Are you excited to start lighting up fires this holiday season, but find yourself struggling to get any flames going strong? This is a common issues for fireplace owners, but there are some great tips and tricks out there to ensure you get a better burn every single time. Get the heat and comfort you deserve this season by reading some of our advice below!
Selecting The Right Firewood
Now, before you light any wood, you need to ensure it is well seasoned. This means it has been adequately dried out for at least six months and most of the water has had a chance to evaporate. When choosing pieces to light, look for ones that are dark and split at the ends. The less fresh the piece looks and smells, the better!
Seasoned wood is also lighter in weight and makes a hollow, clunking noise when smacked together. Stick to these guidelines and your fires should be stronger, warmer, and less smoky all season long!
Choose Your Fire-Building Method
There are various ways to build a fire, so it’s all about finding what method works best for you. One common option is the teepee method. You’ll start with a pile of tinder (dry leaves, wood shavings, etc.) in the middle of your firebox. Next, get some kindling, which will consist of small twigs and branches, and form a teepee around the tinder. Finally, place your bigger logs in their own teepee formation around everything else. All that’s left to do is light up your tinder, and let the flames spread!
There’s also a method known as the log cabin lay, which starts out the same as a teepee, then switches up a bit when you start laying your bigger logs down. Instead of forming an additional teepee at the end, you instead take your biggest pieces and lay them on either side of the structure. You then lay two more pieces on top of those, but on the opposite sides of the teepee. Continue this pattern with smaller and smaller pieces of wood (until you have a pyramid shape), light your kindling, and you’re all set!
The last method we’d like to highlight is the top-down burn, which has grown more popular in recent years. Rather than start off with the kindling, this method involves you to put the largest pieces of wood down first with the ends at the front and the back of the firebox. Then, pile on around 5 more rows of wood, each one utilizing smaller and smaller pieces. Finally, add the kindling and the tinder. Once your stack is complete, light up the tinder and let it burn!
Like we’ve said, there are lots of ways to build a fire, and we’re just focusing on the more popular options. If none of these work well for you, just keep trying out techniques! We’re certain you’ll soon find one that works, guaranteeing countless cozy evenings in this winter.
Schedule An Inspection Today
Now, no matter how well your fire-building skills are, you’ll never get a safe or efficient burn if your fireplace and chimney are not clean and well-maintained. Count on our CSIA certified team to check things over for you today!
A fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. However, if the masonry has become stained by smoke, ash, or soot, it can affect how you feel about and how often you use your fireplace.
While stained masonry does not affect your fireplace’s performance, it can make a big impact on the aesthetics of your home. A stained fireplace can make a home look dirty and uncared for, no matter how clean the rest of the house is. Likewise, staining on your chimney structure can affect the curb appeal of your home.
In the past, the only option to clean masonry was to paint it or spend days scrubbing with powerful cleaners. However, homeowners can now use the Chimney Saver Paint “N” Peel fireplace cleaner to restore the beauty of their original masonry without the use of harsh chemicals.
What makes Paint “N” Peel different from other products
If your masonry has been damaged by years of smoke, soot, and ash buildup, you may have been told there were few ways to repair it. Likewise, many traditional methods of cleaning bricks are extremely time intensive or damaging.
Many interior cleaners, even those designed specifically for bricks, must be left on for several days or require extensive scrubbing to work. These products are also often made with harsh chemicals that require you to wear protective masks and may leave your home smelling like chemicals for days or weeks after. For exterior brick, using a power washer is one popular way to clean up dirty chimneys; however, the combination of high pressure with moisture can cause long term water damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney structure.
Unlike these other products, Paint “N” Peel is easy to use, requires no difficult scrubbing, is environmentally friendly, and has no offensive odors.
How Paint “N” Peel works
Your fireplace professional will apply a thick coat of Paint “N” Peel using specially designed brushes. After the product is applied, it will dry for between 6-12 hours. During this time, there is no need to leave your home or avoid the hearth room; because Paint “N” Peel is environmentally friendly and leaves no odors behind, it will not affect the air quality in your home.
When the Paint “N” Peel has completely dried and cured, it will form a thick, non-hazardous film. This film can then be easily peeled away from the brick, taking with it years of staining from ash, smoke, and soot and leaving behind beautifully restored masonry. Because Paint “N” Peel is designed for both interior and exterior use, it can be applied to fireplaces, chimneys, and a variety of other masonry structures.
Spring is the perfect time to have your fireplace or chimney restored using Paint “N” Peel products. Because it can only be used when the temperature is between 45 and 95 degrees, the mild spring weather is an ideal time to use this product.
If you are ready to restore the finish of your interior or exterior masonry, contact Lord’s Chimney today. We are confident that the Paint “N” Peel chimney system can make the bricks in your home beautiful again!
Gas fireplaces continue to grow in popularity due to their energy savings, ease of use, and low maintenance. Gas logs are particularly popular due to their ability to recreate the look and feel of a wood burning fire at the push of a button. While there is significantly less work with a gas fireplace compared to a wood burning one, gas fireplaces still need regular cleaning and upkeep.
Although gas logs do not have ashes or soot to remove after each use, they should be regularly cleaned to maintain efficiency and safety. Cleaning a gas log is an easy process, but special care should be taken to ensure that no fireplace parts or pieces are damaged.
Cleaning your gas log
The interior and exterior portions of your gas log fireplace should be cleaned at least twice a year to prevent an excessive buildup of soot or dust. However, only cleaners that are specially designed for gas fireplaces should be used. Other chemical or homemade cleaning agents may have abrasive qualities on the gas, metal, or ceramic parts of the fireplace. In addition, the chemicals in non-fireplace cleaners may react when the fireplace is relit for use. A specialized cleaner can be purchased at many fireplace retailers.
The exterior glass and metal can be wiped down as often as needed using a clean, damp cloth or other specialized cleaner. The burners, control compartments, and ceramic logs can be gently cleaned with a dry cloth or soft bristled paintbrush. A vacuum may also be used, but can should be taken not to shift or move the gas log or its components.
Before attempting to clean your gas logs, make sure that the gas valve has been completely shut off. Likewise, none of the fireplace components should be warm to the touch from recent use, as the heat may react negatively with the cleaners.
Referencing the manufacturer’s manual is another way to ensure that you are safely and correctly cleaning your fireplace logs and other components. The manual should give detailed instructions on how to safely clean the fireplace with minimal risks.
If you believe you have damaged any of the components of your gas log fireplace during cleaning, contact a professional before using the fireplace again. Even shifting a gas log a few inches can impact both performance and safety.
Do I need a chimney sweep?
Many homeowners are surprised to find that they still need their chimney swept after installing a gas log. Gas appliances still produce small amounts of creosote, which can coat the inside of the flue. In addition, high efficiency modern gas fireplaces are also at risk for incomplete combustion and water condensation.
An improperly sized chimney or flue cannot create sufficient drafting for a gas fireplace, leading to incomplete combustion. When this occurs, gasses such as carbon monoxide may linger in the fireplace. Likewise, accumulating water condensation can be corrosive to the flue lining.
Having a regular chimney cleaning and inspection can help protect your family against any emerging chimney or fireplace issues, as well as ensure that your gas fireplace is still running safely and efficiently. If you have questions about how to clean your gas fireplace or need to schedule a chimney inspection, contact Lord’s Chimney today!
As a homeowner, there are lots of things around your home, both inside and outside, that need to be regularly maintained. And let’s face it – it’s easy to get so overloaded with household to-do lists that sometimes some of the most important places get overlooked.
We’ve noticed that fireplaces and chimneys tend to get thrown into this overlooked category since they are only used for a portion of the year. Sound all too familiar? Well, don’t burn yourself out figuring out how you’ll fit in yet another job. Simply give our experts a call to handle it all!
Chimney Inspections & Sweepings
Annual chimney inspections are essential when it comes to keeping your system standing strong for the long haul. All kinds of hidden dangers could be lurking and putting your home at risk, and it takes the trained eyes of a pro to spot and resolve them. Oftentimes, what homeowners think of as no big deal (even something as seemingly minor as a broken tile or brick) are actually quite dangerous.
When it comes to chimneys, the sooner any issues are spotted and addressed, the better. If there is a crack, it will only continue to grow. If mold shows up, it will only spread. If things aren’t heating correctly, this will only continue, costing you more to operate the appliance and putting your home at risk.
That’s why we urge all of our customers to book inspections at least once per year and always before kicking off your burning season. During these, our sweeps will look for any flaws, build-up, and imperfections, and then suggest any further maintenance, like sweepings or repairs, as necessary.
And what’s the importance of a chimney sweeping? To start, they remove any build up, excess debris, and creosote, which is the main cause of chimney fires. And apart from being fire hazards, blockages can lead to smoke in your home, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a lack of efficiency.
Repair & Restoration Services
Now, chimney sweepings and inspections are an important part of chimney maintenance, but they’re still just only one part of the equation. That’s why we offer a wide range of chimney, masonry, and venting services and repairs, all of which allow us to better serve our customers and meet all of their chimney and fireplace needs.
If your fireplace or chimney is worn down after years of use, we can help restore it to its former glory. Our fireplace restoration services can fix every part of your chimney, from the chimney cap at the top to the firebox at the bottom. Some of our many services include tuckpointing, leaky chimney repairs, chimney pressure washing, relining services, wildlife removal, troubleshooting, and even replacements or facelifts.
Not sure where you stand or what you need? Give us a call! We’d be happy to answer your questions and get you where you need to be.
Need Dryer Vent Services?
In addition to our chimney services, we can also clean dryer vents, as well as assist with installation and re-routing. Even if you regularly clean your lint trap, lint will still accumulate in your dryer vents and hoses over time, which can then create clogs and fire hazards. In fact, dryer-related issues cause thousands of house fires every single year. This one service well worth investing in.
Clean dryer vents can also help your dryer run more efficiently, wasting less energy and resulting in dryer clothes after each load. This saves you money month to month, and keeps your dryer and clothes from experiencing excess wear, too.
We’re Trusted Throughout Houston
At Lord’s Chimney, we have been proudly providing the greater Houston area with chimney, fireplace, masonry, and vent services for years. If you’re experiencing chimney issues, there’s no better crew to trust!
Why do so many turn to us time and time again? Well, for one thing, we make education a priority. We’re certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), and maintain a long list of certifications, associations, awards, and 5-star reviews. One look at our credentials and it’s clear – we take what we do seriously!
In the end, when you hire a sweep for your chimney inspections, sweepings, and more, you deserve to work with someone you can trust. If your sweep is associated with reputable organizations, experienced, and has a strong relationship with the community it serves, these are all solid signs that they’ll have your back throughout it all. When you hire us, we’ll treat you and your fireplace with respect!
Keep Your Home Safer By Working With Us
A clean and well-maintained chimney and fireplace doesn’t just help with efficiency… it also ensures your home stays a safer place to live season after season. Stay out of harm’s way by reaching out to our highly trained and qualified staff today. When you work with Lords Chimney, you work with the best!
A roaring fire can be a welcome sight during the cold months of winter. To keep their fireplaces running properly, homeowners know to have their chimneys swept and inspected each year. However, few pay much attention to what they do with the byproducts of their wood burning fires – the ashes.
Regular ash disposal can improve the efficiency of your fireplace, and properly disposing of ashes can prevent accidental fires. Rather than seeing the measures needed to properly remove ashes as an inconvenience, homeowners should instead see it as taking steps to ensure their family’s safety.
How can ashes be dangerous?
While ashes themselves pose little to no threat to you or your family’s safety, it’s what they can keep hidden that are the real danger. Small coals and embers can lay dormant when surrounded by ash, only to ignite later on. According to forestry officials, “Wood ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days.” Because of this, all ashes should be treated with caution, especially those from recently extinguished fires.
Improper ash removal methods
Unfortunately, many of the most common methods of ash removal are also the most unsafe. Ashes should never be mixed with garbage or trash; this even includes putting cold ashes into regular trash cans or dumpsters. Likewise, ashes should never be transported in cardboard boxes, paper bags, or other combustible containers. Lastly, vacuums should not be used to clean up ashes unless they have a HEPA filter. Without an appropriate filter to prevent dust particles from becoming airborne, even shop vacuums may leave carpets, walls, and other furnishings coated with a fine layer of dust.
Proper ash removal
The first and most important step in ash removal is ensuring that there are no remaining hot coals or embers in the ashes. This can often be achieved by letting a fire extinguish naturally overnight and stirring the ashes the next morning to ensure there are no remaining hot spots or pockets of heat. Ashes can then be transferred into a specially designed metal ash container that has a tight fitting lid. Ash containers should never be stored indoors, in garages or sheds, or near combustible materials in case there any remaining coals or embers.
Alternative uses of ashes
After using your wood burning fireplace all winter long, you may find yourself with a surplus of ashes. Luckily, there are several alternative ways that ashes can be used around the home. Two of the most popular uses for ashes are in the garden: as a fertilizer or as a bug repellant.
As a fertilizer, small amounts of ash can be used on garden plots or in compost piles. Ash “improves root health and strengthens the very cellular structure of plants, helping them resist all kinds of stresses,” says Julia Gaskin. Likewise, when sprinkled around the edges of a garden plot or flower bed ashes can serve as a natural repellent for slugs and snails.
Lastly, ashes can be sprinkled on icy driveways or sidewalks as an alternative to salt or gravel to prevent slipping. However, homeowners and their guests should take special care to wipe the soles of their shoes off after walking on an ashy path. If not, you may accidentally track dirty footprints throughout the house!
Properly removing and disposing of ashes can protect your family against accidental accidents or fires, and ashes can also have a surprising number of uses around the home. If you have questions about ash disposal or how to help your wood burning fireplace burn more efficiently, contact Lord’s Chimney today!