We like to think that having a fireplace at home is always a good idea. It gives off a warm and cozy feeling, it speaks of good taste, and it adds to the uniqueness of your home. That is until the day you have to clean your chimney, and you realize that you have no idea how to do it.READ MORE
Winter weather might be weeks away, but it’s never too early to start preparing your home for cold and snow. Before the first flakes of the season fall in Colorado, chimney cleaning is essential. Learn why you should clean your chimney before the first snow, and discover what could happen if you skip this annual inspection.READ MORE
Winterizing properties is a valuable part of preventative maintenance that ensures no building falls into disarray during the long winter months. Therefore, it’s important that you act before the winter comes, when weather is more conducive to dealing with both internal and external portions of the property. Here’s a few valuable tips to help you prepare your valuable real estate for the winter.
As cooler nights arrive; you may be craving a cozy fire in the fireplace to warm the chill. Many Colorado homes are gifted with indoor fireplaces, both gas and wood burning, and maintaining the upkeep is important for the safety of your family. According to FEMA, fireplaces account for more than 36% of residential fires every year, and routine cleaning is vital to preventing such tragedies.READ MORE
While fireplaces may be wonderful for setting a romantic mood, they are relatively inefficient when it comes to heating the home. On average, an operating open-wood burning fireplace can have efficiencies ranging up to 15 percent, depending upon its type and operation. However, if there is no fire and the damper is left open, a fireplace can actually have a “negative efficiency” as warm air from the house escapes through the chimney.
Wood stoves are more efficient at heating a room or home with the same amount of wood, in comparison to a fireplace. This is because a stove is closed and controlled.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve fireplace efficiency:
When a fireplace is not is use, the damper should be in the closed position. Since hot air rises, it naturally wants to escape through the chimney. Closing the damper seals off this avenue of escape.
Glass or Metal Doors or Heat Shields
Placed in front of the fireplace, these doors and shields will limit the amount of warm room air that escapes the house when the fireplace is not is use.
Doors work particularly well when a fire is burning down for the night, but the damper has to remain open to allow the smoke to vent.
While the fireplace is in operation, glass doors should remain open, since most of the warmth produced by a fireplace is in the form of radiant heat. If closed, the glass will deflect radiant heat back into the fireplace and reduce the heat output to the room.
New Fireplace Designs
Circulating fireplaces have heat circulation ducts built into the masonry fireplace. These pull air from the room, circulate it around a metal firebox and send it back, warmed, into the room.
Some of these units have built-in fans to increase the flow of air and heat. Made of metal, circulating fireplaces warm quickly and cool rapidly once the fire is extinguished.
An insert is basically a metal wood stove that slides neatly into the fireplace cavity. They are relatively easy to install, and can improve a fireplace’s efficiency. Before adding one, however, make sure to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned.
In fact, for the most energy efficiency from your fireplace or wood stove and to insure your family’s safety, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
Imagine a Sweeping Goose… a chimney sweeping goose. Years ago, (I’ve been told) live geese were used to clean chimneys.
A rope was tied around the bird and then thrown down the chimney flue. The frightened goose would flap his wings and clean the chimney.
Now, for those of us without a goose, calling a reputable chimney cleaner to inspect and clean our chimney is the most civilized, safest and best thing to do. An un-swept chimney can burn. Soot and creosote deposits accumulate in the flue until, worst case scenario, they burst into flames causing a chimney fire.
Chimney maintenance is the number one line of defense against chimney fires.
All wood stoves and flues should be inspected each year and cleaned as necessary. Common inspection procedures include:
– observing creosote build-up. A 1/8″ layer around the damper or in the chimney indicates a need for a complete cleaning with brushes designed for that purpose.
– looking for deterioration of mortar between the bricks and in the back and sides of a fireplace. If a screwdriver or ballpoint pen can dig out the mortar, ALL of the mortar should be replaced.
– examining stovepipes and stoves for metal corrosion. Corrosion or rust will occur over time, but it is accelerated by burning trash containing plastics and by condensation of wet creosote.
– checking pipe connections for tightness. Metal bands should be tight as should any screws or bolts holding together pipe sections.
– cleaning ashes from the stove. These must be stored in airtight, fireproof containers for at least one week. If placed in a cardboard box, paper sack or plastic bag, a fire may result.
Other maintenance procedures that you can do on your own include:
– inspecting fire extinguishers for broken seals or low retardant levels on an annual basis.
– replacing smoke detector batteries at the beginning of each wood burning session.
– holding fire drills for all family members. This is a practical way to build home-fire safety awareness.
So give us a call. Because chimney fires are for the birds.