Safety PSA: How Safe is Your Chimney With All This Rain?

Chimney safety in the rain is no joke. 

The weather in California has been exceptionally rainy lately. The state has just experienced our ninth atmospheric river in a three-week succession of major winter storms, leading to flooding, landslides, and hazardous conditions. For residents of the state, it’s essential to be aware of the potential effects of the rain on our homes – particularly our chimneys.

In order to ensure complete safety from potential leaks, erosion, or falling debris, there are certain areas of concern that should be checked and monitored.

How Safe is Your Chimney With All This Rain?

Mortar, the material that binds the bricks of a chimney together, is water soluble. When exposed to moisture from rain, snow, and ice, mortar can become soft or eroded. This can lead to structural instability and damage to a home.

Watch out for these eight areas of concern for chimney safety in the rain:

  1. Soft sheetrock around the chimney.  Touch the sheetrock walls on either side of the fireplace fascia and determine if there are indications of moisture.  If there is a leak near the ceiling, it is probably a flashing issue.
  2. Moisture inside the firebox.  Touch the inside of the firebox and see if the brickwork is moist. If it is, the culprit could be gutter, downspout or flashing issues.
  3. Roof leaks & flashing leaks. Be sure to thoroughly inspect all roofing material for any signs of damage, as leaking or missing roofing material can compromise the stability of the chimney structure.
  4. Heavy rain and hail pounding the chimney. Prolonged exposure to heavy showers can cause erosion over time, weakening the chimney walls.
  5. No flue cap or a loose flue cap. Heavy winds can blow off or loosen a flue cap.
  6. Efflorescence. This is a white powdery residue that can be seen when a chimney dries out after it has become wet.
  7. Falling trees or branches rubbing against the chimney structure. Wet weather will make the tree branches heavier, and with high winds, it can beat a chimney down or cause serious damage. Make sure to pay special attention to any trees in close proximity to bedrooms.
  8. Wind stress on the chimney. High winds can add extra stress to the chimney, particularly if there is an old TV antenna still attached.

By taking the time to inspect these areas of concern, California residents can rest easy knowing that their chimneys are safe and secure during this rainy season. In order to ensure complete safety from potential risks, homeowners should routinely inspect their chimneys for these areas of concern. A certified professional can also provide an inspection and determine if any repairs are necessary.

Preemptive Safety Checks

Taking safety measures now can prevent damage down the line. The Chimney Safety Institute of America outlines what we can do now to protect our homes and chimneys during wet weather.

Check the Gutters & Downspouts

Poorly sloped gutters and gutters that are broken or overflowing can cause water to collect and seep near the chimney. In addition, improperly placed downspouts might act like a funnel for unwanted moisture if not directed away from the structure’s base. All of these conditions have the potential to lead to mysterious pools of water around the chimney. Ensure that all gutter and downspout systems are in good working order. They should move water away from the chimney structure, not directly onto it.

Inspect The Roof

A properly installed and well-maintained roof is the first line of defense against water seepage. Inspect the flashing around the chimney, along with any sealants used in the installation. Also look for signs of cracking or wear that might indicate a need for repair.

Check the Base of the Chimney

The base of the chimney should be sealed and able to withstand moisture. Have a professional inspect any concrete or masonry blocks that have become cracked or weathered in order to repair them before they become damaged by water.

Post-Rain Safety Tips

  1. Have a professional inspect the chimney after a heavy storm. This is especially important if any of the warning signs mentioned above have appeared.
  2. Inspect the interior walls for water damage, corrosion, and staining.
  3. Schedule an annual sweeping to ensure that moisture isn’t collecting inside the chimney liner or flue.
  4. Check for any signs of mold or mildew.
  5. Have a professional inspect the chimney if it emits any strange odors.

By doing these simple maintenance checks, homeowners can confidently protect their homes and chimneys from potential risks associated with wet weather.

Contact The Irish Sweep for any masonry repair, fireplace insert installation, chimney cleaning, and/or dryer vent cleaning.  We offer these services to Bay Area customers in order to ensure their health and safety.

What is the Best Wood to Burn in a Fireplace? To Burn or Not to Burn

What is the best wood to burn in a fireplace?

Burning wood in a fireplace is an enjoyable and cozy experience, especially during the holidays. However, some wood is better to burn than others, and for a good reason. To ensure safety, as well as the safety of family and neighbors, it’s important to familiarize oneself with what types of wood are best for burning in the Bay Area.

The density and moisture of wood all play a role in how hot and how long it will burn. The best woods will burn efficiently, leaving the fireplace or stove clean. On the other hand, some types of wood barely burn at all and just fill the home with smoke instead.

Hardwood V.S. Softwood: What’s the Difference?

Some people think hardwood is stronger than softwood because of its name, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, some types of softwoods are actually harder than hardwoods. So what’s the difference between these two kinds of wood, and which is the best for burning?

What is Hardwood?

The easiest way to identify hardwood trees is to look at their leaves. Hardwood trees typically have deciduous (broad) leaves and are usually found in temperate climates. Examples of hardwoods that are good for burning in the fireplace include oak, hickory, maple, poplar, and ash.

Hardwood burns hotter and longer than softwood because it has a higher density. It also produces less smoke, making it a good choice for those living in urban areas.

What is Softwood?

Softwoods typically have evergreen (needle-like) leaves and are often found in colder climates. Examples of softwoods suitable for burning in the fireplace include pine, cedar, spruce, and fir. Softwoods have a lower density than hardwoods, so they burn faster and produce more smoke. Additionally, they tend to have higher sap levels and more air within their cell structure, which results in a hot, fast burn with a lot of sparks. It is generally not recommended to burn softwood for cooking because the sap can affect the flavor of food.

The Verdict: Hardwood is Better For Burning

Overall, hardwood is the best type of wood for burning in the fireplace and should be used whenever possible. It has a longer burn time than softwood and produces significantly less smoke.

Seasoned Wood is Best

Wood should be seasoned before burning it in the fireplace. Seasoning wood means that it has been allowed to dry out, usually over a period of six months to a year.

Wood that has been recently cut, or unseasoned wood, contains a lot of water – around half its weight. Burning this type of wood can be tricky as it produces more smoke than dry wood and doesn’t burn as well. Seasoned wood has been split, stacked, and stored in a dry area to allow it to dry completely.

Unseasoned or “wet” wood will not burn as efficiently or cleanly and can cause creosote buildup in a chimney, creating a fire hazard. Therefore, when choosing wood to burn, go for seasoned hardwood!

Where to Find Good Burning Wood in the Bay Area

When buying wood to burn, there are several factors to keep in mind: what type of wood, what size, and what quality. The best wood for burning in the Bay Area is dry, seasoned hardwood. It should have been cut and split for at least six months to a year and should have an average moisture content of 15-20%. Seasoned wood is dry to the touch, may have loose bark and splits or cracks in ends, and should feel lightweight for its size.

Firewood can be purchased from local vendors, hardware stores, or online. It is essential to check the quality and ensure it will burn properly.

Firewood is most commonly sold in units of a pallet, cord, face-cord, or bundle.

A full cord of firewood is a stack of wood that is 8 feet long, 4 feet deep, and 4 feet high. Most standard fireplaces, wood stoves, or fire pits will require further cutting, so the logs fit them.

A face cord is a wood pile that measures 8 feet long and 4 feet high, and typically uses 16-inch logs–amounting to 64 cubic feet of wood. It is 1/3rd the size of a full cord.

Firewood bundles are one of the most convenient ways to purchase and use firewood. Most bundles are .75 cubic feet, making them easy to carry and handle. Some campgrounds even sell bundles to visitors. Because of its convenience, bundled firewood is often at the higher end of the price range.

If purchasing wood wrapped in plastic, check whether it is dry before bringing it home. If the wood still feels wet, place it on a firewood rack in a sheltered area so it can continue to dry. It’s best to avoid leaning or stacking firewood against a home – this provides a very cozy place for critters to hide.

Safe Burning Rules

1. Check for Alerts Before Burning

Most of the time, it is perfectly safe to burn seasoned wood throughout the seasons. However, when there are high levels of fine particulate pollution in the air, the county may call for a Spare the Air alert. On these days, the no-burn rule applies to both homes and businesses like hotels and restaurants.

Signing up for text alerts about Spare the Air is easy. Alerts are also posted to the Spare the Air and Air District websites and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Local radio and TV news media also broadcast the alerts.

2. Only Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood

Burning wet or unseasoned wood is not only inefficient, but it also increases the amount of smoke that is released into the air. Burning moist wood produces more soot, which can lead to chimney and air pollution problems.

Furthermore, burning wet wood can cause wood fires to produce more creosote as a result of incomplete combustion. Creosote smells like tar and builds up over time, eventually lining the chimney or flue. This substance poses a significant chimney fire risk as it is highly flammable. Some studies have even indicated that creosote is a probable carcinogen.

3. Use an EPA-Certified Wood Burning Device

Fireplaces or stoves must meet EPA standards for certified wood-burning devices. These appliances are more efficient and produce less smoke than uncertified devices, so they are much better for the environment and general health.

New EPA-certified stoves produce no more than 4.5 grams per hour – older and uncertified stoves release 15 to 30 grams of smoke per hour.

4. Never Burn Garbage, Plastics, or Other Harmful Materials

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what is safe to burn. Burning garbage, plastics, or other materials not meant for burning can release hazardous chemicals into the air and pose a health risk. Here are some more examples of materials that are NOT safe to burn:

  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Cardboard
  • Painted or treated lumber
  • Paper with colored print, including newspapers
  • Fire accelerants or firestarters
  • Dryer lint
  • Driftwood

The best fuel for a fireplace is the fuel it was built for. Other fuels may release toxic fumes, burn too hot for the chimney, cause resin buildup, and cause a risk of chimney fires.

5. Avoid Burning Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus wood is readily available in the Bay Area; these trees are invasive and are constantly being cut down. Although they are hard as stone and take years to dry even when cut and split, they are a pyrophyte, just like pine and cedar. When they catch fire, the sap in them gets hot, boils, and then explodes. Eucalyptus trees were the fuel for the 1991 Oakland Hills fire that destroyed 3,000 homes. 

 

Related Reading: What Is Stage 3 Creosote and How Do You Deal With It?

 

Burning the correct type of wood and following safe burning practices can help keep our air clean and make for a safer, healthier environment. With any questions about what is safe to burn in a fireplace or stove, contact our local chimney sweeps at The Irish Sweep for more information.

Enjoy a cozy, crackling, and safe fire this holiday season!

The 13 Things Professional Chimney Sweeps Want You To Know

The 13 Things Professional Chimney Sweeps Want You To Know

Think you can clean your own chimney? Think again! Professional chimney sweeps have seen it all, and we’ve collected that wisdom and put it in a neat list format for our latest article. Here are 13 things professional chimney sweeps wish you knew – and why you should always hire us for the job!

  1. Creosote buildup is dangerous!!! 

Creosote is a substance that forms when anything is burned, especially wood and manufactured logs. Creosote will build up in the chimney without you realizing it. If the creosote isn’t removed, it will become a fire hazard. That’s why it’s so important to have the chimney cleaned regularly by a professional.

  1. We have specialized tools

Professional chimney sweeps have brushes and vacuums designed specifically for cleaning out chimneys. Specialized equipment helps ensure that all the soot and ash are removed – something that’s crucial to preventing fires.

  1. Chimney sweeping is a vital part of home maintenance

Many people think of chimney sweeping as something that’s only done occasionally, but the truth is that it’s an essential part of regular home maintenance. Sweeping the chimney helps prevent a build-up of creosote, which can cause fires. The chimney should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year – more often if it’s used frequently.

  1. It’s more complicated than Mary Poppins makes it look!

Chimney sweeping may look easy in movies like Mary Poppins, but the truth is that it’s a tough job. It requires a lot of physical strength and stamina, as well as experience, knowledge, and specialized tools. That’s why it’s always best to leave it to the trained professionals.

  1. We know how to spot problems

One of the advantages of hiring a professional chimney sweep is that we know how to spot problems. We can identify issues such as cracks in the flue or blockages that could cause fires. This means we can fix the problem before it becomes a dangerous hazard.

  1. A dirty chimney can cause respiratory problems for our families

Soot and ash aren’t good for our lungs, and a dirty chimney can cause respiratory problems for our families. This is especially true if anyone in the family suffers from asthma or allergies. A professional chimney sweep will ensure that the chimney is clean and safe!

  1. A properly functioning chimney will help keep our home warm and save money on heating costs

If the chimney is blocked or has cracks, it won’t draw air correctly. There will always be air turnover, as this is how fire is fueled. The home can be harder to heat if the fireplace and chimney are functioning correctly, which then costs more money in heating bills. A professional chimney sweep can help ensure that the chimney is working properly, saving money in the long run. 

  1. We can save time and reduce hassle

Cleaning a chimney is a time-consuming job that most people simply don’t have the time for. Hiring a professional chimney sweep will save hassle and ensure that the job is done right.

  1. Wood-burning stoves need to be inspected and cleaned regularly, too!

It’s essential to have a wood-burning stove or insert inspected and cleaned regularly. This is because the chimney, chimney connector, and liner can become blocked with soot, which can be a fire hazard. A professional chimney sweep can clean the wood-burning stove or insert and make sure it’s safe to use.

  1. Chimney sweeps can help with other types of fireplace maintenance

Chimney sweeps can also help with different kinds of fireplace maintenance, such as relining the chimney or repairing damage. Have peace of mind that the fireplace is safe to use all year round!

  1. Call a chimney sweep before there’s a problem

Be proactive – the damage has already happened by the time a problem is noticed. It’s never too late to call a professional; it may just cost more. By then, the damage may have already been done – and it could be dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial to have the chimney cleaned regularly, even if there’s no apparent problem.

12. We carry insurance – just in case

Double-check that the professional chimney sweep carries insurance just in case something goes wrong. It’s good to be protected in the event of an accident!

13. We’re here to help – please call us

Feel free to call us any time. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and help in making the best decision for a home.

9 Frequently asked questions: 

  1. Is the fireplace used regularly?
  2. Is there soot or creosote buildup on the inside of the chimney?
  3. Are there cracks or blockages in the flue?
  4. What’s a flue?
  5. Are there respiratory problems or allergies issues in the household?
  6. Is there a wood-burning stove?
  7. Is other fireplace maintenance needed?
  8. Are there water leaks or moisture in or around the fireplace fascia? 
  9. Does the house smell like a chimney after using it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to call a professional chimney sweep. We can help keep the home safe and save money in the long run. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1979. If you need a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, or other home services, call us today! Schedule our chimney sweep or inspection services today to enjoy a safe fireplace and chimney all year long.

Chimney Masonry Repair 101 (Basics You Need to Know)

Repairs and maintenance are unavoidable in any part of a home. Just like most structures and appliances, this is also true for chimneys. All fireplaces and chimneys will eventually have problems that necessitate repair or maintenance – it’s an inevitability regardless of age or design.

This blog post will discuss the basics of chimney masonry repair. We’ll cover the different materials that can make up a chimney, common problems with chimneys and how to repair them, and tips for keeping your chimney in good shape year-round!

Why Is Chimney Maintenance Important?

The most common causes of home fires include smoking, cooking, and electrical malfunction. While you can control some more frequent home fire causes, others like electrical malfunctions or faulty masonry chimneys are harder to pin down. Did you know:

  • More than 61 chimney fires occur every day in the United States
  • The #1 most common cause of chimney fires is a failure to have them regularly cleaned
  • The 2nd most common cause of chimney fires is burning unseasoned wet wood
  • Chimney fires cost homeowners an estimated $125 million in damages every year

Chimney fires are preventable. While it’s impossible to anticipate every disaster, you can take steps to minimize the risk of a chimney fire in your home.

Masonry Chimneys 101

Bricks and mortar, concrete, block, stone, flue tile, cast iron, and steel are just a few of the materials used to construct a masonry chimney. If not correctly installed or maintained, any of these materials can be vulnerable to rainwater and environmental elements. Mortar, the substance that bonds together the masonry components in their chimney, is water soluble. This is why keeping your structures dry and preventing water intrusion is so important!

While properly built and well-constructed masonry chimneys can endure a long time (consider the Roman Arches, which still exist today), this does not imply that all masonry chimneys are created equal. Inferior materials or craftsmanship can lead to chimney deterioration and, in some cases, a structurally unsound chimney. In cases like these, you will need reliable chimney masonry repair services.

Common Chimney Masonry Repair Problems

Don’t be intimidated by chimney masonry repair! The most common problems with masonry chimneys include:

  1. Chimney crown cracks
  2. Water penetration
  3. Leaning chimney
  4. Damaged or missing mortar joints
  5. Chimney deterioration

These problems can be caused by various factors, including water damage, excessive heat exposure, poor construction, and more. If left unaddressed, these problems can lead to even more significant issues like chimney fires or collapse.

Chimney Masonry Repair

Chimney Crown Cracks

A chimney crown is the cement cap that sits atop the chimney. Its job is to prevent moisture from seeping into the chimney’s masonry where it is most vulnerable to the elements: at the top.

However, chimney crowns can crack over time due to age, weathering, or settling. Cracks in the chimney crown can allow water to seep into the chimney structure, leading to further deterioration. In climates reaching freezing temperatures, water entering the chimney can freeze and expand, causing the crown to crack even further.

What to Do About Crown Cracks?

The best way to repair chimney crown cracks is to have a professional chimney sweep or mason take a look at them. They will be able to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action. In some cases, the chimney crown may need to be rebuilt entirely.

Water Penetration

Another common problem with masonry chimneys is water penetration. Water can enter the chimney through cracks in the chimney crown, flue, or mortar joints. Once inside, the water can cause problems like rusting metal components and deteriorating masonry.

When water mixes with creosote – a tarlike substance that builds up on the chimney walls – it creates a corrosive acid that eats away at the chimney’s masonry. This can lead to even more severe problems like chimney collapse.

What to Do About Water Penetration?

Keep a regular chimney checkup schedule and ensure there is no place for water to seep into any section of the chimney or fireplace. If you find water leaks, have a professional chimney sweep or mason look at it as soon as possible. They will be able to determine the source of the leak and make recommendations for repairs.

Leaning Chimney

A leaning chimney is a cause for concern. It can be caused by many factors, including foundation settling, water damage, or poor construction. A leaning chimney can put your entire home at risk of chimney collapse.

What to Do About a Leaning Chimney?

If your chimney is leaning, it is structurally unsafe. It’s essential to have a professional chimney sweep or mason look at it as soon as possible. They will be able to determine the cause of the problem and make recommendations for repairs. In some cases, the chimney may need to be rebuilt entirely.

Damaged or Missing Mortar Joints

Mortar joints are the spaces between bricks, stones or clay flue liners in a masonry chimney. They are filled with mortar, which acts as glue to hold the chimney together. Over time, the mortar can become cracked, crumbled, or missing. This can leave the chimney vulnerable to water damage and collapse.

What to Do About Damaged or Missing Mortar Joints?

One of the most common repairs needed for a chimney is mortar replacement, also called tuckpointing. Tuckpointing joints back in are usually not complicated. Occasionally, extensive damage demands more comprehensive repairs, which may include reconstructing part or all of the chimney, but tuckpointing is a satisfactory repair for minor damages. As for all major repairs, it’s best to have a licensed chimney professional take a look.

Chimney Deterioration

Like any other structure, a chimney will eventually show wear and tear. Flue liner and smoke chamber damage, loosened brickwork, water damage, and mold are all common symptoms of chimney deterioration.

What to Do About Chimney Deterioration?

The best way to prevent chimney deterioration is to opt for an annual inspection by a certified chimney professional. Their specialized tools and knowledge will help them spot any potential problems so they can be fixed before they cause further damage. You can avoid serious problems down the road by being proactive and getting annual chimney inspections.

Easy Chimney Health Tips

Maintaining a chimney is much preferable to fixing a broken chimney. Here are a few easy tips to help you keep your chimney in good shape:

  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned yearly by a certified chimney professional.
  • Repair any cracks or damage as soon as possible.
  • Make sure there is no place for water to seep into any section of the chimney.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed away from the chimney.
  • Never burn trash or wet wood in your fireplace.

These simple tips can help keep your chimney healthy and functioning correctly for years to come. If you have any concerns about your chimney, be sure to contact a professional chimney sweep or mason.

As you can see, you may need a variety of chimney masonry repair at some point. It’s essential to have a regular chimney checkup schedule to catch any problems early on. And if you do need repairs, it’s crucial to have a professional chimney sweep or mason take a look as soon as possible. With their help, you can keep your chimney healthy and functioning optimally for as long as possible!

Related Reading: Surprising Benefits of Chimney Sweep Services You Might Not Know About

Need Chimney Masonry Repair Help?

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1982. If you need a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, chimney masonry repair, or other home services, call us today! Schedule our chimney sweep services today to enjoy a safe fireplace and chimney all year long.

Surprising Benefits of Chimney Sweep Services You Might Not Know About

Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim cher-ee

A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be!

This nostalgic Mary Poppins song rings true – chimney sweep services are absolutely essential to the integrity and safety of your chimney. Lucky indeed!

Even if you’ve lived in a home for twenty years, the chimney is an often intimidating appliance to clean and maintain. Dealing with soot and tight spaces is enough to make anyone queasy.

But chimney sweeps (or chimney service companies) are trained professionals with the experience and know-how to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and without mess!

Here are some surprising benefits of chimney sweep services that you might not know about:

Chimney sweep services prevent chimney fires

In the U.S., there are over 25,000 chimney fires per year. These fires are responsible for over 125 million dollars in property damage.

A chimney fire can reach temperatures upwards of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to crack your chimney’s liner and ignite your house’s framing.

Yikes!

The most common cause of chimney fires is creosote buildup. Creosote is a tar-like substance that forms when wood burns. It’s black, sticky, and flammable.

How does creosote build up in a chimney?

When you burn wood, the smoke rises up the chimney. As the temperature of the chimney increases, the water vapor in the smoke condenses on the chimney walls. This leaves behind a sticky residue that is full of toxins and carcinogens.

Over time, this buildup gets thicker and thicker. If it’s not removed, it becomes a severe fire hazard.

How do chimney sweep services prevent creosote buildup and chimney fires?

Chimney sweeps are trained to identify and remove creosote buildup before it has a chance to ignite. They have specialized tools and equipment to do so – brushes, scrapers, and vacuums specifically designed for chimneys. Chimney professionals also know how to spot other potential fire hazards, like cracks in the chimney lining or blockages.

Chimney sweep services improve the efficiency of your fireplace

If your chimney is blocked by debris, it will affect how well your fireplace drafts.

How do chimneys create drafts?

When a chimney fills with hot gas, the gas rises because it is less dense than the air outside the house. The rising hot gas creates a pressure difference called draft, which draws combustion air into the appliance and expels the exhaust gas outside.

If something is blocking the chimney – like soot, creosote, or debris – it will impede the flow of hot air. This can cause many problems, like smoke spilling into your home, decreased heat output, and even a fire.

A chimney sweep will clear out any blockages in your chimney so that the hot air can escape quickly and easily. As a result, you’ll have a fireplace that works more efficiently and is less smoky.

A good chimney sweep will clear any blockages and ensure the flue is the correct size for your fireplace. They’ll also check for any cracks or leaks and repair them as needed.

As a result, you’ll see a decrease in your energy bills and have fewer issues with smoke in your home.

chimney sweep services

Chimney sweep services keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced whenever fuel is burned. CO blends into the existing air, can’t be heard, felt, seen, or tasted, and can be lethal without a device to detect it.

If your chimney is blocked or damaged, CO from your gas fireplace can leak into your home and poison the people and animals inside.

What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak in a gas fireplace?

  • Soot, smoke, fumes, or back-draft in the house from a chimney, fireplace, or other fuel-burning equipment
  • Sooty or brownish-yellow stains around the fireplace
  • You smell a faint, “rotten egg” odor. Though CO is odorless, sometimes it is accompanied by other exhaust gases you can smell
  • A yellow pilot light flame instead of the usual clear blue

Symptoms of carbon monoxide inhalation are similar to the flu and can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or confusion

If you experience these symptoms and suspect a CO leak, get out of your house immediately and call 911. Then, open all the doors and windows to air out your home.

How can chimney sweep services help?

A chimney sweep will inspect your chimney for any damage that could be causing a CO leak. They’ll make sure the chimney is clear of debris and adequately vented. If they find any cracks or leaks, they’ll repair them so you can use your fireplace safely.

A properly functioning chimney is essential for preventing CO poisoning. A chimney sweep can ensure yours is up to code and working properly.

They can also install CO monitors in your home, which will sound an alarm if dangerous levels of CO are detected.

Chimney sweeps can save you money on your energy bills

If your chimney is blocked, it can’t do its job of venting hot air out of your home.

This can cause your furnace or fireplace to work overtime, driving up your energy bills.

How can chimney sweep services help save money?

  1. A chimney sweep will clear any blockages in your chimney so that hot air can escape and your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
  2. Regularly sweeping ashes from the firebox also allows more oxygen to circulate, making fires hotter. This means you can use less wood to achieve the same heat level, saving you money in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even as little as one-tenth of an inch of soot can decrease a fire’s heat output by 50%.
  3. A chimney sweep can also inspect your chimney and ensure it’s the correct size for your fireplace. If it’s too small, they can recommend ways to enlarge it. This will help your fireplace work more efficiently and save you money on your energy bills.
  4. A chimney sweep can fill cracks and fissures in your chimney, which could otherwise allow carbon monoxide and outside air to seep into your home. Filling these cracks makes your chimney more energy efficient.

These simple chimney maintenance tasks can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Chimney sweeps can extend the life of your chimney

Your chimney is constantly exposed to rain, wind, and sun elements. Over time, this exposure can take its toll on your chimney, causing it to crack or crumble.

Chimney sweeps inspect your chimney for damage and make all necessary repairs.

They can also apply a waterproof sealant to your chimney to help protect it from the elements.

Investing in chimney sweep services can extend your chimney’s life and avoid costly repairs down the road. A well-maintained chimney can last for decades, but a neglected chimney will need to be replaced much sooner.

Chimney sweeps remove bird nests and other animals from chimneys

Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals often take up residence in chimneys. They build nests that can block the chimney and prevent airflow. In some cases, animals may even die in the chimney, which is generally unpleasant and leads to foul odors.

A chimney sweep will safely remove any animals or nests from your chimney so you can use your fireplace without worry. They can also install a chimney cap, which will keep animals out in the future.

Related Reading: How Often Do You Need a Chimney Cleaner/Sweep?

Let Bay Area Chimney Cleaners Help

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1982. If you need a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, or other home services, give us a call today! Schedule our chimney sweep services today to enjoy a safe fireplace and chimney all year long. 

Heat Shield Ceramic Coating V.S. Stainless Steel Flue Liners

A chimney is constantly exposed to some of the harshest conditions, including high temperatures, wind, harsh UV conditions, water damage, and corrosive chemicals. Over time, these elements can take their toll on even the sturdiest of chimneys. This is where ceramic heat shield coating and other stainless steel flue liners come in.

Sometimes, it feels like maintaining a property can be a full-time job. Tiny flaws and cracks can quickly turn into big problems if a property owner can’t fix them promptly. This is especially true when it comes to chimneys. 

What is the Purpose of Chimney Stainless Steel Flue Liners and Ceramic Heat Shield Coating?

The purpose of ceramic heat shield coating and chimney liners is to protect the inner wall (clay flue liners) of the chimney from damage. This is important because the liners prevent harmful gases and chemicals from seeping into your home.

There are two main types of chimney liners: ceramic and stainless steel. This blog post will discuss the advantages of ceramic chimney coatings versus stainless steel flue liners.

Advantages of Ceramic Heat Shield Coating

HeatShield is a ceramic chimney coating repair system that eliminates the hazards and draft problems caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling in otherwise sound masonry chimneys.

When professionals apply ceramic coatings such as HeatShield within a chimney, the coating seals and plugs all fissures and cracks, resulting in an even ceramic layer that provides the proper passage for smoke and any toxic gases to dissipate from the fire straight out the top of the chimney. Coatings also prevent further acid corrosion and protect your chimney from harm by keeping acidic gasses from causing damage to the masonry.

Ceramic coatings are an excellent option for those who want an easy and efficient way to protect their chimney. HeatShield is warranted for 20 years with proper maintenance.

Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Stainless Steel Flue Liners

Stainless steel flue liners are another popular option for chimney protection, and they come in rigid or flexible varieties. If you’re considering stainless steel flue liners, there are a few things to keep in mind.

On the plus side, stainless steel liners are durable and practical if installed and maintained correctly. However, they are also more expensive than ceramic coatings, and they require a higher level of expertise to install. They also need additional insulation: to safeguard the home’s combustible frame from excessive heat, it is important to always utilize high-temperature insulation with metal chimney liners.

Bottom Line

Both ceramic coatings and stainless steel flue liners have their advantages. Ceramic coatings are more affordable and easier to maintain, while stainless steel flue liners may be a better option for those who want a more durable solution especially if the chimney is unlined. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your budget and your needs.

If you’re still not sure which chimney lining system is right for you, contact your local chimney care experts at The Irish Sweep. We will be able to thoroughly inspect your chimney and help you make the best decision for your home.