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.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines this word as, “Chimney and stovepipe deposits originating as condensed wood smoke, including tars, oils.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as, “A dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from especially wood smoke on the walls of a chimney.”
In my experience, I find most people do not realize that creosote is the by-product of anything that is burned in a fireplace or wood-burning stove or insert. This material is flammable and is the major reason to have a chimney cleaned.
In most cases, it is impossible to remove all the creosote in a chimney. Creosote can be stone hard and burns into the surfaces of a flue. But creosote is amazing because it oxidizes and changes chemical composition so that hard, burned on material will become cleanable in some amount of time.
The commitment to purchase a gas fireplace insert is expensive. Mind you, you will receive true heat value for years to come once you make that monetary investment. But some people feel they cannot bare that expense and want an alternative choice and many folks would like just to install a set of artificial gas logs.
The manufacturers of artificial gas log sets state clearly in their installation directions that a chimney must be suitable for wood burning.
In order for us to determine if your fireplace and chimney are safe for this use, we must clean and inspect the interior surfaces of your chimney with our remote vision system (a chimney camera). With this tool, we can check the condition of the clay liners and their related mortar joints. If the clay liners in the chimney are fractured or damaged in some way and if the mortar joints are missing or deteriorated the chimney is not suitable for wood burning and in turn not safe for use with a set of artificial gas logs.
If we discover any of these defects our typical recommendations are to line the chimney with stainless steel or recommend the installation of a gas burning or wood burning fireplace insert.
The codes, standards and installation directions clearly state that anytime there is a change in the fuel source in a fireplace and chimney, the chimney must be cleaned prior to the installation of any new product.
Inserts are either gas or wood burning, could be pellet but we see very few of these in the Bay Area. They are a highly engineered metal box, fabricated in a factory and designed to be clean burning and they slide into the firebox of either a masonry or factory built fireplace.
The manufacturer of each of these inserts will specify the venting materials required for the insert, the clearances to combustibles and provide installation directions for each model they manufacture. These appliances have all been tested and approved by some testing laboratory.
First of all, let me be clear, artificial gas log sets can only be installed in a fireplace that is suitable for wood burning. The only way we can determine the fireplace is fire safe is to clean the chimney and then look at the interior surfaces with our remote vision camera system.
These sets come in various sizes and include ceramic logs of your choice with a burn pan, decorative silica sand, volcanic cinders, dual effect embers, a pedestal grate and damper stop.
A plumbing contactor is required to install a gas valve on the floor or wall near the fireplace and a gas supply line into the firebox.
Vent-free artificial gas log sets are illegal in the State of California.
You may already know this, but being a chimney sweep takes a lot of education and skill. A worker off the street wouldn’t be ready to understand the details of the work or have the skills to do the job.
Why? Because a chimney sweep doesn’t just clean chimneys, although that alone takes significant safety training. They also detect damage and danger in masonry and can repair or install components of a safe, functional fireplace and chimney system.
Masonry work, structural safety, and other construction-type needs often become known during a fireplace and chimney inspection. A good chimney sweep is ready to not only identify these issues, but do upgrades as needed or desired. That’s why it’s important to have a construction background.
Sal of the Irish Sweep has a California State Contractor’s License, a Masonry License, and a specialty license for metal-related work like installation of a wood burning insert. This way you can skip the step of having a chimney specialist explain what you need to a construction specialist. Therefore one highly skilled expert is always best.
CONTINUING CHIMNEY SWEEP EDUCATION
Some certifications and licenses are required to be a chimney sweep. It’s not required to continually seek out new skills and refresh old ones, like the Irish Sweep does with continuing education. Our awareness of new technology, techniques and gear keeps your experience with chimney care top quality.
Make no mistake, because the skills and knowledge of a chimney sweep are extensive. If you have any questions or need to schedule chimney or dryer vent servicing, contact the Irish Sweep today.