Month: July 2016

Don’t Get Burned!

Don’t Get Burned!


Sooner or later, winter is going to be here again. Once the cold is back, you’re sure to want to use your fireplace to heat your house and make it a more snug, comfy environment for you and your family.

But unfortunately, your chimney can be a health hazard if it isn’t properly maintained. Poorly maintained chimneys can be the cause of many health related problems, including a higher susceptibility to bronchitis, and even carbon monoxide poisoning in some cases.

But one of the other major problems associated with the use of a fireplace, is that it dramatically increases the risk of a major fire that could burn down your house. In order to avoid this from happening, you should be taking care of your chimney properly. Even if your chimney looks good from the outside, it really doesn’t mean that using it isn’t dangerous. Of course, the fact that fire is involved in using a chimney automatically predisposes you to a certain amount of risk, but it can be significantly reduced by having your chimney inspected by a professional chimney sweep.

Although getting your chimney cleaned could even be life saving, there’s been an unfortunate amount of chimney sweep scammers. In order to protect yourself from being taken advantage of, you should only work with professional chimney sweeps who have training and experience in keeping your chimney safer.

What Do Chimney Sweeps Do?


A professional chimney sweep is trained to inspect your chimney for any problems like soot and ash buildup as well as being able to find and fix other issues that might be present. After an inspection, your chimney sweep should be able to tell you whether or not your chimney could be allowing too much smoke to enter your house through your fireplace and if your chimney fulfills all the necessary safety requirements. Other potential problems could be bird’s nests or other obstructions in your chimney as well as loose bricks or cracks.

Why Are Chimney Inspections Important?

It comes as no surprise that according to the US Fire Administration, 31% of fires start in residential areas, and 7% of residential fires are caused by heating. While that might not seem like much, this statistic represents so much more than just a number for families who have been the victims of chimney fires. It’s sad to know that much of the loss caused by chimney fires could’ve been prevented if home owners exercised the necessary caution when using their chimneys.

As a general rule, it’s best to have a level one chimney inspection performed on an annual basis before you start using your chimney again. Not only will ash, soot and other debris have accumulated in your chimney from the previous year, as has been mentioned before, birds like to make nests in chimneys and this could result in a big fire.

If you recently moved to your home, a level two chimney inspection would be a better choice. If you’ve never used your fireplace in your new home, there isn’t really a way for you to know how safe it is. You can’t simply assume that the previous residents knew the chimney was safe, even if they did use the fireplace.

Other Safety Precautions

Besides having your chimney cleaned out every year before winter, there are other measures you should take to make your chimney safer. For instance, you should always keep any flammable objects away from your fireplace; this includes your pile of wood, books, furniture, curtains and even carpets. If you have small children or dogs, always check for any toys or other objects placed too close to the fireplace before lighting it.

To reduce the risk of a fire starting close to an open fireplace (one that doesn’t have a glass door), you could place mesh screen in front of it.

Apart from keeping the area surrounding your fireplace clean, you should also be on the lookout for branches that are too close to your chimney, especially if you have trees that are very close to your house.

Another good safety measure, is to have a fire extinguisher placed close to your fireplace so that you can easily put out any flames that could result in a dangerous fire. While fire extinguishers aren’t the most pleasing objects to look at, and probably won’t fit your décor, this safety measure could prove to be life saving.

Lastly, if you have a fireplace in your house, you should also have both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, especially in your bedrooms. Carbon monoxide is a completely odorless gas that can be deadly to inhale. Because you can’t smell it, many cases of people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning happen while the victims are asleep.

Hopefully you’ll have realized practicing proper safety measures regarding the use of your chimney is essential for the health and safety of your family. Nothing should discourage you from having your chimney inspected, as this is a very good measure to take for preventing a chimney fire and other hazards.

However, you should only allow a professional chimney sweep to perform an inspection and clean your chimney, as this isn’t a matter to be taken lightly. Although the best chimney sweep services aren’t necessarily cheap, it’s better to pay for a job well done than to be lured into a scam by promises of unrealistically low prices and end up getting nothing at all.

At Chimney Sweeps West, we are dedicated to help you care for the health of your family. Our chimney sweeps are trained professionals who will deliver only the best service. We understand the risks involved when it comes to chimney fires and we have the necessary skills and equipment to perform thorough inspections so that you know your chimney is safe before you start using it this winter.

Summer House Maintenance Many People Overlook

2018 Best Ways to Improve Your Knoxville Home’s Exterior

Summer House Maintenance Many People Overlook

Hands of Handyman with a tool belt.

House maintenance is a necessary job. By keeping your house properly maintained, you’ll be saving both time and money you’d have to spend if a problem occurred. House maintenance also ensures your place is always looking at its best.

But there are many areas people often miss when doing an annual check up and repair, and depending on the amount of work that needs to be done in your home, it could take a whole day to get around to all your home repair tasks. If you don’t have time to do your own home repairs, it’s always possible to hire a handyman to do these things for you.

At Chimney Sweeps West in Knoxville, we have a reliable team of handymen to help you survive your summer house maintenance.

Air Conditioning

Summer can be uncomfortably hot and you’re likely to use your air conditioning a lot during this time. To keep your air condition functioning optimally, you need to check and replace the filter. Doing this will help keep the air cleaner and might help to avoid allergies.

If you’re hiring a handyman to help you with your home repairs, you could also ask that he replace any other parts of your air conditioning system that might not seem to be functioning properly and have him clean the air conditioning drain line.

The Water Heater

Water in certain places is often very mineral rich. Because of this, hot water heaters can accumulate sediment build up over time, which shortens the life of the heater and raises your electricity bill. To lengthen the life of your own heater, you can drain it once a year so that sediment can be removed from the tank. But don’t try to drain your water heater if you don’t know how to, doing so could result in burns, electrical shock and damage to your heater. If you’re unsure of how to clean our your hot water heater, it’s better to ask a handyman to help you with the task. You can even ask your handyman to inspect the heater for other problems that could be potentially dangerous.

Inspect Your Driveway

Cracks and holes are prone to forming in driveways. While they don’t really pause a hazard to your health, they are unsightly and can lead to further damage if they’re not repaired. There are various things you could do to improve the appearance of your driveway, such as pressure washing it and filling cracks or holes.

Cleaning Gutters

If you think a few leaves and twigs in your gutters are harmless, think again. Regular gutter cleaning is the single most important key to avoiding major and expensive home repairs.

If you think a few leaves and twigs in your gutters are harmless, think again. Regular gutter cleaning is the single most important key to avoiding major and expensive home repairs.

Cleaning the gutters isn’t always overlooked, but few people like doing it. As a result, gutters often have a lot of organic rubble in them. Keeping your gutters clean helps to insure that water drains from your roof properly when it rains, failing to clean them out could lead to leaks in your ceiling and other undesirable consequences. If you have a fear of heights, then don’t hesitate to call Chimney Sweeps West in Knoxville to help you clean out your gutters.

Window Sealant Replacement

You won’t need to replace the sealant of your windows every year, but sometimes sealant that’s grown old and has started breaking is left without repairing. This is a big mistake, as the sealant is meant to keep the window in place and keep your home free of water leaks and dust. The worst thing that could happen as a result of not checking window sealant and maintaining it, is that one of your windows could literally fall out when there’s no longer enough sealant to hold it in place. Windows don’t often fall out, but it’s not completely unheard of and it would result in broken glass pieces in your yard or home.

Find And Fix Wall Cracks

Cracks in the wall are unsightly and could potentially become problematic in the future. An essential part of your annual home repairs should involve finding cracks in the interior and exterior walls of your house and fixing them. This step is especially important if you live in a brick house, but other houses could also develop wall cracks that could be very harmful.

Check Your Deck

You’re likely to be spending a lot of time outside during the summer, so it’s important to keep your deck in good condition. Problems with your deck might include rotting wood, cracked boards and worn through varnish or sealant. Should there be any problems with your deck. It would save you both time and effort to get a handyman to fix it for your.

Replacing boards and resealing a deck is a task that requires both time and expertise, it isn’t advisable to try doing it yourself if you don’t have any experience working with wood, as you may end up choosing the wrong kind of wooden board or color of varnish.

Roof Repairs

It’s important to look at all the tiles on your roof on an annual basis. Loose or broken tiles can be replaced without having to replace to whole roof, but it can sometimes be necessary to

Water tends to travels before it drips down visibly. Interestingly, a leak can come out twenty feet away from the original leak in a roof.

Water tends to travels before it drips down visibly. Interestingly, a leak can come out twenty feet away from the original leak in a roof.

redo a roof entirely. If your roof tiles are breaking regularly, and often need to be replaced, it might be time to have your roof re-tiled.

There are countless of things to check when doing your annual home repairs, if you feel uncertain about what needs to be done in your own home, feel free have a professional handyman assess and repair your home. Ask to have a complete check and repair done in all the usual problem areas if you don’t know where to start. Handymen know where home repairs are often needed, and will gladly help you find and fix the problems you might not even have been able to think of yourself.