What many homeowners don’t know is that chimney fires can happen without anyone’s awareness. When you become aware that a chimney fire has been eating your home from  inside the walls, it may not be the first time. This is part of why prevention is so important!

 

Some signs that there has already been a chimney fire:

♦ ‘Puffy’ creosote, that’s cloud shaped and expanded beyond its normal form

♦ Creosote build up with rainbow colored streaks

♦ Any metal components that show warping (discoloring and distortion): the damper, metal smoke chamber, connector pipe or metal chimney, rain cap

♦ Flue tiles with large chunks missing, or that have cracks or evidence of collapse

♦ Flakes and pieces of creosote on the roof or ground nearby

♦ Burn marks on roofing material damaged by hot creosote

♦ Cracks in exterior masonry

♦ Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

 

If your home has already had a chimney fire, there is a reason it’s happened, and you’re in danger of it happening again until the cause is identified and addressed. Causes of chimney fires all have to do with structural safety and blockages or build-up in the chimney. The only way to be sure your fireplace is safe to use is to have regular chimney cleaning services.

 

How Can Chimney Cleaning Services Prevent These Fires?

There are two main tasks chimney cleaning services can do for you: a chimney inspection and sweeping/cleaning your chimney. If you have concerns about fire safety, it’s best to do both. While inspection is important to identify evidence of previous fires and risk for future fires, it’s the cleaning that removes fuel for fires: creosote and debris.

Always be sure that you have working smoke alarms in appropriate places throughout your home, and that their batteries are fresh. With a little diligence and annual chimney cleaning services, you can minimize your risk for chimney fires.

earthquake preparedness, earthquake safety planning

 

Did you know why chimney inspectors use cameras to evaluate safety? Anyone who isn’t using a visual inspection from inside the flue is not gaining the information needed to assess fire safety. That’s why Irish Sweep uses the Chim Scan Lighthouse camera.  

Why Hire a Sweep With a Chimney Camera?

To know if your chimney is safe for use, having a camera-assisted inspection is the only way. This is because any other method of assessing the safety of your chimney is akin to making a guess. Not even an “educated guess” because without visual information about the inside of your flue, the education on your specific chimney is missing.

 

 

With the lighthouse camera, the entire interior of your chimney is made visible with a navigable camera. It can take still pictures as well as continuously display during the inspection. It can be backed up or moved forward, and offers a 360 degree view. The camera itself doesn’t diagnose or evaluate safety, instead human chimney experts use it to gather needed information. There are still not computers as intelligent as licensed chimney sweeps!

What do they look for?

Some of the things a sweep looks for during an inspection include cracks in the clay tile, gaps between the joints of the tile, any potential defects, and creosote build up. They may encounter birds or rodent nests or other blockages as well. The sweep’s job is to fully assess the condition of your chimney. This includes the surface, the structure, and any blockages to the airway. The next steps may be a chimney cleaning, repair, or just a cozy fire.

We want to find these things to protect your home. The camera’s view can help you evaluate safety from building fires, build up from toxic gasses, and the danger of a spontaneously collapsing chimney, among other things.

At the Irish Sweep, we use camera technology for all chimney inspections. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in the last year, you’re taking a risk that becomes more dangerous as time goes on. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and cleaning, so you can enjoy a stress-free night by the fire.

For more about the specific model of camera we use, visit: https://www.chimscan.net/lighthouse-camera.html

At the Irish Sweep, we pride ourselves on doing the highest quality work. We accomplish this through having excellent training and experience, but also through using top quality materials. One of the truly remarkable materials we use is HeatShield cerfractory flue sealant for resurfacing flues.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, problems such as gaps, cracks and spalling in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, because your chimney can no longer perform its intended function – to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside. It’s because of this that the inner surface of your flue is so important.

HeatSheild is a durable coating applied by experts, like us at the Irish Sweep, to restore safety and efficiency to your chimney’s flue by filling in gaps and cracks. This can salvage a chimney flue that would otherwise have needed removed and rebuilt or retired.

The key to a safe chimney is a flue that properly contains dangerous gases, heat and flames. The rest of your home isn’t a safe place for these elements to be, and your flue is the barrier that protects you. But only until it weakens and develops cracks, spalled clay, and deteriorated mortar. This used to mean the end of life for a flue, but HeatSheild allows us to renew your flue safely.

 

How Does HeatShield Sealant Work?

To start restoring your chimney’s flue by resurfacing the interior, we make a custom foam applicator plug. It’s then placed at the bottom of the flue, attached to a winch on top the chimney. When the applicator it pulled up with the winch, it evenly applies the lining to flue.

First, a “tie coat” material is applied to the flue walls as the plug is pulled upward by the winch. The “tie coat” cleans any remaining dust in your flue and acts as a primer for the HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant.

After the tie coat dries, we apply the HeatShield® material to the flue at about ¼” thickness. Our unique application method is known as “slip casting” or “slip cast extrusion”.

We then verify that your new chimney lining has a complete seal and is smoke-tight by using cameras and video scanning your completed repair.