Keeping the focus on safety
Our clients’ safety is important to us, and at Lords Chimney, we want to do everything we can to help you minimize the possibility of fire hazards in or around your chimney system, from regular chimney maintenance to necessary repairs. That also includes helping you develop short-term and long-term fire safety plans that add up to a cleaner and better-performing system.
Maintenance Sets The Stage
This list of smart practices will help you continue using your heating appliance as safely as possible.
Every Time You Use Your Fireplace
Use the right fuel
Wet or green wood results in an increase in creosote in your flue, and more creosote means a bigger chance of creosote ignition. Use kiln-dried or seasoned firewood (or make sure you dry your own wood for at least a year before using it) — that helps you achieve the optimum small, hot fire, creating the lowest levels of creosote. Stay away from burning trash, Christmas trees, cardboard boxes or anything else that isn’t seasoned firewood, too — and never ever try to speed up lighting your fire by using any kind of flammable liquid.
Don’t leave your fire unattended
If you’re burning wood, it takes a while for the fire to thoroughly extinguish. Don’t leave a smoldering fire alone — if sparks or embers get out of the firebox or another problem arises, you need to be there to handle it.
Use a spark screen
Fireplace screens are affordable and useful — placed in front of the fire, they can create a barrier between flames/embers and your living area and the people and pets in it.
Keep things clean
Make sure you clean wood ash regularly, in the right way: Deposit ash in a metal bucket, and allow it to cool completely before disposing of it a safe distance away from your home. Whatever fuel you’re burning, keep the area around your fireplace or stove clean — keep a good distance between the appliance and anything flammable, from furniture and window coverings to decorative items.
Things You Should Schedule Annually
Creosote will build up as you use your wood fireplace or stove, and it needs to be regularly removed from your flue for both safety and performance reasons. A cleaner flue is a safer and a more efficiently venting flue, and Lords Chimney can help.
If something goes wrong in your chimney system, you want to know about it — damaged parts and components can lead to leaks and water damage, dangerous carbon monoxide leaks and fire hazards. So keeping up with your recommended annual chimney inspection is important.
If a cracked flue liner, third stage creosote or any other issue is limiting your chimney’s safety and efficiency, Lords Chimney can find the problem and suggest and complete the work necessary to fix it.
Don’t Forget About Your Dryer Vents!
We talk a lot about fire safety associated with fireplaces, stoves and chimneys, but your dryer vent needs your attention too. Lint-clogged dryer vents can become a serious fire hazard — according to estimates from the National Fire Protection Association, dryers or washing machines were involved in nearly 17,000 home fires in 2010, and the most prominent cause of those fires was a failure to clean.
As you use your dryer, lint slowly builds up along the ducts, and over time, that build-up can begin to constrict the vent. That blockage allows heat to build up, and since lint is extremely flammable, that heat can cause it to ignite.
Keeping your dryer vents clean limits that possibility — and Lords Chimney can help with dryer vent cleaning services.
If you have any questions about safer fireplace, stove and chimney practices – or dryer vents – Lords Chimney is always here to help. Just give us a call!
It is an unfortunate fact that thousands of house fires occur every single year in the United States. These disasters leads to countless injuries, multiple deaths, and millions of dollars worth of damage. That being said, many of these were entirely preventable, meaning you can take steps towards preventing them from occurring in your home.
Ready to learn more? Read below. Then, count on the team at Lords Chimney to handle your fireplace, chimney, and venting maintenance, ensuring you stay as safe as possible in the years ahead.
Schedule A Dryer Vent Cleaning
If your dryer vents are clogged up and filled with debris, it won’t be long before things overheat. As you can imagine, when the high temperatures produced by the appliance combine with your flammable lint, a fire could easily ignite. An annual cleaning will ensure your system stays free of lint build up, and it should guarantee a better functioning appliance, too. It’s a win-win!
Leaving things like candles and fireplace fires unattended can increase your risk of fire significantly. It is also important to keep flammable items away from these things. We know how tempting it can be to decorate your mantle or place candles throughout your holiday decor, but these items can easily catch on fire before you even realize anything is wrong.
This is also goes for your cooking habits! Don’t leave pots, pans, or boiling water on a heated stove unless you are there to keep an eye on it. It only takes a second for something to go awry.
Invest In Smoke Detectors & Fire Extinguishers
Sometimes a fire will start, but can be stopped immediately with the appropriate preventative measures. Smoke detectors are known for preventing countless fires and for keeping homeowners and their families safer, as well. Along with this, a fire extinguisher can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing further damage. Invest in yours today!
Keep An Eye On Cords & Wiring
Frayed cords and wiring should always be repaired or replaced right away to decrease the chance of a fire starting. Also, never hide them under rugs, curtains, or furniture, as the heat from the electricity produced can cause harm, as well.
Invest In Annual Chimney Inspections
An annual chimney inspection is CSIA recommended, and it can make a big difference when it comes to operating a safer and more efficient fireplace. If you live in Houston or any of its surrounding areas, the team here at Lords Chimney can help you out! When you call us in, we can check for any flammable obstructions, such as birds nests or twigs, and we can look for excess creosote, too, which is known for triggering chimney fires.
Chimney inspections also allow us to spot chimney damages that could be putting your home at risk. Ready to get yours scheduled? Call our certified crew in today.
Are you excited to start lighting up fires this holiday season, but find yourself struggling to get any flames going strong? This is a common issues for fireplace owners, but there are some great tips and tricks out there to ensure you get a better burn every single time. Get the heat and comfort you deserve this season by reading some of our advice below!
Selecting The Right Firewood
Now, before you light any wood, you need to ensure it is well seasoned. This means it has been adequately dried out for at least six months and most of the water has had a chance to evaporate. When choosing pieces to light, look for ones that are dark and split at the ends. The less fresh the piece looks and smells, the better!
Seasoned wood is also lighter in weight and makes a hollow, clunking noise when smacked together. Stick to these guidelines and your fires should be stronger, warmer, and less smoky all season long!
Choose Your Fire-Building Method
There are various ways to build a fire, so it’s all about finding what method works best for you. One common option is the teepee method. You’ll start with a pile of tinder (dry leaves, wood shavings, etc.) in the middle of your firebox. Next, get some kindling, which will consist of small twigs and branches, and form a teepee around the tinder. Finally, place your bigger logs in their own teepee formation around everything else. All that’s left to do is light up your tinder, and let the flames spread!
There’s also a method known as the log cabin lay, which starts out the same as a teepee, then switches up a bit when you start laying your bigger logs down. Instead of forming an additional teepee at the end, you instead take your biggest pieces and lay them on either side of the structure. You then lay two more pieces on top of those, but on the opposite sides of the teepee. Continue this pattern with smaller and smaller pieces of wood (until you have a pyramid shape), light your kindling, and you’re all set!
The last method we’d like to highlight is the top-down burn, which has grown more popular in recent years. Rather than start off with the kindling, this method involves you to put the largest pieces of wood down first with the ends at the front and the back of the firebox. Then, pile on around 5 more rows of wood, each one utilizing smaller and smaller pieces. Finally, add the kindling and the tinder. Once your stack is complete, light up the tinder and let it burn!
Like we’ve said, there are lots of ways to build a fire, and we’re just focusing on the more popular options. If none of these work well for you, just keep trying out techniques! We’re certain you’ll soon find one that works, guaranteeing countless cozy evenings in this winter.
Schedule An Inspection Today
Now, no matter how well your fire-building skills are, you’ll never get a safe or efficient burn if your fireplace and chimney are not clean and well-maintained. Count on our CSIA certified team to check things over for you today!
We’ve got good news… National Fire Prevention Week is coming up fast! From October 8th to October 14th, you and your family can help raise awareness about fire safety and prevention. Learn more about this great opportunity to re-educate yourself and your loved ones by reading below. Then, give Lords Chimney a call to learn about keeping your home and fireplace safer all year long!
How’d It All Start?
So, how’d National Fire Prevention Week kick off in the first place? Well, it all started way back in 1925, and it’s held in early October every single year to remember the Great Chicago Fire that occurred back in 1871. Since most of the city’s damage was done on October 9, Fire Prevention Week is always held the week in which October 9 falls. This way we can look back on just how dangerous fires can be and how important it is not to be reckless.
“Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
One notable thing about National Fire Prevention Week is that it always has a theme. This years theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” It focuses on the fact that every second matters when a fire breaks out, so be sure to make at least two escape plans to help ensure everyone can get out of the building or home safely.
One tip is to draw out a map of your house and educate family members on their possible exit routes. Once this is done, run fire drills throughout the year, so your children can really nail down exactly where to go in the event of a fire. Also, remember to shut doors as you leave (to help contain the fire as you try to escape) and, once you’re outside, stay there until help arrives.
Ready To Help Promote This Event?
If you’re pumped and ready for National Fire Prevention Week 2017, then we’ve got some great ways that you can help spread the word! With tons of social media platforms out there, you can easily share news about this week through the Internet to help raise awareness. Also, feel free to contact local news stations and journalists, so that they can spread information, too.
Schools and daycares are great places to educate kids throughout the event and it’s a great opportunity to create a full week of fun and educational learning opportunities for the little ones. Parents will appreciate the extra attention to safety practices, and everyone involved will learn more about how to stay protected in various dangerous situations. Get started now, so you’re all set this October!
You can also help raise funds by seeking out assistance from local businesses or by throwing a fun event to provide education and accept donations. There’s no shortage of ways to stay involved!
Stay Safe – Work With Us!
If you own a fireplace, then you know that one of the best ways to keep your home and family safer is to invest in regular inspections, maintenance, and sweepings. Call on the certified staff at Lords Chimney today!
Having a chimney fire is a scary experience. No matter how large or small it was, many homeowners are left wondering about the state of their fireplace: when can I use my fireplace again? Does my entire chimney need to be torn down? Is it safe for my family to remain in our house?
The first thing you should do after a chimney fire is call a certified chimney sweep. A certified sweep is best equipped to evaluate the damage caused by a chimney fire as well as recommend the necessary repairs that may need to be made.
What are the signs of a chimney fire?
While flames spewing from the top of the flue are a guaranteed sign of a large chimney fire, smaller chimney fires often go unnoticed. This is because the signs of a chimney fire can sometimes be hard to distinguish from the results of a normal fire. Below are some signs that you may have experienced a chimney fire:
- Puffy creosote
- Warping of the metal of the damper, smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory built chimney
- Flue tiles that are collapsed, cracked, or have large chunks missing
- Distorted or discolored chimney cap
- Smoke or heat damage to areas of the roof around the chimney
- Pieces of creosote on the roof
- Cracks or damage to exterior masonry
- Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
How do I make repairs after a chimney fire?
All chimney fires are unique; because of this, there is not one simple solution as to what repairs will need to be made after a chimney fire. Although a certified chimney sweep will be able to make the exact recommendations based on the condition of your home’s chimney, below are some of the most common repairs needed after a chimney fire.
How can I prevent another chimney fire?
The best way to prevent chimney fires is by having your chimney regularly swept. Because highly flammable creosote is often to blame for chimney fires, having it regularly removed can minimize the rest. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends annual chimney sweepings for the majority of homes with fireplaces.
While creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of fuel burning fires, there are a number of ways to prevent it from building up in your chimney. When it comes to choosing firewood, only seasoned firewood should be used. Other woods, including soft woods like pines or firs, can create more creosote when burned. Green or freshly cut wood with high moisture content can also cause excessive creosote buildup.
Living with a chimney fire – as well as trying to figure out what to do when it is over – can be a scary and stressful experience. If you believe your home has had a chimney fire, contact Lords Chimney today to learn more about chimney fires and to schedule an appointment to have your chimney evaluated.
Many serious chimney-related problems arise due to negligence. Give your chimney the care it deserves.
A fireplace and chimney are creature comforts for many homeowners. Unfortunately, not every homeowner takes chimney maintenance as seriously as they should. Your chimney requires special care and attention to ensure it remains clear of debris and functions properly. Without an annual inspection, your fireplace and/or chimney can quickly become dangerous—even deadly.
Is a little creosote buildup really that bad?
In short, yes. According to the NFPA, the second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment; fireplaces, chimneys and wood stoves cause two-thirds of those house fires. Most of the afore-mentioned fires are the result of creosote. Sadly, most are preventable with regular inspections and maintenance.
If allowed to accumulate in large enough quantities, creosote can severely limit the flow of deadly combustion gases when you’re burning wood. One of these gases—carbon monoxide (CO)—is responsible for killing more than 200 people each year and sends more than 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.
You can prevent your home and everyone in it from being included in these statistics by simply scheduling routine chimney inspections and sweepings to catch dangerous creosote before it has the opportunity to catch you.
So what if my bricks are spalling and the mortar is missing!
The main purpose of a chimney is to vent the products of combustion from your home. That function is crucial. A well-structured chimney and flue are designed to offer protection to your family and home from these deadly combustion byproducts.
It’s not uncommon for a masonry chimney to be in need of repair. If left uncorrected, a few minor issues can quickly become huge problems in no time at all. Broken or spalled bricks and deteriorated mortar joints are definite signs that your chimney may need repair, as they create several hazards—improper venting of combustion gases and potential structural collapse. Both hazards could prove to be fatal.
What harm is a little water going to do?
Failing to waterproof your chimney could lead to a multitude of problems. By waterproofing your chimney, you enable it to repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life.
Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners deprioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.
Unless you’re just looking for a reason to get rid of your chimney, there really is no excuse for neglecting it. It’s time to have an experienced technician evaluate the condition of your fireplace and chimney, get them repaired if necessary, and have your chimney coated with a waterproofing product. If you live in the greater Houston area and are looking for a pleasant service experience and the knowledge that your job was done correctly, give Lords Chimney a call at 281-497-4000, or click here to request an appointment online! We look forward to showing you a level of professionalism and quality that you haven’t seen in a service provider!