Category: Chimney Care

Clean Your Chimney Before Santa Arrives

You might not realize this, but cleaning your chimney is an important part of keeping your home safe during winter, not only for Santa’s sake, but also your family’s. During a chimney cleaning, your professional chimney sweep will remove creosote buildup and check to see if there’s any damage inside your chimney.

What Causes Chimney Fires?

There are multiple things that cause chimney fires, but the most common causes of chimney fires tend to include the following:

  • Creosote buildup: Even though you don’t always see the inside of your chimney, it gets dirty like any other part of your home. And unfortunately the only way to prevent creosote from building up in your chimney, is to never use your fireplace. When this layer of buildup in your chimney can cause sparks that can lead to a chimney fire.
  • Rubble: Your chimney is the perfect place for rubble, like leaves, small twigs and other things to accumulate. Birds and small mammals also have a tendency to make nests in chimneys. When you use your fireplace, this rubble can catch fire.
  • Structural problems: In order to channel smoke and harmful gases from your home, your chimney needs to be structurally right. The chimney needs to be build large enough to accommodate the size of your fireplace. Your chimney also needs to be well-maintained. If the inside of your chimney has cracks, or the lining of your chimney is damaged, this could pose an additional risk.
  • Irresponsible fireplace use: It’s recommended that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year, but if you aren’t using your fireplace responsibly, even an annual chimney inspections might not be enough. To prevent chimney damage, you should avoid making your fires too hot, as this can cause the inside lining of your chimney walls to crack. Using unseasoned wood or not opening the damper wide enough can also be problematic, as this can cause creosote to build up in your chimney faster, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.

By having annual chimney inspections and learning more about what woods are good to burn in your chimney, as well as how to keep airflow in your chimney at an optimal level, you’ll be able to use your chimney knowing you did everything you could to ensure chimney and fireplace safety.


Signs Your Chimney Needs Cleaning

It’s good to have your chimney cleaned once a year, so if you can’t remember the last time your chimney was cleaned, call a chimney professional and book a chimney cleaning as soon as possible. To avoid a chimney fire, it’s best to not use your fireplace before your chimney isn’t all cleaned up.

But even if you regularly have your chimney cleaned, creosote can build up at a faster pace if you use your fireplace a lot. A bad odor coming from the fireplace is a pretty clear sign that your chimney needs to be cleaned again. The bad news is that chimney odor can actually be worse in the summer. Even though you probably don’t use your chimney during summer, the high humidity that comes with the warmer months can help bad odors from the creosote buildup in your chimney to travel through the air better. To avoid your chimney from getting smelly over summer, it’s good to have it cleaned right before winter ends.

The Truth About Chimney Fires

You might think that chimney fires always wreak havoc on a home, but the truth is that chimney fires often go undetected. Here’s the scary thing, if you had a chimney fire you didn’t even know about, there’s a pretty good chance your chimney will catch fire again while you use it in the future. Signs that you’ve had a chimney fire that went undetected include things like a damaged and discolored chimney cap, creosote flakes on your roof or the ground, puffy creosote in the chimney and other damages to the chimney itself and surrounding areas of your roof.

If you suspect you might have had a chimney fire, schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection as soon as possible. Don’t use your fireplace before you a chimney professional has had a look at your chimney. While things might get a bit chilly, the comfy heat from your fireplace isn’t worthwhile if you’re using it while your chimney is damaged.

Too many homeowners become complacent when it comes to chimney safety, and unfortunately this complacency has cost many lives in the past. Don’t allow your family to become victims!

Schedule Your Chimney Cleaning

No matter how good or bad the current condition of your chimney, Chimney Sweeps West is here to help. While we’re sure you’d agree that cleaning chimneys isn’t the most glamorous job around, we believe in the work we do because we know the value of chimney safety for fire prevention. Cuddling up in front of a warm fire in the winter should be enjoyable, not stressful. With our chimney care services, it can be.

How Often Does a Chimney Need to Be Cleaned?

As indicated by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), chimneys should be cleaned once there is 1/8″ of creosote as well as residue development inside the chimney liner. As per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), all chimneys ought to be cleaned once per year, no matter what. So which is correct, and does everybody need to get their fireplace cleaned and reviewed, regardless of whether the chimney is not really utilized? This article is here to answer these questions for you.


What is associated with a Chimney Cleaning?

A chimney sweep evacuates creosote, residue, and blockages from chimney liners, fireboxes, smoke chambers, and dampers. Keeping the chimney framework spotless and free of hindrances is important for various reasons, which are all connected with security, the operation, or the life of your fireplace framework. Basically a fireplace which isn’t kept up can turn into a fire risk and can decay to the point that repairs are very expensive.

When you consume wood in the chimney, there is constantly some measure of creosote that is kept in the chimney lining. In any case, when you utilize certain kinds of wood, the development is far more rapid. For example, untreated wood is brimming with dampness and doesn’t burn clean. Pine additionally makes creosote in the vent develop quickly, which makes it an poor sort of wood to consume.

On the off chance that there is a development of creosote in the fireplace, it’s conceivable that the combustible material will burst into flames, and it could spread from the chimney to the house. In the event that a coating shows up in the vent in any time, even under 1/8″, the CSIA concurs that cleaning shouldn’t wait, as a result of how very combustible the substance is.

Why is a yearly Chimney Inspection Important?

Other than getting your chimney cleaned yearly, it’s essential to have an expert check to make certain the framework isn’t in a condition of deterioration. A broken chimney is a fire danger and ought to be repaired before utilizing the chimney.

What if the Fireplace is Rarely Used?

The NFPA prescribes that all fireplaces be cleaned and assessed every year just in case the framework is damaged, it makes a fire danger. It’s best not to assume that a chimney framework is in great working condition, regardless of the conditions.

When Should a Chimney be Inspected?

Other than getting your chimney investigated yearly, whenever you see unmistakable indications of damage, an examination ought to be planned at the earliest opportunity. In the event that you redesign your framework by including a chimney insert, for instance, it’s best to get a review to ensure the framework is working correctly.

Many individuals wait until the point when cool climate is around to get an inspection, which implies that chimney sweeps are very busy. The best arrangement is to get your chimney cleaned and reviewed in spring or summer, not just to get a hop on the bustling season, but also to give time for repairs, if any are required.

Chimneys are a brilliant addition for any home, and a yearly cleaning and investigation of the framework is the most ideal approach to keep the chimney from turning into a risky fire danger. To plan a yearly assessment, please call our chimney experts for the best administration accessible.

Chimney Cleaning Importance: Safety tips for before you spark up the logs this winter

With natural gas and propane costs rising, you’ll likely be looking to the old chimney this winter to help cut your home-warming bills. In any case, before you start up the logs, note that chimneys and chimneys are associated with 42 percent of all home fires. So first ensure yours is up to snuff by following the security tips underneath.

Reasons to Call a Chimney Sweep

Reasons to Call a Chimney Sweep

In case you’re new to the universe of chimneys, you may not know precisely what a chimney sweep does. Like the name infers, these experts clear (i.e., clean) fireplaces. Yet, many likewise perform other critical assignments, for example, diagnosing issues and making repairs and substitutions. Knowing what a chimney sweep does now, we need to discuss reasons to get one of these specialists out to your home.

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There’s water inside the firebox. If you have a stack top set up to keep rain from entering the fireplace, in the event that you see water in your firebox, it implies there’s a break some place. Water that gets into a firebox may come through breaks in the blocks and mortar of the stack. Serious and costly harm will happen in the long run if the issue isn’t settled, and in the greater part of cases, only a professional chimney sweep can accurately diagnose where the rupture exists and its degree.

Smoke is going into the house. In the event that the chimney damper is open and smoke is filling the room, there might be something blocking the inside of the stack. An assortment of flotsam and jetsam that is found in a gust of wind or tumbles from trees may have gotten in there. Little creatures are known to fabricate homes in chimneys. Smoke in the room additionally might be the consequence of downdrafts, which can be caused by a fireplace that is too short or a pipe that is too wide. In either case, a professional chimney sweep can rapidly find what’s wrong and furnish you with an answer.

You’ve had a chimney fire. Not all fireplace flames can be seen, but they are all equipped for doing genuine harm. In the event that you ever hear a strange splitting or popping clamor or the sound of thundering originating from the chimney while being used, or if you see it’s creating an incredible measure of dark, thick smoke, you have to promptly douse the fire in the firebox and call emergency administrations. From that point onward, call a chimney sweep to survey the harm and give your fireplace an approval before you utilize it once more.

Proficient chimney sweeps, similar to those at Chimney Sweeps West, have particular hardware and training empowering them to effectively and securely perform yearly reviews, a wide range of repairs and, obviously, careful smokestack cleanings.

Are Chimney Caps Important?

Are Chimney Caps Important?

Not every house with a chimney has a chimney cap fitted. And despite the fact that chimney caps aren’t very expensive, homeowners often neglect having one installed, believing they aren’t important to the overall function of the chimney.

However, if more homeowners knew the value of chimney caps, they wouldn’t be so reluctant about getting them. The relatively low investment of getting a chimney cap, could literally save thousands of dollars down the line.

Not quite sure whether getting a chimney cap is necessary? Here’s why you should have a chimney cap installed on your home this winter.


Keep Animals out of Your Chimney

Birds love to make their nest in your chimney. But birds aren’t even the only problem, small mammals such as raccoons and squirrels also like to investigate the space inside your chimney.

Animals are especially prone to making their home in your chimney during the cold of winter. That’s because the heat from your fireplace makes the chimney nice and warm, offering the little animals a welcoming space to build their nests. Generally it doesn’t even take too long for a squirrel or bird to build a nest in your chimney. Before you know it, your home will have some new inhabitants in the chimney!

But as you might have guessed already, the warm and cozy home your chimney offers won’t be comfortable for very long. As soon as you use your fireplace again, smoke and sparks will travel up your chimney, potentially killing the little animals who didn’t know any better than to make their home there. So obviously, getting a chimney cap is a good measure to take if you’re concerned about general animal welfare and preventing unnecessary deaths, or even just the smell these outcomes will bring.

Keeping animals out of your chimney is also important for the health and safety of you and your family. That’s because bird and squirrel nests in the chimney tend to be flammable. In fact, animal nests in chimneys is a common cause of chimney fires. But even if you’re lucky and the nest doesn’t catch fire, it will still block your chimney, preventing smoke and harmful gases from exiting your home through the chimney.

Another potential problem with animals in the chimney, is when wild animals (such as raccoons) make their way down the chimney, through the fireplace and into your home. Although raccoons aren’t always aggressive, they’re wild animals. This causes them to be very unpredictable. Once a raccoon feels threatened, it can seriously injure you or your family in an attempt to defend itself. This is especially dangerous if you have small children, as a raccoon can easily cause even fatal injuries if it should choose to attack a little child.

Keep Moisture out of Your Chimney

Moisture might not seem like such a big problem, but the truth is that rain, hail, snow and even dew entering your chimney can wreak havoc on its structure.

The moisture causes your chimney walls to deteriorate faster, meaning you’ll need to have the inside walls of your chimney repaired more often. Of course, it makes no sense to fork out extra money on more regular chimney repairs if simply fitting a chimney cap could’ve solved the problem. While some homeowners might see a chimney cap as too big an expense, the money it can save on chimney repairs will be well worthwhile.

Furthermore, a chimney that’s in a good condition is also safer to use, so getting that chimney cap to keep out water will be an investment in keeping your fireplace safer this winter.

Are Chimney Caps Necessary?

In some areas, regulations might require that all chimney have caps, however, this isn’t necessarily a requirement in your area. So the short answer to the question would have to be no – chimney caps aren’t more necessary than going to the doctor when you have cold, or putting a cover over your pool. But just like doctor appointments and pool covers, chimney caps are a relatively small investment that could potentially be life saving.

If you have home insurance, it might also be wise to get a chimney cap for insurance purposes. That’s because your insurance provider might not even pay out for a chimney fire if you didn’t have a chimney cap fitted. This might not necessarily be the case, but it’s worth asking.

So to summarize, chimney caps aren’t entirely necessary in order for your to use your fireplace. But the mesh blocking animals from entering your chimney, and the chimney cap itself (which keeps moisture out) can go a long way in improving the overall safety of your fireplace. Getting a chimney cap is a small modification to your home which can prevent some of the most common causes of chimney fires. In the same way you wouldn’t want to drive your car if it didn’t have insurance, using your fireplace if you don’t have a chimney cap simply isn’t a good idea. A chimney cap saves money and prevents problems, so there’s really no reason not to get one.

If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re concerned about using your fireplace this winter, please give Chimney Sweeps West a call. We can help inspect your chimney for existing damage, and fit a chimney cap. Fireplace and chimney safety is something all homeowners should pay attention to over the holiday season. So before the worst of the Christmas rush begins, check your chimney safety so you can enjoy the holidays without having to stress about the safety of your family.

The Importance of Chimney Caps

The Importance of Chimney Caps

Is it safe to say that you are another mortgage holder with an old chimney? Assuming this is the case, you may not see that it’s feeling the loss of a chimney cap. A few property holders in the past didn’t perceive their significance, and frequently they weren’t added to their chimney. Chimney caps are likewise regularly dismissed in light of the fact that they are low support and “out of the picture, therefore irrelevant”.


The Chimney Cap Keeps Wildlife Out

Amid the an ordinary winter, there are various little creatures that may look for shield in a warm and dry condition like a chimney such as chipmunks, squirrels, and even raccoons. In the spring, you will probably discover winged animals settling in your fireplace. These creatures can leave combustible flotsam and jetsam, make blockages, and even suffocate and die. It can be hard to expel creatures from the fireplace humanely. In this manner it’s less demanding and regularly less expensive to keep this event at bay by introducing a chimney cap!

The Chimney Cap Keeps Sparks In

Amid an especially hot fire, sparks and coals can rise rapidly up the vent alongside vapors and a solid updraft. The standard chimney cap plan highlights both a cover and a screen that holds these stray particles into the flue. Without the top, these sparks can get away from the stack’s opening and touch dry leaves and garbage on the rooftop. This can cause both loss of property and life.

What are the distinctive sorts of stack tops?

Diverse chimney cap varieties have their own individual advantages. How about we take a gander at a couple of the most well known tops:

Standard Chimney Cap – This top incorporates screening on all sides to keep creatures from settling in your stack. It likewise traps vast sparks that advance up your vent when your chimney or wood stove is being used.

Draft-Increasing Chimney Cap – This sort of top uses outside breeze to make more grounded updrafts. This kind is best for chimneys that have existing issues with drafts. Its drawback is that it utilizes turning turbines that can progress toward becoming built up with smoke and ash after some time.

Lock Top Damper Chimney Cap – Damper caps come furnished with a stainless-steel cover appended to the casing. A long link drops down the smokestack, which is worked by a handle that is mounted in the firebox. This takes into account brisk and secure shutting of the bolt top at the property holder’s comfort. The damper can likewise be secured in the vacant position amid a fire.

Contract a Professional

Having a chimney cap introduced is perhaps the best thing you can improve the situation of your stack. It’s one preventive advance that has a major effect, and ought to be joined with proficient establishment and also routine upkeep like smokestack assessments and ranges. When you procure an expert like Chimney Sweeps West, you get an expert assurance, as well as fit you with the best top for your particular stack.

Why You Should Install a Chimney Cap

While you may not be personally acquainted with the life systems of your home’s chimney or fireplace, a chimney cap assumes a critical part in your home’s chimney framework. In the event that your home doesn’t as of now have one, here are five reasons why you ought to consider introducing a chimney cap.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Chimney?

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Chimney?

The reason to hire a chimney sweep is to evacuate ash, blockages and developed creosote from your fireplace liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper. This cleaning will help make a more secure operation of your chimney amid the warming season. It takes just a little gathering of creosote to make the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is an exceptionally combustible substance that develops inside your fireplace or liner because of consuming wood. The rate of gathering can be higher on the off chance that you use the wrong woods or have a consuming machine or stove that isn’t functioning correctly. Diverse sorts of wood make their own measures of creosote when consumed. Pine causes a quick deposit of creosote and ought to be avoided to keep down potential build up. Creosote can likewise lessen the draw of the chimney and decrease proficiency.


Fireplace Inspections ought to be booked once every year.

To make sure that the greater part of your frameworks are in working order and working as they should, it is prescribed that mortgage holders get a yearly chimney examination. Most mortgage holders pick to have a Chimney Cleaning done each year too, particularly on the off chance that they utilize their chimney all the time. Other venting frameworks associated with heaters and stoves ought to likewise be cleaned all the time to keep up more secure operation. Chimney, stove, heater and warming apparatus frameworks are essential to your home and family’s security and not a territory to disregard or cut corners on. Try not to chance the possibility that an unfamiliar deformity could transform into a costly repair or more regrettable yet – a chimney fire.

In the event that you just have minor utilization of your chimney or stove, a review is as yet exhorted every year to take a gander at all warming venting frameworks, chimney, stove frameworks and heater pipes. During these inspections any defects or issues that may be found that require action even if cleaning is not needed. When you have a regular chimney sweet that you utilize, they will for the most part put you on a yearly examination plan. Amid these examinations they will prompt you on the off chance that the time has come to get a cleaning.

When Do I Need A Chimney Inspection?

On the off chance that you haven’t had your chimney investigated in a year or more, in the event that you are having any ventilation issues with your chimney, chimney or warming framework or on the off chance that you recently moved into the home you should plan an examination. Try not to wait – holding up quite often brings about extra repairs, and now and then in property misfortune.

In the event that you have not utilized your chimney in quite a while, bugs may have constructed homes that could stop up your vent or fireplace chamber. Winter freeze cycles and dampness consolidate to take a yearly toll on stone work and liner materials as well. Ordinary wear and tear that is left unchecked will influence the execution of your framework.

What is the Best Time to Clean my Chimney?

In a perfect world, before the beginning of the consuming season amid the spring, summer or early fall is an incredible time to get your chimney investigation and/or fireplace cleaning. Before you consider building a fire or starting your heater on the grounds that the climate has changed, is an ideal opportunity to call your chimney sweep. Perhaps you overlooked the early cleaning before beginning to utilize the chimney, stove or heater? Try not to wait until the fall, we can do your chimney cleaning or examination whatever time of the year.

Make sure your chimney is clean for holiday visitors Check out our Knoxville Office!

Fall Chimney Inspections

Fall Chimney Inspections

Winter is almost here again, and as you’d know, there are many wonderful things you can enjoy during the winter months. The cool air, hearty soups and hot chocolate can be surprisingly refreshing. But winter is also the time of the holiday season, and in the weeks leading up to the holidays you’ll barely have time for anything other than preparations for when friends and families come over.

Get a head start on your winter preparations this year! Check your home inside out for maintenance tasks you can do before winter. Getting a chimney inspection before winter is also a vital part of keeping your family safe.


Winter Chimney Safety Tips

To keep your chimney safe, it’s always best to have it inspected by a qualified chimney professional before winter. Doing so can help you avoid a nasty chimney fire during the festive season. After all, the last thing you’d want over the holidays is to lose time with friends and family over a house fire!

During inspection, a chimney professional will clean out your chimney and check for any structural issues, like cracks, missing mortar and other potential problems. Your chimney professional will also check for any animals, like birds that have made their nest in the chimney.

When to Get a Chimney Inspection

There’s no right or wrong time to get your chimney inspected. When you get your chimney will depend on some of the following factors:

  • The date of your last professional chimney inspection: To practice good chimney safety, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you get an annual chimney inspection by a professional. If you don’t even know when last your chimney was inspected, now is definitely a good time to call your local chimney sweeps.
  • How long you’ve been living in your home: If you just moved into a new place, it’s best to have your chimney inspected before you use the fireplace this winter.
  • Changes to your chimney system: If you’ve made any changes to your chimney or fireplace, it’s recommended to get an inspection done before you make a fire again.
  • Your chimney’s odor: If you were smelling smoke or other foul odors last time you used your fireplace, it’s definitely time for a chimney inspection. If your chimney smells bad even when you aren’t using it, that’s also a sign that your chimney needs to be cleaned and inspected.

Remember, when there’s debris hiding in your chimney, it can catch fire. Creosote buildup can also cause your chimney to start leaking smoke and carbon monoxide into your home. Because carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, this can have serious implications on your family’s health.

The Three Levels of Chimney Inspections

When it comes to getting your chimney inspected, there are three different kinds of checks your chimney professional can perform:

  • Level 1: This level of inspection is for when you annually have your chimney inspected and you know it was in good shape last time you used it.
  • Level 2: The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a level 2 chimney inspection if you moved into a new house, or when changes have been made to your chimney.
  • Level 3: A level 3 inspection is only required when either a level 1 or 2 inspection reveals that there are serious problems with your chimney that need to be fixed. A level 3 inspection will include the costs of removing and replacing chimney components that are no longer functional. If your chimney is visibly damaged and crumbling to pieces, you’ll also need a level 3 inspection.

If you’re unsure about getting your chimney inspected, it’s always best to simply go with a level 1 inspection. While a level 2 inspection is certainly recommended under certain circumstances, getting a level 1 inspection is better than doing no maintenance on your chimney at all. After doing a level 1 inspection, your chimney professional will also be able to tell you if there will be additional repair costs for your chimney. Should any part of your chimney look suspicious after a level 1 inspection, further investigation will need to be done, which would require you to do a level 2 inspection.

Choosing Professional Chimney Sweep Services

When you choose a chimney sweep, you’re trusting this professional with the health and safety of your family. Just as you wouldn’t go to just any doctor, you shouldn’t work with just any professional chimney sweeps.

Unfortunately, there are some chimney sweeps out there who aren’t even chimney sweeps at all. These people will charge you for a chimney inspection and will then disappear with your money without ever providing the service you paid for. To protect yourself against these malicious characters, you have a responsibility to research any professional chimney sweep before hiring them. Some important things to look at when choosing a chimney sweep include:

  • Brick and mortar location: More than anything else, a brick and mortar location is a sign that you’re working with a real professional chimney sweep business.
  • Customer reviews: Even when you work with a real business, reviews from previous customers can help you find the best value for your money.
  • Reasonable pricing: Granted, you don’t want to simply choose the chimney sweeps that give you the lowest quote, but if you get a quote that is well above the normal market price for a chimney inspection, the business is overcharging you. You should be able to get a reliable business without having to pay hundreds of dollars more for your inspection.

If you would like to get ahead on your winter preparations this year, feel free to contact Chimney Sweeps West in Knoxville, TN for a quote on a professional inspection for your chimney.

Great Reasons to Call a Chimney Sweep

In case you’re new to the universe of chimneys, you may not know precisely what a professional chimney sweep does. Like the name suggests, these experts clear (i.e., clean) smokestacks. Yet, many additionally perform other essential errands, for example, diagnosing issues and making repairs and substitutions. Since you comprehend what a chimney sweep does, we need to discuss four motivations to get one of these professionals out to your home.