Month: November 2016

Chimney Sweeps Prevent Fires

You may think it unnecessary to have someone come clean your chimney. Fire cleanses right? This is not the case. There is dangerous build up in your chimney, and this article goes over how they help your house stay safe from the sparks from your fireplace.

You may find it odd to hire someone so that your fireplace doesn’t produce fire, but if your flue is blocked or your brickwork isn’t solid, your house could be in danger. If your masonry is cracked in a wood-burning fireplace, sparks could escape between the fissures and set fire to your house.
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What Not To Burn


Cold winter weather is back. With the return of the chilly season, you’re likely to once again use your fireplace on a regular basis for heating. Having a fireplace can supply enough heat in your home, even if you live in some of the coldest parts of the country. The good thing about heating with fire is that it’s considered to be a highly affordable alternative to electrical heating.

But even when heating with fire, there are things you should know. The kinds of wood you use can have a huge impact on both the efficiency and safety of using fire to heat your home. Better wood will prevent damage to your chimney and should give off less smoke and sparks as it burns.

Use Only Well-Seasoned Woods

Don’t ever use green woods that have not yet dried properly. Woods that aren’t well-seasoned will cause more creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote buildup can eventually block your chimney completely.

There are a few good indicators you can use to determine the dryness of your firewood. A well seasoned wood should have all, or most, of the following properties:

  • Cracks in the wood are a good indication of dryness, but shouldn’t be the only thing you check for. Green woods can have cracks while well-seasoned, dry woods can have no cracks at all.
  • Splitting a piece of wood to feel whether the inside is damp is a reliable method to check if it’s ready to burn. Wood that feels even slightly damp should be left to dry out more before you use it in your fireplace.
  • When the wood dries, it’ll darken from white or cream to a brownish gray or yellow depending on the kind of wood you’re using.
  • Properly dried wood will sound somewhat hollow when you hit them against one another. They’ll make a hollow thump. Greener woods, however, will sound more dull when you strike two pieces together.
  • Burning a piece can be a reliable way to tell if the wood is still too wet. Green wood will hiss as it burns and often makes more crackling noises than dry wood. Furthermore, dry wood will catch fire more easily than wet wood.

If you still feel unsure about how to tell if wood is ready to burn, you could invest in a wood moisture meter. Wood moisture meters are a reliable way to tell whether your wood is dry and they’re easy to use.

Stacking Your Firewood

During spring, summer and fall, you should aim to stack green firewood in a way that will allow it to dry more easily. There are a few things that’ll help the wood season more quickly.

  • Don’t stack unseasoned wood too densely. It’s better to stack pieces of different sizes together so that there’s plenty of ventilation room between each piece. Stacking your firewood should be nothing like playing a game of tetris!
  • Your stacks should preferably be on the smaller side. A big stack with many rows might look impressive, but if some pieces aren’t exposed to open air, your firewood will dry unevenly. Pieces closer to the center of your stack will stay wet for longer.
  • Keep your stack where there’s plenty of sunshine. You want the wood to dry and prevent any mold from growing.
  • Avoid stacking your firewood directly on the ground in your garden. Wood that’s dried a bit can be stored in a roofed shed that isn’t closed on every side. You need some air movement to help wood dry. Unseasoned woods stored in an unventilated area can cause mold to grow, which is a potential health hazard.

Piece Size

For the best results, the pieces of wood you burn should be about 14-18 inches long. But your preferred length will vary depending on the width of your fireplace. To make stacking a fire easier, pieces should be more or less equal in length and they shouldn’t be too long to fit properly in your fireplace.

The diameter of the pieces you use will also differ. If you want a fire that stays worm for a long time without needing to tend to it often, most of the pieces you use should be larger. Ideally, your fires should, however, consist of smaller pieces and larger pieces. Smaller pieces catch fire more easily and will burn faster than larger pieces. When measured across the widest part, the width of your pieces should vary between 3-6 inches.

Trees That Make Good Firewood

The tree species you burn for firewood will have significant impact on the way your fire burns. For fireplaces you should try to use woods that are denser. The best choices for firewood will be woods that burn hot enough to warm your house, but not so hot it damages the inside of your chimney. Good woods to burn include birch, oak, hickory, maple, ash and beech. Woods that are still good, but somewhat less good include cherry, fir and walnut.

Avoid burning chestnut, spruce and hemlock as these woods often smoke and spark a lot while burning. Soft woods, like pine, are good when you want to start a fire, but not ideal to use as fire fuel once you’ve got a fire going because they tend to smoke more than other options.

However, if you have some wood you’re unsure about, it won’t do much harm to burn some of it and check for smoke and sparks as it burns. Don’t continue using a wood as your main source of fire fuel if you find that the wood gives off too much smoke or sparks a lot.

Because it’s already winter, you won’t be able to dry woods yourself anymore. Check that any wood you buy is already well-seasoned and that the pieces are a good size. Buying wood from a good supplier is the best way to know your firewood will be of a high quality.

Anatomy of Your Fireplace

Have you ever wondered how your chimney actually works? How is the anatomy of your chimney affecting your heating ability? Or maybe you just want to see the hole Santa has to slide down.

Since the dawn of time, humans have gathered around the open fire for a sense of safety and community, and the fireplace is still the focus of family living in many homes, especially around the holidays.
Here is the full article about how your chimney works.

How to Maintain a Fireplace and Chimney

There are lots of things you can do for your chimney to keep it in top working order in between inspections. This article covers the basic ways to care for your chimney on a day to day basis.
For simple cleaning, start by removing the ashes from the fireplace. During the cold season, make sure that the ashes don’t build up to a depth greater than about 2″. After the cold season, remove all of the ashes from the fireplace.
Click here to read the full article on how to care for your chimney.

Consider a Wood Fireplace Insert to Spruce Up Your Hearth

You cherish everything about your conventional masonry fireplace with the exception of its absence of heating proficiency. In spite of the fact that you appreciate sitting by the crackling wood fire and noticing the aroma of smoldering wood, you are burnt out on your heating bills expanding every winter. Sadly, a large portion of the heat delivered in your older fireplace is going out the chimney, so you are using different approaches to heat your home, which can get costly. Chimney Sweeps West can help you transform your conventional fireplace into a more effective heating apparatus with another wood insert. We might want to inform you regarding the advantages of a wood-smoldering fireplace insert and also the significance of having this heating apparatus professionally introduced.

The Benefits of a Wood Insert

Increase the heating proficiency of your home and diminishing your heating costs

Since the normal proficiency of a customary fireplace is only 10 percent, it is anything but difficult to enhance with another heating apparatus. You might be astonished at the amount of an expansion you will get from a wood fireplace insert. More up to date wood inserts have a heating effectiveness rate of somewhere around 65 and 80 percent! These inserts have water/air proof fixed entryways and utilize fans to circle the heated air all through your home. They additionally utilize modernization that permits wood to smolder all the more gradually, which gives more heat. This incredibly lessens how much cash you spend to heat your home. You won’t need to purchase as much firewood since you will get longer enduring flames with less wood.

Decrease the measure of pollution

Conventional fireplaces can discharge contaminating outflows that can hurt nature, however the new innovation used to assemble wood inserts permits wood to copy all the more gradually, as well as a great deal more neatly. The U.S. Ecological Protection Agency (EPA) even confirms numerous models of wood inserts as spotless smoldering heating apparatuses.

Enhance the stylistic theme in your home

You will have a wide range of choices of sizes and styles of wood inserts to make a more alluring point of convergence in your home. Whether you incline toward a work of art or contemporary look, Chimney Sweeps West knows you will locate the ideal style for your home stylistic theme.

The Importance of Professional Installation

In spite of the fact that you may consider yourself a jack of all trades, there is considerably more to introducing a wood fireplace insert than simply setting it in the fireplace opening. We emphatically suggest that you have a fireplace professional introduce your wood insert. Your old masonry chimney will be too expansive for your new insert, and to avoid draft issues, you should have a stainless steel liner introduced with the insert that will give an effectively measured vent to the machine. This legitimately measured vent will make your wood fireplace insert work a great deal more effectively and securely than it would with the first pipe in the chimney.

Need to take in more about wood fireplace inserts? Get in touch with us at Chimney Sweeps West to converse with our staff about how this heating machine will spare you cash and increment the heating productivity of your home.

How To Hire A Chimney Sweep

Are you worried about the state of your chimney after not using it all summer? Maybe an animal has made a nest? Or there is a more serious problem that you can’t see. You need to hire a chimney inspector but aren’t sure how. This article from the Chimney Safety Institute of America has you covered!
There are more than 1,700 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps located within North America. To ensure that homeowners receive a certified sweep at every job, all chimney sweeping companies promoting the credential are required to have a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep on every job site
Click here to read the full article.

How Much Does a Chimney Sweep Cost?

Are you considering hiring a chimney sweep but aren’t sure if you need to? You don’t really want to spend the money if it isn’t necessary right? This article from HomeAdvisor goes over the reasons you should have your chimney cleaned or inspected.
Having a wood fire burning in your fireplace all winter long can save you on your electric bills, not to mention the nice homey feel it can give your house. However when smoke goes up a chimney, it leaves behind ash and carbon residue. These residues need to be cleaned out periodically, or they can result in chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and lack of airflow through the chimney to the outside. You may wonder what the cost is to have a chimney sweep clean out your chimney, and a number of factors influence the price for cleaning it.
Get all the information here.