The Irish Sweep is still accepting calls to answer questions and schedule any service needs. However, no on-site visits are currently being conducted pursuant to the government's stay in place order. Please feel free to contact us at 510.521.4088 to get answers to your questions or schedule a future appointment.
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 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.
If you have a fireplace, then you may already know about ceramic coating. But it’s not a paint, like you might imagine. Rather, think of it as an environmentally-friendly, protective skin that improves safety. Read on to learn more about some of the benefits of adding a ceramic coating to your fireplace.
WHAT IS HEATSHIELD?
HeatShield technology is a hybrid ceramic/refractory coating that was developed in Europe. Independent testing has proven that it withstands moisture, harsh flue gases, and extreme temperatures.
Eco-friendly products have gained in popularity, both for the environment and our own health. There’s no reason innovation can’t be green. Manufactured from recycled and natural materials, HeatShield is more economical than rebuilding your chimney. HeatShield ensures using your fireplace is safer, as well as more efficient.
The heat resistant qualities of ceramic coatings are well-known. HeatShield handles temperatures in excess of 2900 degrees Fahrenheit. Ceramic coatings also offer oxidization protection and chemical resistance, plus a firm finish. In fact, high-temperature ceramic coatings work in automotive parts, as well as heavy manufacturing equipment.
EXPERT CHIMNEY REPAIR
All of our independent HeatShield installers are certified and factory-trained. Whether your chimney needs a complete resurfacing, or a quick fix, our professionals have the tools and industry experience to get the job done right. They even use special video cameras to verify completed repairs.
OUR 20-YEAR WARRANTY
You don’t need to install a new chimney liner. Adding a ceramic coating is a quick and affordable way to update your fireplace. Our highly skilled experts use professional products to ensure the best results for our clients. We hope you found this article helpful, and we’re happy to answer any further questions you may have. Ask our HeatShield professionals about our 20-year warranty.
To learn more about the many benefits of ceramic coating, feel free to contact us!
Any home can achieve a warm and cozy feel throughout winter, while also setting the mood with a subtle romantic effect. A well-maintained fireplace can be a great focal point in the room, but an uncared-for one might be an eyesore. You wouldn’t want to hide this classic feature, would you? Fortunately, breathing new life into your fireplace doesn’t have to be a overpriced affair. There are many budget-friendly options.
Whether you’re just looking to make some minor changes, or you’re desperate to give that outdated fireplace a new look and feel that’s personalized to you, we’ve got some ideas for you.
ADDING OR MODIFYING A MANTEL
A mantel is the brick or wood surrounding the chimney opening. If there’s no mantel on your fireplace, consider building or installing one. It can tie together the aesthetic of the room. Adding a mantel can be easy to install yourself and doesn’t cost a large sum. If you have a mantel and it’s severely chipped, warped, or has irreparable damage, you might think about replacing it. However, some paint will do the trick if your only concern with your existing mantel is its unattractive appearance.
MAKEOVER THE SCREEN AND DOORS
As homes become more modernized, you may be wanting to update old styles. A good place to begin is with the screen and doors of the fireplace. If you adore the current design but want to easily change the look, paint it! You can repaint fireplace doors with high-heat resistant paint, available online or at your local hardware store. A less permanent way to change the look is by getting a new screen.
INSTALL A FLOATING BEAM
In lieu of a mantel, floating beams provide shelf space while keeping the area clear that surrounds the chimney opening. These are an excellent choice if there’s nothing surrounding your fireplace but the hearth.
You can find a new beam in most wood shops or online retailers, as well as salvage shops or even eBay. If you’re handy, you can even cut your own beam from a larger piece of wood and treat it.
ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE
The hearth is the area in front of a fireplace, usually a stone, brick, cement, or marble slab. It adds a layer of protection and can be used to store fireplace tools. You can include accessories around the hearth that give it a unique look. A large mirror, piece of artwork, or family portraits may be hung above the mantel to instantly change the aesthetic.
DECORATE WITH AN ARTISTIC TOUCH
Bring out your inner artist by placing a fabric runner on the mantel to complement the wall behind it. Adding small items like picture frames, vases, flowers, or candles are all accessories that can be easily changed out depending on the seasons or holidays. Whatever you decide to do to your fireplace, we’d love to hear about it. Show us your newly designed fireplace here!
Spare the Air was formed in 1991 by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to inform residents when the air quality is forecast to be harmful and to share information on ways to decrease air pollution. No Burn Days are also called “Winter Spare the Air” days.
In 2008, the Air District approved a rule that makes it illegal to burn firewood on days once a Winter Spare the Air alert is in effect. This guideline was adopted to protect public health.
During winter months, wood smoke is the major source of air pollution in the Bay Area, accounting for more than one-third of fine particulate substance pollution. On cool, peaceful days when there is an inversion layer of warm air acting as a cover over a layer of cold air, wood smoke can build up at ground level to harmful concentrations.
There are numerous things residents can do to decrease their impact on air quality over the winter, when these weather conditions endure. The first line of protection is to limit usage of wood-burning stoves, and ideally switch over to a different heating method, such as gas, or EPA-certified wood stoves.
CHECK FOR ALERTS BEFORE YOU BURN
Never fail to spot an alert by signing up for Winter Spare the Air Alerts. Modify your alert for text, email, or phone call. Winter Spare the Air Alerts will as well be posted to the Spare the Air and Air District websites and social media.
KEEP IN COMPLIANCE
Besides avoiding burning wood on Winter Spare the Air Days, there are additional provisions in the wood-burning rule.
Wood-burning devices are forbidden in new buildings constructed in the Bay Area. Gas-fueled fireplace, gas inserts, and electrical fireplaces are acceptable.
We want you to stay warm this winter, but make sure you first check if that day is a “no burn day” by visiting the Spare the Air website.
Nothing is more pleasing when the temperature drops than the soft amber blaze of a crackling fire. But before you light up that firewood, there are numerous steps you need to take to get your fireplace ready, and for excellent reason. Prepping your fireplace for fall can:
Improve the air quality in your house
Keep your home warm
Chimney preparation steps are given below:
ARRANGE A YEARLY INSPECTION
All chimneys should be examined and cleaned by a chimney cleaning company at least once a year. A careful cleaning will eliminate any buildup of creosote, an oily and extremely flammable byproduct of burning wood, gives you a safer fireplace.
CLEAN THE FIREBOX
Eliminate and clean the grate and other accessories that are inside the firebox. Vacuum or remove the ash and store it in a metal container with a sealed lid. There are several ways you can recycle the ash. You can use it in your backyard as a fertilizer, to dissolve ice, and even clean the fireplace doors, for example. Be sure to keep a small amount of ash. It will help with starting your initial fire of the season.
CHECK FOR CRACKS AND DAMAGE
Check for cracks and wobbly joints of the firebricks inside the fireplace, and check the external masonry for damage. Hire an expert mason to do any repairs—never try to repair firebrick with ordinary mortar, as the blend cannot stand up to high heat.
EXAMINE THE CHIMNEY CAP AND DAMPER
Ensure the fireplace damper is working accurately and that there is no wreckage preventing it from opening and closing. Make sure that the chimney cap is firmly attached and in good condition. The cap should comprise protective screening to keep birds, squirrels, and other pests from entering the chimney.
CLEAR AWAY TREE LIMBS
While you are outside examining the chimney cap, trim any overhanging tree limbs that may be squeezing on the chimney. Tree limbs can restrict the proper draft of the chimney and spoil the cap.
CLEAR OUT ASHES
Clean out the firebox once in a week, or whenever the ash is more than an inch deep. Coals can stay hot for up to three days, so ensure everything is completely cold. Remove or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose it outside—wood ashes are just right for garden beds and compost piles.
HOW TO PREP A GAS-BURNING FIREPLACE
Clean the blower
Check your gas-burning fireplace to see if it has a blower. If it does, clean it. Distinct from furnace blowers, the blowers of gas-burning fireplaces do not have a filtering system to stop buildup. Dust buildup can cause early wearing of the bearings. Dust can insulate the motor, which prevents it from cooling correctly, eventually leading to motor failure.
Before every season, change the batteries in any remote transmitters and receivers, if appropriate. Also, replace the batteries and examine any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.
Your chimney plays a very significant role in the secure use of your fireplace or wood-burning heater. Many homeowners are amazed to hear that poorly-maintained flues and chimneys are in reality one of the common causes for home fires. When it comes to your firewood or gas-burning machine, there are plenty of parts that go into keeping your home safe, including the chimney liner.
HOW DOES IT GET DONE?
Ceramic coating sprayed within your chimney blocks and plugs any gap or cracks, and coats an even ceramic layer which provides the correct passageway for the smoke and any harmful emissions to disband from the fire directly out the crown of your chimney. It also controls any further acid corrosion and prevents damage being done to the flue which not only ensures your chimney is protected to use but also puts your mind at rest that no expensive repairs will be needed.
It is applied with a sprayer. On the vertical walls, i.e. most of the chimney, it should be applied from base to top because as the material comes out of the sprayer it runs down the chimney and gets absorbed into the chimney underneath the area is working on. The top requires extra attention or it’d only obtain one pass. Afterward than you come to an end about 15 minutes’ worth, do it another time just to make sure the entire structure gets a good soaking.
BENEFITS OF CERAMIC COATING
Avoid Overheating of the Chimney and Lengthens Its Lifespan
Seals crack preventing heat loss, considerably saving heat energy
Excellent resistance to powdering
Forms gas-tight surface
Increases the security of a home, advance the operation of the fireplace and guard the smoke chamber
SEALING THE CHIMNEY BREAST
Since the chimney breast has a more brutal exposure to rain and particularly snow, it needs more coats of Ceramic coating. Most Ceramic coatings used these days are water-based material. This is for many reasons: First is that water-based materials cost significantly less than solvent-based materials. They are safer to dispatch, store and use and they are completely adequate to the task. The exception to the advantages is on non-vertical surfaces.
SEALING A CHIMNEY CROWN
The chimney crown is a nearly flat surface and it’s completely made of concrete or mortar. It shouldn’t be made of mortar, but there is a good possibility that it is anyway. Based on what you’ve just read about ceramic coating the chimney breast, you’d logically think that you’d just use a solvent-based waterproofing material there.
For Ceramic Coating services contact Irish Sweep today!