September 30 – October 6 is
Chimney Safety Week
In a moment of planning, you may ask yourself “is my home insurance still valid if I don’t have proof that my chimney is properly maintained?” The answer is, that if something happens involving your chimney or fireplace, no. It’s likely not.
Many insurance policies specify that your chimney and fireplace are only insured when properly maintained. They may not ask you for proof of proper maintenance until you file a claim, but they will want it then. Your chimney is a vulnerable spot in your home’s defense against the elements. Even when covered by a chimney cap, the typical brick chimney presents a large vertical opening to the rain and snow. The mortar of chimney crowns can crack, and lightning can damage the bricks.
Fire statistics show that each year on average over 30 thousand houses have chimney fires. Chimney fires can not only destroy homes but also endanger the occupiers of the dwelling.
Homeowner’s insurance can cover damage to your property caused by sudden and unforeseen events such as fires, flash floods, lightning strikes, and wind damage. In the case of a chimney, an insurance company will closely scrutinize the facts and evidence in the claim. Your policy might exclude damage caused by poor maintenance or normal wear and tear on your house.
Have a camera-assisted inspection. This creates documentation of the condition your chimney is in, and allows you to know without a doubt whether your chimney is in safe condition for wood burning. The images will reveal whether you need repair, and what repair options are right for you if so. That way, when you do have a fire you can do so knowing your chimney is fully functional.
Not only is sweeping and inspecting your chimney a good idea in general, your home insurance policy may require it. So if you haven’t already, you’ll want to check with them for exact expectations they have regarding sweeping or inspecting your chimney.
Insurance companies differ in their approach to fires that may be caused by a lack of chimney cleaning. There are two dangers to not having a clean chimney: the fire itself and how the insurance company with handle it. Whether your policy is clear or ambiguous, you’ll fare better if you have documentation of annual chimney cleaning.
If a fire occurs you may be required by the terms of your policy to produce a cleaning certificate. However, whether or not required, without it the insurance company could refuse to pay out. If they believe a fire was caused by your failure to have regular chimney cleaning and inspections, your insurance claim won’t be paid.
Whatever the terms of your policy (and the difficulty of proving negligence), the greatest risk may, of course, be to your own personal safety. Also if a fire causes injury or death to third parties, you could well face civil or even criminal proceedings.
You need your chimney flue and ventilation pipes cleaned at least once a year. Having annual chimney sweep service will ensure you’re fulfilling your insurance obligations. Make sure to read your policy carefully. Most policies will require professional chimney sweeping annually. If you need to make a claim, having a recent chimney sweeping certificate shows that you actively maintain your home.
All qualified chimney sweeps provide written documentation of their work. You may receive a digital or paper receipt. This is for the homeowner’s peace of mind and to fulfill insurance conditions.
In Conclusion, contact the Irish Sweep to discuss chimney and fire safety. You’ll benefit from using a quality professional chimney sweep.
So you’ve decided to buy or sell your home. What an exciting time! In either case, it’s important to know the condition of the chimney and fireplace system you’re about to either buy or sell.
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful process for everyone involved. You need to know that the value of the property you’re buying aligns with the amount you invest in it. Naturally, you’ll have the home inspected and you’ll likely have it appraised.
If you have a chimney, hiring a chimney sweep for an inspection and cleaning is something that needs to be done.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the CSIA recommend that you have a Level II chimney inspection performed when a property is changing hands. Level II real estate inspections make use of video scanning technology, which allows us to see things that a home inspector with a flashlight would miss.
During the inspection, they feed a camera into the chimney flue and scan the walls, checking for cracks, holes, buildup, blockages, and damage. With this equipment, we can see the interior of the chimney up close and focus on areas that look concerning. We’re also able to capture photographs to include in the report provided to you. This can be great for insurance purposes or negotiating purposes and can prevent you from getting stuck with a massive chimney repair bill or a fire or safety hazard that you were unaware of at the time of the sale.
When selling, the prospective buyer will see the current inspection reports, and realize your home is in great condition. The home buyer will be more enthusiastic about putting in an offer on a home that is move-in ready. You’ll be able to command a higher price than a home that needs, or might need, repair.
If you’re buying, requesting the chimney inspection report allows you to know what condition of chimney you’re acquiring.
Today, many insurance companies require an inspection by a chimney certified technician before issuing insurance on a home that has a chimney system.
A fireplace is often an item on the home buyer’s “must have” list. There is no doubt that a functioning chimney system has great charm and aesthetic appeal. Knowing the chimney is safe and usable makes nights by the fire cozier.
Don’t be delayed by missing inspection reports, have the chimney inspected before listing to sell your home. The prospective purchaser wants confirmation that your beautiful chimney is in good working order. Having to wait until the chimney inspection is scheduled and performed delays the purchaser’s final decision. Make it easy to say yes.
In Conclusion, make selling a home a little less stressful by having your chimney inspection by a certified chimney sweep.
Everyone loves the look of an open fire in a brick fireplace. It’s classic, familiar, beautiful. Did you know it’s also wasteful, inefficient and less clean than a wood burning fireplace insert would be?
The design of an open fireplace allows a large portion of the heat generated to leave through the chimney. Wood burning inserts allow you to have efficient design and classic good looks, both! They work as a more efficient burners in the setting of a traditional fireplace. Wood burning fireplace inserts release less smoke and emissions than open fire and provide even better heating results. Inserts are used to convert traditional stone and brick fireplaces, which are inefficient and polluting, into effective heating systems.
A fireplace insert is similar to a wood stove that’s been modified to fit within the firebox of a masonry fireplace. An insert consists of a firebox surrounded by a steel shell. Air from the room flows between the firebox and shell, taking heat back into the room. Heat distributor fans can be turned on to push heat into the home. They generally have glass doors for safety and you can see vents above, below, or next to the firebox for the circulation of air and heat.
In a short answer, no. Wood burning inserts are actually very natural looking in the setting of an existing fireplace. In fact, many homeowners build their original masonry fireplace with a Wood Burning Insert structure from the beginning because of their rugged good looks and great efficiency. Many people don’t even realize that fireplaces are outfitted with Wood Burning Inserts because the look is so familiar.
While it’s certainly possible that your old fireplace may have been dangerous, and a wood burning insert is the safest solution, most people choose them for their advantages.
Wood is actually very environmentally friendly because it is a renewable, sustainable resource and is considered carbon-neutral to burn by the Carbon Trust. Did you know that if wood were naturally decaying in the woods, it would release the same amount of carbon as it does burning in your hearth? Today’s wood burning inserts combust the harmful fire byproducts that a traditional fireplace releases into the atmosphere. They emit less than 1 gram of smoke per hour, which exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air standards.
Some wood burning insert models have over 80% efficiency. The dual combustion system within a wood burning fireplace insert is what generates a hotter, longer lasting fire. The venting system prevents heat from quickly escaping up the chimney and fans push heated air into your home instead. With the right insert you can easily heat a large living space. You’ll go hours without having to add fuel to the fire.
One load of wood can burn for up to 8 hours in the right fireplace insert, saving you on wood costs. Also, the heat provided to your home can allow you to zone heat through the cold months, instead of using a furnace system to heat the entire home. But the advantages are not reserved for winter! Insulation is placed around a fireplace insert during installation. This prevents cool air from escaping during the summer and hot air from leaking out during the winter. The glass doors of the insert also prevent downdraft problems, keeping your home well insulated.
Fireplaces with a wood burning insert do need annual chimney cleaning, but an insert will reduce the cost of repairing and maintaining your fireplace through the years. With the installation of a fireplace insert, the integrity of a fireplace is fortified without the high price of rebuilding or renovating a masonry fireplace. Replacing or repairing a damaged insert is also significantly less expensive than repairing a masonry fireplace.
Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts come in styles from slick and sleek, to traditional and ornate. The aesthetic range of offerings is almost overwhelming! You’ll surely find something that fits your style in the available selections. Inserts can also offer features not available with traditional fireplaces, like thermostat control, heat distributor fans and self-cleaning glass.
If you have any questions about wood burning fireplace inserts, just ask us at The Irish Sweep.
Do you miss out on the joy of watching flickering flames in the fireplace because chopping, hauling, and storing logs just is not for you? With a cozy fire, the fireplace is often a favorite gathering place in the home. There’s no need to let your fireplace go to waste! Gas log sets provide the ambiance of a roaring fire without the hassle and smoke that goes along with wood burning. The natural gas or liquid propane gas used by gas logs is clean-burning. In fact, gas logs are an efficient and environmentally friendly choice, that is ultra-convenient and easy to use.
Gas log sets can change the look and ambiance of your existing wood or masonry fireplace and are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. Gas logs come in two basic varieties, vented log sets and vent-free log sets.
A gas log set must be used in a regular fireplace, designed to burn a wood fire. The benefits are numerous and they can offer some unique advantages. With all of the different types and options, it can be hard to know what the set is right for you, so let’s take a look at the key differences between gas log sets.
Gas log sets are used in a regular fireplace designed for wood that releases the gas fumes through the chimney. Flame size is typically large, lending to a more realistic look, however, they aren’t especially efficient for heating since the heat goes up the chimney. Log sets must be operated with the damper wide open. Only a few varieties of vented gas logs will give off heat, otherwise, you will want to look into a Gas Log Heater, which will provide up to 25,000 BTUs of heat into the room and can be used with or without glass doors. Gas log sets can be connected to a manual on/off gas valve, or a manual safety pilot.
You may have heard about vent-free logs because they do exist; however, they are illegal in California.
Most gas log sets range from 18 “to 30”. The size is determined by the length of the front log, which is typically the largest. To choose a size you’ll need to measure your fireplace front width, back width and depth.
• Measure the front and back widths, the depth, and the height of your enclosure
• Choose a log size based on the available enclosure space
• Uncommon sizes of gas logs are available from 16 “up to 70”
• Be sure to account for clearing of the gas valve or any added remote receiver box
Convenience: Lighting gas logs is quick and easy, which means there is minimum hassle to enjoy a delightful fire in your home.
Chimney Fire Prevention: Maintenance and cleaning are still important. Because gas logs produce a lot less creosote and soot in the chimney lining, they bring safety. There is much smaller risk of a dangerous chimney fire when you enjoy the warmth provided by a gas log set.
Affordable Installation: The total cost involved with buying and installing a gas fireplace in your home can be as little as $ 5,000, and the potential return on your investment if you sell your home is high. In fact, if you sell, you can count on getting back about 90% of the cost to add a gas log set to your home.
Authentic Appearance: Today’s gas logs are much more than realistic than the sets of the past. You can now find artificial logs that are very convincing!
Lower Utility Costs: You can practice zone heating with convenient gas logs sets. When zone heating, you only heat the part of your home that you are currently occupying.
Style: There are a wide variety of gas log sets to choose from, and you’ll find one that fits into your decor.
There are a large variety of accessories available for gas logs, so we’ll just highlight a few. Platinum Embers are a low-cost addition to your set that really makes it sparkle. They are significantly brighter than regular embers, mix both regular and Platinum for the most realistic look. You can connect your set to a thermostat, a remote starter, or both.
Always make sure you buy a gas set that matches the gas already in use in your home. You will have either liquid propane or natural gas already set up for other appliances. When you buy vented and vent-free log sets, they are often pre-set to either natural gas or liquid propane.
In Conclusion, gas log sets are a great way to reinvigorate your existing fireplace and create a more convenient and affordable heating solution. The safety and reliability of a gas log set are matched only by the efficiency and convenience they offer. Be sure to find a unit that matches your preference and enjoy the many benefits of a gas log set.