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Peaceful ambiance? Cozy comfort? Festiveness? Warmth?
A fire flickering in the fireplace checks all these boxes.
A home fireplace is an inviting asset, but it should always be used with proper caution so it’s a source of enjoyment, rather than worry. Thankfully, armed with a little knowledge and awareness, this is no problem.
Not all fires are equal. Incomplete combustion or inadequate air supply can generate a smoky fire, causing creosote and soot to build up in your chimney. Here are ways to avoid this:
You want your fire to be controlled and contained. This means taking measures to keep all embers in the fireplace and avoiding putting any combustible items where they could get too hot or be exposed to sparks.
Brick and mortar are durable, and chimney systems are built for longevity. With proper care and maintenance, they should serve you for a long time.
There are some basic safety tips everyone should know before lighting a fire in their home.
We’re proud to be your partners in bringing the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace into your home and maintaining it for years of enjoyment. If you have questions about fireplace care, safety, or upgrades, give us a call today!
Reach out to our Houston location at 281-786-0507, our Beaumont location at 409-240-0013, or you can contact us online. We’d love to hear from you soon.
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!
Chimney Inspections and What They Cover
It is highly recommended that homeowners have their chimneys inspected on an annual basis. Having a professional come in to look at the chimney is the best way to spot any potential hazards before they endanger the household. Before finding an inspector to do the job, it is important to understand exactly what should be included in an annual inspection.
Remember, it is necessary for all parts of the chimney to be in good working condition in order for it to function safely.
One of the first things that a chimney inspector will look at is the structural integrity of the chimney itself. Over time, a chimney can become damaged or weak, especially if there is excessive exposure to rain and snow. They will make sure that the actual structure is still strong and does not pose any risks to the rest of the home.
Although it may seem that you could tell if there was a problem with your chimney, a certified sweep is trained to notice things you wouldn’t. Catching small issues can save lots of money in the long run and decrease any safety risks.
In addition to looking over the general structure of the chimney, the inspector will look at the individual parts. This will include an inspection of the flue liner and damper, among other important elements. They will be able to tell the homeowner whether any individual parts of their chimney require maintenance or repair.
A chimney inspector will be able to tell whether there is a buildup of creosote in the chimney. Creosote is the substance left behind after treated wood and coal have been used for making a fire in the fireplace. It can pose a number of different risks, including internal illness and irritations to the skin and eyes. It is also highly flammable, so a home with a buildup of the material is at a greater risk for a chimney fire than those who have it inspected and cleaned.
During a chimney inspection, there may also be evidence of material clogging the chimney. In many cases, this is the result of animals that have made their home in the flue. A clogged chimney is a serious problem because it prevents smoke and gas from exiting the home the way they are supposed to. As a result, a chimney fire could ignite or the family inside of the home could become ill when they are exposed to the gasses.
It takes specialized training and experience to properly and thoroughly inspect a chimney. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is the organization that trains and certifies all qualified chimney technicians. It is necessary to only use a CSIA certified inspector in order to get the most reliable results. The CSIA website offers a useful tool to help find a qualified technician in the area.
To some homeowners, a chimney inspection just seems like an extra chore and an unnecessary expense. However, an annual inspection is the only way to make sure that the chimney is in good working condition and not putting the home — or your family at risk. Be sure to use a chimney inspector who has been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America in order to get the best results.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!