range of 15,000 to 18,000 structure flames are brought about by grimy dryer vents each year. Build up development alone is a debacle that is constantly building. Notwithstanding something as innocuous as electricity produced via friction can rapidly start a huge blaze under the correct conditions. Exhausted dryers that are near the edge because of stopped up vents can without much of a stretch blow a circuit and begin an electrical flame.

As should be obvious, dryer vent cleaning is indispensably critical to the well being and security of your whole family. Set aside the effort to wipe out your dryer vent and investigate it in any event twice every year. The negligible measure of time you put resources into this will receive rich benefits in adding to the security of your home.

If you have questions or need your vents cleaned, contact the experts at The Irish Sweep.

If you have a fireplace, then you have use for storing firewood. There is something rustic and cozy about having your own woodpile to feed winter fires. But the time to start saving wood is not winter! The time is now, so that your wood can dry and cure before you burn it.

Storing Firewood

Curing happens when wind and sun are allowed to dry out moisture, preventing mildew and mold growth. This also creates ideal conditions for burning.

Whichever storage method you choose, pile your wood in a way that air can move between the logs and dry timber completely. To aid in this, it helps to split wood, but it’s not necessary to debark logs or to split small diameter branches. One of the best ways of piling wood is in alternating directions, so that each layer lies at a 90 degree angle to those above and below it. 

There are several effective ways of storing firewood outdoors. However, they’re all designed for the same two key purposes: The primary objective when storing firewood is to keep it dry. Dry firewood is not only easier to burn but it also produces more heat and less creosote and smoke.  The second purpose is to protect the wood from weather that would re-wet it and from critters. Common firewood storage solutions include covers, storage sheds, and firewood storage racks. 

Wood Racks

Firewood racks are raised log holders especially designed to increase airflow around and under your wood. Because of this, they allow sun and wind to more quickly and easily cure firewood. Since racks create space separating wood from the ground, they also help keep critters from making nests in the wood. However, racks have their limitations. They don’t provide protection against snow and rain. That’s why firewood racks are often used with covers.

Weather Protective Covers

The primary benefit of firewood covers is that they protect wood by keeping off wet weather. These waterproof covers aren’t designed for seasoning purposes, because they can restrict air flow. To get the most advantage from a firewood cover (or tarp) cover your woodpile right before rain, hail, or snow, and remove it when adverse weather has passed. 

Firewood Storage Sheds

Firewood storage sheds can be both attractive and very functional! The structures can be built with 4, 3, or 2 walls, but always require a roof or overhang to protect wood from weather. If you’re creating a non-enclosed structure, make sure to place walls carefully to protect wood from inclement weather. A wood rack can be extremely useful in conjunction with a shed or structure, to keep protected wood off the ground. 

Whatever tools or techniques you choose to utilize, the important focus is to dry your wood and protect it from threats like insects and mold. Be sure to split logs and choose a stacking technique that maximizes air flow, and you’ll do great.

If you have questions on the best way to store firewood, contact The Irish Sweep and talk to our experts.

chimney inspection, chimney sweep appointment,

If you’ve never had your chimney inspected, you might be wondering what exactly happens when the inspector comes. Annual inspections and chimney cleanings are recommended for safe fireplace burning. You’ll want to get it done between your last fireplace usage last year and your first fire this winter to ensure that it’s in good working condition.

At your scheduled chimney inspection, your chimney sweep will likely use a special camera to look inside the system, affording them a better view of what’s going on where your fire and smoke travel.

Here’s what they’ll look for:

1.     Structural Elements and Flue

The chimney sweep will first look at the exterior and interior of the fireplace and chimney, looking for any problems of wear and tear, including the fireplace, chimney, flue and hearth. These structural elements can affect whether your chimney stays standing after earthquakes or severe weather.

2.     Combustibles are Secured

They’ll also look at the structure of the chimney. This is to be sure that combustibles can’t contact any other building materials, which would be a fire hazard. Your fire should stay within a completely secure firebox area. The risk of slow-burning fire within your walls is something to take very seriously.

3.     Obstructions

Your chimney sweep will look for any obstructions. These could possibly block the venting of smoke, combustible byproducts and gas, such as animal nests, leaves and other debris. An obstruction could cause these gasses to build up dangerously inside your home instead of leaving like they should.

4.     Volume and Kind of Combustible Deposits

A chimney sweep will look at the volume and nature of any combustible deposits building up on the walls of the chimney to see if they pose a danger. Creosote can ignite within your chimney or flue and is highly flammable.

To see what a chimney sweep inspection looks like using a camera like we use here at Irish Sweep, watch this video: