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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!
Is your chimney leaking? We’re willing to bet that if you’ve found this blog post, you may be trying to find an answer to why there are water stains on the ceilings or walls around your chimney or why you smell mold or hear a drip-drip-drip sound coming from your chimney. A chimney leak can be caused by any number of things, but here in Houston, Lords Chimney’s certified technicians have seen it all; from our many years of leak resolution, we now know that most chimney leaks can be attributed to one of the following four issues:
1. Gapping or Rusted Flashing: Flashing is the metal band that is woven around the base of your chimney where it meets your roof. In most cases it is partially embedded in your roof’s shingles—so that new flashing is often installed at the same time as a new roof. This junction point is a vulnerable one, hence the flashing is installed to give it added armor from potential leaks. However, flashing is notorious for gapping or rusting over time, especially if caulk has come loose or if the flashing was installed improperly. If we determine that faulty flashing is the cause of your leak, Lords Chimney can either repair your existing flashing or custom fit new flashing onto your chimney.
2. Inadequate Protection Up Top: A chimney without a chimney cap or a top-sealing damper is not unlike a house without a roof. In other words you’ve got a recipe for disaster, as your chimney is inviting water into your home. A chimney cap or top-sealing damper will not only keep water out but also keep animals and debris out, keep sparks in, and in the case of a chimney damper, save you money on energy bills.
3. Cracked Crown: At the very top of your chimney sits your chimney’s crown, which seals your chimney from the chimney’s flu(es) to the edge of the chimney. According to the CSIA, “The crown should provide a downward slope that will direct the water from the flue to the edge of the crown. The overhanging drip edge, by directing the run-off from the crown away from the chimney, helps prevent erosion of the brick and mortar in the chimney’s vertical surfaces.” Many chimney crowns are built with an inadequate mortar mix that too soon chips or cracks, allowing water to seep in. In many cases existing crowns can be repaired, though we sometimes determine that a crown needs to be completely rebuilt.
4. Masonry Problems: Surprisingly porous, brick and mortar—if not professionally waterproofed and maintained—can actually act as a sponge to draw water into your chimney. In addition, chimney brick can crack and spall over time, making your chimney more susceptible to leaks. If this is the case, tuckpointing or other repairs may be necessary, along with the application of a waterproofing sealant.
Lords Chimney serves the entire Greater Houston area. Having chimney problems? We hope you will call us first.
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!
It’s very important to keep up with dryer vent cleaning, as the built up lint is a fire hazard that endangers your house and everyone in it. Call Lords Chimney to schedule an inspection and cleaning of your dryer vents to help you maintain a safer and more efficient dryer.
The chimney liner of a fireplace is one of the most critical components of the operating system. According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, as it is no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home.