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Waterproofing

While many regions of the country can experience high amounts of precipitation some times during the year, and low amounts at other times, the average remains consistent. There will be precipitation, whether in the form of drizzle, showers, storms, ice, snow, and even humidity. Make sure your masonry is protected!

Waterproofing A to Z

new red metal roof with skylights and chimneys

new red metal roof with skylights and chimneys

Water in any form is bad for your chimney. It’s our goal to keep water on the outside of your chimney, and we do that with an A to Z philosophy. Our waterproofing services will keep your chimney covered from top to bottom, beginning to end. Your chimney doesn’t just need waterproofed masonry, but also coverage from the top, down. It also requires protection year round, not for just one season. Waterproofing with A to Z Chimneys means protection from beginning to end and from top to bottom. Scheduling now can save you from excessive repair costs, extra maintenance, and unnecessary water damages that affect much more than just your chimney.

What to Expect

When you call on A to Z Chimney for waterproofing services, we will treat your masonry with a waterproofing agent, but your masonry is only one entry point of the water. We will make sure the entire system is protected.

  • Chimney Cap – Your chimney needs a chimney cap. This is the roof of your chimney, protecting the flue opening from water from above. The cap also prevents other damage like that caused by animal intrusion.
  • Chimney Crown – Your chimney crown is the ceiling of your chimney, protecting the chimney from the flue to the edge of the chimney. When made properly, it should be at a slope to shed water away and off the chimney. It should also have an overhang of at least two inches with a drip edge that makes the water drop from the crown instead of running down the masonry.
  • Flashing – The flashing protects the most vulnerable part of the entire chimney system. Many chimney leaks occur at the intersection of the roof and chimney, and this is because the area isn’t protected with flashing. The flashing is made up of thin sheets of metal that are placed in a specific way that sheds water away from intersections and seems. There may be flashing at other places on your roof that your roofer has installed. This works in the same way. However, your chimney flashing should only be installed by a certified chimney sweep. The flashing should show no exposed nails and should require no sealant or roofing tar.
  • Water-repellent – We use an industrial-grade water repellent to protect chimney masonry. Unlike other products that seal in the chimney and create dangerous pressure problems, our waterproofing agent allows the chimney to breathe and vent heat and air WITHOUT allowing water molecules in. It penetrates deeply into the masonry and lasts up to 8 years.

Trust A to Z Chimney

When it comes to chimney leak prevention, A to Z Chimneys has you covered. Just give us a call today so that your chimney can be protected from water damage this winter, made worse by freezing temperatures.

Schedule waterproofing today by calling 916-408-2496.

Tips for Building a Safe Fire This Winter

When it comes to building fires, we all think we know what we’re doing. That is—until the living room is full of smoke and the fire isn’t hot. It’s when you’re made to light a fire in order to keep warm or for ambiance and comfort for your home and family that you start to look for a better way. In the fire and chimney industry, we’ve lit more fires than we can count, and we recommend one to our customers for safety and efficiency.

Top-Down Firesstacked firewood next to axe

Considered new in many circles, the top-down fire has been around for some time. The idea is simple. Traditionally, the kindling is placed at the bottom of the fire, then larger wood is placed on top. It ignites as the wood falls onto the fire and the flames rise larger and higher.

A top-down fire is sometimes called an upside-down fire because it is the opposite of how people traditionally light a fire. Instead of kindling at the bottom, the largest pieces are placed on the bottom. The kindling is set afire on top and gravity causes coals and flames to fall. This is the most efficient use of firewood in your home, but it is something that takes instruction and practice.

How To Build Your Top-Down Fire

Whether you have a wood-burning fireplace, insert, or stove, you should be able to build and light a top-down burn with no problem as long as your firewood is properly seasoned and split to burn.

  1. First, place the largest pieces along the bottom of the fireplace running from front to back.
  2. Second, lay wood pieces that are cut slightly smaller across the first layer.
  3. Third, lay pieces that are cut the smallest across the previous layer running front to back.
  4. Lastly, gather kindling of softwood, cut in narrow lengths or short blocks atop the fire. This top layer of the fire should be at least a few inches below the top of the door of the stove or insert. Use this space to put wood shavings and paper knots.

To prepare paper knots, roll a piece of newspaper into a tight tube and then tie in a knot. Keep several of these paper knots in your kindling box, though once your fire is lit this way, all you’ll need to do is toss more logs on to keep it going. This technique can take longer to prep but results in a blazing fire within minutes.

Seasoned Firewood

It’s important that before you build your fire—any fire—you have an adequate supply of properly seasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood has less water content and burns more completely than green or “wet” wood, resulting in less creosote. Building a top-down fire helps the fire to burn more completely and helps the smoke to vent more easily because it’s not fighting to rise through a bunch of wood. If you have the proper firewood, have built a top-down fire, and are using the fireplace properly (damper, doors, etc.), and the fire is still not cooperating, there may be a bigger problem with the chimney system itself.

If you’re concerned about your chimney’s safety or efficiency this fall, give us a call at A to Z Chimneys. We care for chimneys from top-to-bottom.

Call us now at 916-408-2496 and schedule a chimney service today.

Fall Fireplace Mantel Decor Ideas

Your fireplace has most likely been out of commission this summer but hopefully has been cleaned and inspected already! During the offseason homeowners don’t have to worry about the fireplace unless there’s a problem, but fall is the hearth’s time to shine! Your fireplace is not only a valuable heat source but also the focal point of your entire home. When it’s time to light your fire, it’s also a great time to think about decorating your fireplace and mantel for the fall season and for the holidays.

Safety Firstcozy living room with fall decor

It’s important to do all you can to keep your fireplace safe and free of clutter even when decorating. It’s not enough to have a safe and clean chimney system and know how to use it properly, you must also make sure that your decorations are safe as well. Coming into the fall and then the holiday season, homeowners will begin to decorate the fireplace. It’s a perfect backdrop for all of your family festivities but can quickly turn to disaster if certain precautions aren’t followed.

Things to Remember When Decorating the Mantel

1. Do not leave decorative items hanging above the fireplace. Garland and lights should be properly secured to the fireplace.

2. Freestanding decorations should be kept far enough away from the fireplace opening that if it falls, it will be a safe distance from the fire.

3. Nothing should be put inside or too near a fireplace, even when the fire is out. Debris left inside a fireplace can become a serious fire hazard when a fire is burning.

4. Anything attached to the chimney above the mantel should be installed properly and only if your certified chimney sweep deems it safe.

5. Always use decorations that are flame-retardant. Do not place dried branches, limbs, or any organic material near your fireplace or on your mantel.

Mantel Ideas from the Professionals

Melons and Fruits – Melons and apples are a beautiful decoration for the fall and are not flammable. You can pair pumpkins and gourds with vases full of turned leaves. Plastic leaves are not as flammable as dried leaves and placing them in vases keeps them contained. You can also fill large vases or bowls with the apples to keep them from rolling.

Photos – Family or fall photos are a great way to decorate the mantel. Include decorative photos of leaves, landscapes, and holiday combinations between family photos.

Metal – Some bronzed or buffed metal can be the perfect shade to compliment the changing seasons. Metal vases, pitchers, candleholders, and baskets can create a great look for your mantel and keep items safely contained and away from the fire.

Early Christmas – Let Christmas come early by bringing together rustic scenes, photos, silhouettes, and garland. The mantel and fireplace are exactly where the holiday spirit thrives in the house, and the magic will begin with the first spark of the fire.

For more ideas, check out MidwestLiving’s “28 Fall Mantel Ideas” and “50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas”.

We want you to love your mantel and your holiday fireplace, but not at the expense of safety!

If you have any concerns with the safety of your fireplace, contact A to Z Chimney Services to schedule a chimney sweep or diagnostic inspection today Call us at 916-408-2496 or contact us online.

The Importance of Certifications

Whether you’re looking for a physician or a mechanic, it’s important to shop around. With today’s social media platforms and a variety of search engines, you have the advantage of finding the right professional. It’s important that you choose products and professionals that are the best when it comes to your safety. The professionals that are completing installations and maintenance on your home should be licensed and certified.

A to Z Chimneyscertification stamp

The chimney industry is under-regulated, which can put families and homes at risk. It’s our goal and the goal of many other industry professionals, to reduce the number of residential fires. We are able to do our part by obtaining and maintaining certifications, and educating our customers and communities..We believe our certifications help make us the best, which is why we continue to maintain them through continued education, examinations, and field training.

CSIA Certified Sweeps

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the only nationally-recognized industry-standard, established in the 1980s. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are trusted by other trades professionals as well as realtors, lawyers, and even fire marshals. Also, CSIA-certified sweeps abide by a code of ethics that protects consumers from chimney-related scams. In order to maintain our CSIA certification, we also have to renew our certifications every 3 years. This requires re-examination or continuing education credits.

Other Certifications

We don’t stop at CSIA certification. Our team at A to Z Chimneys is also certified by the National Fireplace Institute a certification agency trusted by manufacturers across the industry.

Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild

In addition to important industry certifications, it’s important for professionals to align themselves with local organizations as well as national ones. At A to Z Chimneys we are not only certified through CSIA and NFI, but also the Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild. We are also affiliated with the National Chimney Sweep Guild, local Chamber of Commerce, and a member of CSIA’s Management Information Exchange.

If you reside in the Greater Sacramento area, we are happy to help! It’s important to find the best professional for your necessary services. When you’re looking to schedule your routine chimney sweep or annual inspection, schedule with A to Z Chimneys. We don’t want our customers to get involved in scams or to put their homes in danger by hiring amateurs. Schedule with the licensed professionals—a company that can answer important questions like: What is your license number? Are you insured? Can you produce references?

We know that trust should be earned, and we want the chance to earn your trust.

Call us at 916-408-2496 to chat with a chimney expert today.

Entertaining with a New Outdoor Fireplace

Who says you have to wait for fall to start to enjoy a bonfire? You can install a stylish outdoor fireplace this summer and enjoy it right now! Invite family and friends over for evenings for a bonfire and stargazing. If you can see it but you’re not sure where to start, we can help. At A to Z Chimney Services, we can help make your outdoor dream space come to life with top-brand products and exceptional service.

Outdoor Fireplaces and Fuel

wood fireplace in actionWhen planning your outdoor fireplace, it’s important to choose the best fuel-type that will keep working for you year after year. A wood-burning fireplace may seem appealing right now, but after a year of buying or chopping firewood, difficult-to-light fires, and cleaning ashes, you may grow tired of it. Both gas and wood fires have their own benefits, but every household has to choose for themselves.

  • Wood – Wood fireplaces are great for homeowners who have access to firewood. Some homeowners prefer the ambiance of a crackling yellow fire and the high heat output of a wood fire. Other homeowners may dislike wood fires because of the work that it takes to light and maintains a wood fire. Wood fires require wood, kindling, and lots of work. You also have to keep feeding a wood fire to reach and maintain the desired temperature. When you’re finished with the fire, you have to put it out and routinely clean the fireplace of ashes and debris.
  • Gas – Many homeowners opt for gas when installing new appliances—even outdoor ones. Gas is the most eco-friendly option for fire products and offers many benefits that are unrivaled in other fuel-types. They are easy to install, use, and maintain. Many models have push-button ignition and shut off, consistent temperature settings, and even remote controls. Gas appliances are especially nice because you can enjoy the ambiance of a fire outside on warm nights without dealing with the high heat and smoke of a wood fire. You won’t even miss out on the look and feel of a wood fire either. Gas fireplaces are more realistic than ever, nowadays gas logs look just like real wood fireplaces.

Custom Outdoor Fireplaces

At A to Z Chimney Services, we employ masons that are creative and experienced with all types of stone and brick. When it comes to your outdoor fireplace, we can help bring it to life from the ground-up. Our techs can match your new outdoor fireplace for your architecture, landscaping, and the best features for your outdoor space. Your new fireplace can be freestanding, attached to your home’s exterior, or connected to an outdoor structure. The location is everything, and we can help with this too. Only a professional knows the best placement for the products that will bring value to your property. Our goal is warmth, comfort, safety, and lasting value.

If you live in the Sacramento area and would like to bring life to your patio, yard, garden, or deck, we can help. Call 916-408-2496 to talk about your outdoor fireplace with an expert today and check out these inspiring ideas!