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We know you care about keeping your family safe. One way to keep your family safe while at home is to minimize the likelihood of a deadly chimney fire. One way to minimize this risk is to make sure you do not allow creosote to accumulate.
For homeowners with chimneys, there is one other thing that they worry about specifically – creosote. According to our team of experts here at Lords Chimney, more than 70% of the inquiries and concerns we receive from our loyal customers involve creosote in some form or fashion. So what exactly is creosote anyway?
If you look online you’ll see a lot of definitions filled with scientific jargon that would just confuse you a lot more than you may already be. But the definition from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry describes and defines creosote in a simple and uncomplicated way. According to the ATSDR, creosote is basically the chemical byproduct of burning. There are different varieties of creosote. There’s the Wood, Coal Tar Pitch, Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles and Coal Tar. But basically they are all referred to collectively as creosote.
Although seemingly harmless during the beginning stages, creosote can quickly become extremely dangerous when left alone. You see, since it is a byproduct of burning, this means that it would constantly be produced whenever there’s burning of any kind in your chimney system. Once it is produced, it sticks to various parts of the fireplace and chimney. If it accumulates further, it becomes this thick volatile layer that is one of the number one culprits of chimney and house fires.
The best thing we can do to prevent things from getting out of hand is to properly maintain your chimney. Schedule regular inspections and cleanings to make sure that creosote build-up never gets a chance to reach threatening levels, which, in turn, would guarantee safety for your home and your family. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a phone and schedule an appointment right now. You can count on us for quality and dependable chimney and fireplace services. Lords Chimney is ready to help!
Knowing What is Inside of Your Chimney
Has the inside condition of your chimney ever concerned you? Are you confident enough to say that after years of successive use and all the times your chimney never let you down, that it’s still in perfect condition? It is important for your home, your family and your bottom line, to keep your chimney cleaned and inspected annually. Knowing the basics can help you understand and make more informed decisions about your home.
Getting to Know the Parts
It is important to know the parts of the chimney. You should at least know which is which and which goes where. There are six important parts to remember that overall, help the function of the chimney.
At the uppermost part of the chimney is the spark arrestor. This performs the duty of preventing sparks from getting out of the chimney. You might think that this part is somehow unimportant but we all know that fire can spontaneously and unexpectedly start with a single spark along with the wind’s aid. It can automatically turn into a blazing roof fire. This is exactly why this part is very important.
Below the spark arrestor is the chimney crown. This functions as a shield and a barrier for any object and huge volumes of water to enter and accumulate inside the chimney.
The flue is another vital part of the chimney. It is long and thin and is often mistaken to be the chimney. This should always have a flue liner attached to it for two reasons:
At the very end of the flue is the damper. This opens and closes the flue. Always make sure that when you are lighting up your fireplace, the damper should always be open. When you see abundant smoke coming out of your chimney, this means that the damper is closed. It’s important to check before attempting to ignite a fire in the fireplace.
Below the damper is the smoke shelf. This performs the duty of catching any foreign and unwanted objects that passes through the chimney. This might cause serious problems when involved in the fire.
Lastly, the smoke chamber is one of the most important parts of a chimney. I’m sure you’re already wondering why. This performs the most important task and that is to compress gases during combustion. If this has a defect, the smoke will go into your home instead of going into the chimney flue. This may cause negative air pressure and carbon monoxide to fill your home’s atmosphere.
The Importance of Knowing
You see, chimneys can be very tricky. They might always seem okay on the outside but big problems may start to rise on the inside. Eventually, you might need to get your chimney relined and restored to ensure safe and stable performance all throughout the winter season.
Here at Lords Chimney, we want to make sure you are aware of the fundamental parts and functions of your chimney. This can be beneficial on your part as a homeowner because you are allowing yourself to be completely aware of the things that are really important concerning your chimney. This can help us talk to you about your chimneys’ condition easily and effectively.
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.
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!
Trust Your Home to Professionals
Homeowners often have such an overloaded list of what needs to be cared for that often times they overlook the most important places. Fireplaces and chimneys are usually included since they are only used for a portion of the year. If you have fallen into this category, don’t burn yourself out on figuring out how you will handle the situation. There is actually little to be done and the professionals at Lords Chimney can handle it all. In a short amount of time they can have your yearly chimney sweep and inspection finished so you can be on with the rest of your busy schedule.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America
It is important that you hire chimney care that is both professional and CSIA certified, or meets the standards of the Chimney Safety Institute of America. These chimney sweeps and businesses are reliable and can be found a variety of ways, including asking around your community or online. As with any service you want your chimney technicians to be the best.
The In’s and Out’s
So, what is the importance of a chimney sweep? To start, they remove built up creosotes that could potentially start a fire or cause a blockage where smoke would remain inside of the home. If you breathe enough of this smoke you can get Carbon Monoxide poisoning. A chimney sweep can also remove any blockages that an animal may have caused. With the inspection the technicians can make sure the chimney is in working order. What you may think of as no big deal may be a danger to your family and your home, even if it is something as small as a broken tile or brick. If there is a crack, they will continue to grow until they are fixed. Water can then get in and begin to mold, and when not taken care of spread to the rest of your home. If the unit is broken it may not heat correctly which is not only unsafe but may cost you more to operate. It is important that this procedure is done once a year at the beginning of the season, and even if you have no problem getting in small, dirty places, you should still hire a certified professional.