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Time to Get Your Chimney Swept – Seekonk, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 19, 2013

The cooler weather is fast approaching, and soon homeowners will begin lighting fires to warm their homes and to relax in front of. But, before you light that fire, there are some precautions you should take to make sure your fireplaces and chimneys are safe. Early fall is the perfect time to schedule a  chimney cleaning.

Fires in fireplaces, inserts or wood stoves leave a residue, called creosote, that can stick to the lining of your chimney. Creosote — created by soot, smoke, gases and other particles — is flammable, and can be the source of a dangerous chimney fire. Cleaning the chimney involves removing creosote.

Between 2005 and 2008, an average 26,900 fires annually were blamed on fireplaces, chimneys or chimney connectors.

It is recommend that you get a chimney inspection every year by a certified chimney sweep and cleaned if necessary. Cleaning a chimney is not a do-it-yourself project. It’s a dirty job, and it is risky.

Chimney sweeps are trained to determine whether chimneys are structurally sound and whether they need to be cleaned. They also will make sure the chimney is up to code, which is especially important in older houses.

Homeowners should use a certified chimney sweep. To become certified, a sweep must pass two tests: one on the inspection process and tools, and the other on the international residential code, as it applies to chimneys.

Chimney cleaners look to make sure the flue is fully safe, they make sure there are no third-degree burns of creosote on the lining. Chimney sweeps also check to see if there are any birds or animals in the chimney, or anything that would block the flow of smoke. They also check that there’s no water coming in.

When thinking of chimneys most people focus on the one attached to the fireplace. But there is also a chimney attached to your furnace. Whether they burn oil or gas, furnaces vent carbon monoxide outside into the atmosphere, and those chimneys need to be inspected also.

There are steps you can take at home to reduce creosote buildup and the risk of a chimney fire.

Foremost is picking dry wood to burn. Dry wood will appear gray on the surface and have cracks on the end.

Don’t throw pizza boxes or other trash in the fireplace because it causes a thicker smoke, which lowers the temperature in the chimney. The hotter the fire, the better and cleaner it will burn.

While many people use a newspaper to start a fire, she recommends a fire log or fire starter instead.

For more information on  chimney cleaning, contact The Fireplace Showplace.

Chimney Cleaning for Safety – Seekonk, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chimney cleaning should be done by professionals.  Chimney sweeps are trained to inspect, clean and repair your chimneys. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that if you use your fireplace then you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected once every year to avoid a chimney fire.

Cleaning your chimney once a year means your chimney will be safe and it also ensures that it will work properly. The summer is a perfect time to have this done.  A dirty chimney is dangerous. Additionally, if your fireplace and chimney are not cleaned and inspected properly it could lead to serious health and safety issues.

The end products from burning  pellet and wood fires are gases, moisture, soot, and creosote. Creosote is an oil that comes from burning wood or pellets and it builds up over time in the chimney.  It builds up because a chimney is cooler at the top, cooling the hot air as it rises, causing the creosote to stick to the walls of the chimney and flues. Creosote is flammable. If the creosote accumulates, it can block the air vent and cause chimney fires.

If the chimney is blocked the residual gases don’t go out the chimney. This means that the some of those toxic gases could head into your living space instead, causing a health risk to you and your family.

Creosote is also highly combustible. This means that creosote build up can also cause chimney fires. To get your chimney cleaned before you need to use it again this fall, contact the Fireplace Showcase.