After a winter of heavy use, most homeowners let their fireplaces fade into the background during the warm months of summer. For many, removing the remaining ashes, cleaning any stains, and wiping away soot leaves the fireplace ready for another season of use. However, fireplaces and chimneys should be swept by a professional annually to prevent any potentially hazardous buildup from becoming a far more dangerous issue down the road.
How often should my chimney be cleaned?
The CSIA, or Chimney Safety Institute of America, advises that chimneys be swept any time there is a sooty buildup in excess of 1/8th of an inch inside a flue or fireplace. As determining the amount of buildup can be difficult for the average homeowner, the CSIA recommends that they should “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances” by a certified chimney professional.
What time of year is recommended for a cleaning?
If it involves a chimney or fireplace, you can count on Jack Pixley Sweeps to know how to install it, repair it, clean it, and/or bring it up to code and national safety standards.
Although many homeowners wait until the weather cools off to schedule a chimney sweep appointment, it is important to have your system inspected before it is used for the first time each fall. Scheduling an appointment during the warm summer months not only guarantees that a system is in working condition when the weather begins to cool off, but also ensures that homeowners beat the fall rush and can schedule an appointment at their convenience.
Why are chimney inspections important?
Having a professional inspect and clean your chimney each year is an essential aspect of home maintenance. Unlike an average homeowner – or even a handyman – chimney sweeps are professionally trained to look for imperfections, flaws, and/or cracks that may not be visible to the untrained eye. While all systems should be inspected annually, inspections are especially important in homes that have recently had any upgrades or changes to their fireplace systems, such as converting to gas logs or the addition of a fireplace insert.
If you have recently purchased a new home, it is recommended that you have a cleaning done in the summer or fall, despite the timeline given by the previous homeowners, as this allows you to establish a relationship with a chimney sweep company, as well as informs you of the exact condition of your fireplace, flue, and chimney components. In some cases, it may be possible to work with the same company as the previous homeowners.
Scheduling an annual appointment with the same provider allows someone to become acquainted with the condition of your particular system who can then check on it over time to monitor its progress. This familiarity ensures that any changes such as cracks or blockages are quickly detected and mended, preventing the need for emergency maintenance or costly major repairs. Likewise, staying with the same provider over a period of time often means you do not have to schedule an appointment each year; traditionally, companies send out reminders to their repeat customers to let them know that they are due for an annual inspection.
According to the CSIA, problems with your chimney’s flue liner can pose serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and usher the deadly byproducts of combustion up and out of your home.
Give Jack Pixley Sweeps a call at 763-422-0481 to schedule an inspection to ensure that your flue liner is properly carrying out its intended job!
Chimney mold can cause serious respiratory problems as well as other health concerns. Watching for telltale signs of a chimney leak can help you prevent mold from happening.
Do you know why molds are growing in your chimney? Are you curious as to why it poses a risk to your health and your home? We from Jack Pixley Sweeps would like to give you an overview based on the EPA guide on what mold really is and how it can affect your home.
When water leaks into your chimney, it creates a lot of problems involving the structure of your chimney and your house in general, and more importantly, your health. One very common result of water inside the chimney is the growth of mold. Usually, molds need moisture to reproduce and thrive. You can find mold spores on leaf debris as well as the damp environment of your chimney. They come in all sorts of colors like green, brown and black. It can have a distinct dank smell to it, too.
The most common cause of mold is water but they can come from different areas and situations, too. When there is water in damp areas, it should be cleaned within 24-48 hours to prevent creating the perfect environment for mold to flourish in.
How can you tell if you have been affected by mold?
You will know when mold is already starting to invade your homes when you notice you or any of the members of your family manifesting these things:
- Allergic reactions
- Nasal congestion
- Cough and colds
- Eye irritation
- Infections in the throat or skin
If you see or feel any of the above mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor and have it treated as soon as possible. Don’t wait for your condition to become more serious.
How to prevent mold from forming?
One of many tips our CSIA-certified professionals will give you is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. If you have a dehumidifier then this will make our job a lot easier because you can control the humidity inside the home and in areas prone to mold growth. Also, if you don’t have one yet, consider having a chimney cap installed to prevent water from coming in. You also need to waterproof your chimney with a waterproofing sealant and make sure your flue liner is intact.
The most important thing to do to prevent mold growth is ensuring that your chimney is properly cared for and maintained. Give us a call and we can tell you more about mold and how we can get rid of it. We guarantee that our services are worth your time and money. We have been serving almost 100,000 satisfied customers in the greater Minneapolis area for 35 years now. Our name is definitely something you can trust!
Choosing the right company to handle all of your chimney and fireplace needs can be a tough task. Knowing which questions to ask can and will certainly smooth out the process for you.
Being an informed homeowner will make the process of selecting a chimney sweep a much simpler one.
The most important job of your chimney is for warm air come into your home and cold air to escape. Not only is this interchange important, but a clean chimney, that is well-maintained will also filter out most harmful gases. If anything gets inside your chimney and interrupts or diverts air in a way that is out of balance – your health and your home could be at risk.
In order to bring the right air in…at the right balance, you cannot let anything blocking the air to remain. Annual maintenance of your chimney, keeps channels open.
There are many reasons why a chimney gets too much draft. It could be due to a clogged chimney flue that’s filled with creosote. It could also be caused by other objects or even animals that make their way into the flue. Or it could also be because of poor chimney maintenance. It could be many other things. It’s important to solve this problem right away because of health and safety reasons. This can help lessen the chances for harmful toxins from entering the home and for it to safely make its way to the outside of the house without having to worry about fire or dangerous chemicals in the air.
You’ll know when there’s a draft when there is little amount of heat produced by the fire in your fireplace. Another basic observation is a distinct smell lingering inside or air entering your home through the firebox. Here at Jack Pixley Sweeps we make sure your home is cared for in the best way possible; with excellent services and licensed CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.
- Persistent smell inside the home
- Difficulty in starting or keeping the fire despite using seasoned wood
- Smoke spillage
- Not enough heat
Draft in the chimney can be solved by doing four things:
- First, what our people would usually do is to inspect your chimney. This can help them know what equipment to use, what other problems might be occurring and why draft existed in the first place.
- Second, thorough cleaning/sweeping of the chimney is a must. This procedure will remove draft inside the chimney, providing unrestricted air to properly flow.
- Third, sealing the leaks in your chimney can also be a good solution. You know how water can easily destroy the masonry walls and bricks in your chimney thus causing draft to happen and mold to form.
- Lastly, is to have a chimney cap installed. This can keep out animals, birds and debris from accumulating in your chimney.