The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that a certified technician should be looking your chimney over on an annual basis. This is especially true before the burning season begins. It’s essential for the health of your system. In addition, it will provide you with the best results in the long run.
If you’ve been putting this into practice, great! The staff at Lords Chimney strongly encourages all of their customers to invest in yearly inspections. Why? Well, it’s one of the best ways to safeguard your chimney – and ensure your family stays safer every single year. That being said, we would also like to educate you on WHY this is so important, so you know just how valuable this yearly investment truly is.
Avoiding Creosote Buildup
One of the main things we check for in our inspections is creosote accumulation. Too much creosote is a major cause of chimney fires, which put your home and family at great risk. This flammable substance is known for spreading flames throughout your system, thus exposing your brick and mortar to extremely high temperatures. Chimney fires can make a good, sound structure deteriorate fast, so doing anything you can to avoid them is important!
The scariest part about chimney fires is that they often occur undetected. This means your chimney could be greatly damaged without you even realizing it! As your lining breaks down and decays, your home will become more vulnerable to stray flames and intense heat. The a broken down liner, this heat can now easily escape the chimney and catch your woodwork on fire. It’s not worth the risk. Invest in an inspection today, so you know you’re good to go this holiday season.
Checking For Repairs
Necessary repairs are another thing that sweeps look for while inspecting your chimney system. It may seem that any needed repair jobs would be obvious to spot, but this unfortunately is not the case! Our technicians will be able to take note of any minor damages and patch them up at an affordable rate, before they turn into expensive and stressful repair jobs. You’re much better off finding these issues before they grow worse, which is why scheduling regular chimney inspections is the way to go.
Are You Moving?
If you are moving out of a house with a chimney, moving into one with a chimney, or both, scheduling a level 2 inspection is necessary before any final decisions are made. This more in-depth look into your chimney will ensure all parts are working properly. Also, that no extra repairs are needed before the buying or selling process begins. We want to help all of your major life transactions go as smoothly as possible. Invest in an inspection from us and get the guidance and reassurance you deserve!
Call On Us Anytime!
No matter where you are in life, we have got you covered. Our team is dedicated to providing the area with reliable, dependable care at all times. Call us at Lords Chimney today to learn more!
If you walk down the aisles of your neighborhood big box home improvement store, you are bound to see a wide variety of products designed to help homeowners clean and maintain their fireplaces. While some of these products can be useful, they should not be used to replace regular annual chimney maintenance by a certified chimney sweep.
One such product that our customers regularly ask about are “chimney cleaning logs”. Sold for less than $20 at many home improvement stores, chimney sweeping logs advertise their ability to significantly reduce creosote buildup in the chimney. Because of this, some homeowners purchase and burn these products as their only form of chimney maintenance, patting themselves on the back for saving money on a chimney sweep.
Despite their advertising claims, these logs are no replacement for a professional chimney cleaning. Although they may be able to remove some creosote buildup, there are a number of ways that they are deficient at maintaining the health and safety of your fireplace system.
Why loosening creosote is just part of the job
The primary purpose of a chimney cleaning log is the removal of creosote; the smoke from the log loosens the creosote and causes it to fall down the flue and into the firebox, where it can be safely swept up and removed.
In theory, this is an excellent system. Unfortunately, the reality leaves much to be desired.
Most flues are not a straight vertical line between your firebox and the top of the chimney. Depending on your fireplace’s location, your flue may have one of more curves and bends in it. When this happens, the loosening of creosote by the chimney cleaning log merely causes it to fall and accumulate in the bends of the flue. This may not only block the flue, but can also create a significant fire hazard. Even fireplaces without curved flues may wind up with the majority of the creosote trapped on the smoke shelf, which can be difficult to access and clean without proper training.
A chimney cleaning log is no substitute for a chimney sweep
While a chimney cleaning log may be useful in loosening creosote, it is no substitute for the services performed by a certified chimney sweep.
“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”
Likewise, a chimney cleaning log has no way to know or tell you if your chimney is damaged in any way. There are a number of hidden issues such as cracked flue liners, decaying masonry, or damaged chimney caps or crowns that can only be spotted by a sweep during a chimney inspection. Because many of these chimney issues do not affect performance, you may have no idea there is even an existing issue.
Don’t trust the health of your chimney or the safety of your family to a $20 log bought at a big box store. Instead, have an annual chimney sweeping and rest assured that you can safely use your fireplace for the rest of the year. Contact Lord’s Chimney today to schedule an appointment!
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.
Creosote is no laughing matter. The professionals at Lords Chimney can provide you with a wealth of information and service to give you that added peace of mind!
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.
Why should we worry?
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.
What can we do?
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!
Everything You Need to Know About Creosote
What is Creosote?
Creosote is a chemical byproduct that is produced after the distillation of tar. So when wood is burned, creosote is produced. It is known for its preservative properties and for being anti-septic. There are basically two types of creosote; the wood-tar, and the coal-tar. The wood-tar creosote, being less toxic, is commonly used in meat preservation, wood treatment and for medicinal purposes. When used medicinally, it is commonly utilized as an astringent, anesthetic, expectorant, laxative and anti-septic. The coal-tar creosote is more commonly used in wood preservation because of its toxic properties.
In its early stages of accumulation, creosote is flaky. As it left to build…it becomes more tar-like. All creosote is highly flammable.
Creosote in Chimney
There are several stages that the creosote in your chimney that you may experience. First is its’ soot: a flaky form that is easy to remove leaving the flue walls unobstructed. Second: the stage where it leaves brittle and hard deposits that are a bit more difficult to remove. The third is the glazed stage where it becomes dangerous and much more difficult to remove. Once you notice the dense, dark and shiny tar-like appearance, then this would indicate that the creosote has reached its glazed stage. There will always be some level of creosote in your chimney – as it is a natural byproduct of burning, but it doesn’t need to be left to accumulate.
The longer creosote is ignored…the greater the possible danger. Creosote is highly flammable and is a leading cause of chimney fires. You may see products, such as a log that is supposed to remove creosote while burning. Not only is this difficult to gauge in its effectiveness, it may also cause chunks of creosote to fall down your flue and get stuck along the way. Because of the fire risk, you should leave creosote removal to a professional.
To avoid higher risk for a catastrophe, don’t wait for your chimney to reach a disastrous level of creosote build-up. It is best to schedule regular chimney inspections and sweeping on an annual basis. This way you know you are not letting the buildup become a hazard. This also prolongs your chimney’s lifespan.
We hope that this has been helpful and sufficient in answering your questions about creosote. So now you are fully equipped with the knowledge to better protect and improve your home. If you have a chimney, make sure to have it checked regularly and make it a habit to schedule a regular inspection and sweeping by a chimney professional.