Our Company Blog

Building A Safe Fire In Your Fireplace

Here at Lords Chimney, we take pride in putting the safety and satisfaction of our customers above it all. You won’t find experienced, professional sweeps like ours anywhere else, and we can provide you with the knowledge and advice you’re looking for to have the safest and most enjoyable holiday season yet.

Now, one key ingredient in hosting a successful Christmas gathering is a warm, blazing fire in the fireplace. That is unless your fire-building strategies always prove to be less than successful. If you want to avoid a smoke-filled living space, along with the countless other threats that accompany a poorly constructed fire, read up on some of our guidelines below.

Invest In An Inspection & Sweepingclose up of shaped fire

First things first, be certain to get your annual inspection scheduled before lighting any fires and have a sweeping completed if excess creosote was spotted in your flue. By getting an inspection done every year, you guarantee more efficient fires, and you avoid countless potential threats, such as house and chimney fires, carbon monoxide exposure, gas leaks, smoke back-up, and more.

Just be sure you book this maintenance with a team of CSIA Certified Sweeps to ensure you get the most knowledgeable and in-depth analysis possible. The crew here as Lords Chimney has trained with the CSIA, and we work with a number of other reputable organizations, as well, such as the NFI and the NCSG. We would love to set you upright, so book your inspection with our experienced staff today!

Pick The Right Wood

Now, what you use for fuel plays an integral part in how efficiently your fires burn, and it has an impact on the health of your chimney, too. It’s essential that you burn only well-seasoned firewood in your fireplace and nothing else besides it. Although it’s tempting to throw trash in there from time to time, especially in a time of year where you’re using a lot of wrapping paper, paper plates, plastic silverware, and more, but burning these materials increases the amount of creosote that forms in your flue, and it can create some pretty smoky fires, too.

It’s also important to avoid burning wet or unseasoned wood. If your fuel hasn’t adequately dried out, then acidic water will break down your chimney’s interior system, and your fires won’t burn as nicely, either. If you want heat and efficiency from your fireplace, then well-seasoned wood is the only thing you should be burning!

How do you know that your logs are ready for use? Well, if you season your own wood, it should be fine to burn after about six months of airing out in a well-protected, but open area outside. (Be sure to store it off of the ground, too!) If you are purchasing fuel, then some key characteristics to watch out for are.

  • Logs that are lightweight.
  • Pieces that make a hollow-sounding noise when smacked together.
  • Logs that are split and dark on the ends.
  • Wood that is cut to a shorter length.

Open Your Damper

Ever light a fire only to have smoke start pouring into your living room? This is unhealthy, uncomfortable, and it can leave you with an odor that is hard to erase. It’s a common mistake for homeowners to forget to open their damper before lighting things up, so be sure yours is open before getting your evening going.

Also, if your throat damper is rusting, eroding, or getting stuck all the time, consider upgrading to a top-sealing damper. These offer an effective seal with a rubber gasket, and they work alongside your chimney cap to keep out animals, downdrafts, and excess debris. Ready to make the switch? Talk with our team today.

Warm The Flue

It’s a good idea to light a roll of newspaper and hold it in your flue for a bit to get things primed and ready before lighting your fire. Why is this recommended? Well, otherwise you’ll be fighting the cold air in your chimney, which can overpower any smoke going up and push it back into your home. If you heat things up ahead of time, you could save yourself a lot of stress and hassle.

Study Fire Safety Tips

A fire in your home means there is always an increased risk of experiencing a gas leak, house fire, chimney fire, and more. Be sure you know the best ways to avoid a disaster in your home and have a plan in place should a fire occur. Map things out ahead of time and have your family practice different escape routes. It’s also important to pick a meeting spot outside of the home so that everyone knows where to meet up and check-in in the event of an emergency.

Also, remember to never leave a fire unattended. When it’s late and you’re tired, it may be tempting to simply fall asleep and let the flames die out on their own, but this has caused many accidents. It simply isn’t worth the risk. We also urge all of our customers to invest in multiple smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as these are often the first or only things to offer any warning signs of danger.

Don’t Wait – Call Lords Chimney Today

If your chimney is in need of care, then there’s no time to lose. Count on the qualified and experienced technicians at Lords Chimney soon. We serve the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Austin, Galveston, and Wharton, and we would love to help you out. Call today!

The Value Of A Chimney Inspection

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!

 

How Do Dryer Vents Work?

Nothing beats the modern convenience of a great working dryer. In less than an hour, you’re provided with clean, warm clothes, so you can face whatever the day has in store for you. However, what if things aren’t working properly? When you are forced to run cycle after cycle in hopes of getting your laundry completely dry, something isn’t right.

At Lords Chimney, we can make sure this doesn’t happen to you. We are CDET certified by the CSIA to clean dryer vents in homes all throughout our service area. We have helped countless customers feel safer and more at ease with this service, and we want to help you out, too!

Learn more about how your venting system works. Then, give us a call today, so that we can give your more information about just what it is that we can do for you. We’re excited to help you out soon!

Your Dryer System

Once heated air works its way through your dryer, it needs somewhere to escape. This air passes through the lint screen, then goes through a series of ducts, where it eventually ends up outside, safely away from the interior of your home. This is one reason why cleaning that lint trap after every drying cycle is so important!

While this process seems easy enough, the lint trap unfortunately cannot catch every piece of lint that comes its way. As various pieces escape through, they enter your duct system, where they get trapped until they are physically removed by a certified technician. It is important to have this excess debris cleaned out on a regular basis (at least once per year).

Why Are Clean Vents Important?

Clean vents are important for multiple reasons. First and foremost, dirty vents can trigger fires. Thousands of fires occur every year due to home dryers and the majority of these are caused by clogged up venting systems. With something this serious, it’s not worth taking any chances. Have your vents cleaned out, so that your home stays as protected as possible.

Fires aren’t the only threat. Hazardous toxins can easily back up into your home when they are not given the chance to escape outside. With nowhere else to go, they turn back in the air you and your family breath in every day. This can lead to some serious illness, and it has landed many people in hospitals over the years.

It’s clear that good venting is vital to keeping a safer home. You’ll want trained and experienced techs on the job! Turn to Lords Chimney, so you know that every step along the way will be taken care of to the highest standards possible.

When you’re ready, give us a call at 281-497-4000. We can’t wait to help you out soon. Count on us for all of your fireplace, chimney, and dryer vent needs!

Gas Appliance Barrier Screens

Direct vent gas fireplaces have grown in popularity in recent years. With more realistic looking flames, a multitude of style options, and incredible ease of use, gas fireplaces allow families to enjoy the ambiance and warmth of a fire without the hassle and work associated with wood.

While gas fireplaces are more convenient and easy to use, they still have safety risks associated with them. A primary concern with gas fireplaces – especially in families with young children or pets – is the risk of burns associated with the hot glass fronts of the fireplace units.

gas-appliance-barrier-screens-image-houston-tx-lords-chimney

New fireplace safety standards

Beginning on January 1, 2015, all newly manufactured gas fireplaces and stoves with glass fronts will be required to include an installed protective barrier. This will apply to all appliances that have a glass surface temperature of 172 degrees or higher when in use.

“While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become very hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard,” said Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association president Jack Goldman. “In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of touching the hot glass on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. While we believe these incidents are few, even one is too many. We believe the new safety standard will provide greater protection to young children and others with special needs.”

This new standard was originally approved in 2012 by the American National Standards Institute. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission worked with the fireplace and hearth industry to implement the standard in an effort to protect families from accidental burns. The standard will apply to all units manufactured after January 1, 2015. Retailers may continue to sell units manufactured before this date that do not meet the new safety standards.

Safety tips for families

If you have an existing gas appliance, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your family from accidental burns. These common sense safety tips can help keep everyone in your home safe.

  • Don’t leave children or pets unattended in front of a fireplace that is in use or has been turned off
  • Teach children about fireplace safety and to never touch the glass of the fireplace
  • Keep the remote control of the fireplace out of reach to prevent it from being accidentally turned on
  • Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on any gas appliances

Additional safety products

There are a number of safety products available to homeowners who already own gas appliances. Protective barriers or screens are the easiest and most common safety precaution. Safety screens come in a variety of styles and can be attached directly to the front of the fireplace or left as freestanding screens. Likewise, baby gates or barriers can be used to keep children and pets away from the fireplace when it is in use.

When installing aftermarket screens directly to the front of your hearth, please be aware that they may change the functionality of your fireplace. Check with a fireplace professional before installing something directly to the fireplace.

If you have questions about making your gas appliance safer, contact Lord’s Chimney today. Our expert staff is highly trained and ready to make sure you can enjoy your gas fireplace while keeping your family safe.

Creosote in a Nutshell

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!

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!