Our Company Blog
Mantels get a lot of attention around Christmas. Everyone loves a mantel adorned with evergreen boughs, strung with lights and Christmas stockings. You don’t have to leave mantel decorating for wintertime only. Mantels can be decorated year round to reflect the season. Here are some Easter mantel decorating ideas to inspire you.
Spring is often associated with pastels. By utilizing a pastel color pallet on your mantel, this instantly transform your mantel into a beautiful Easter showpiece. You should look for candles, vases, tapestries, accents and decors with pastel colors. If pastels overwhelms you, consider decorating your mantel with primarily white décor and add a few sprigs of spring flowers.
Embrace the spring wreath
Wreathes are often thought of as wintertime décor, but you can find a wreath to fit just about any season now. Wreaths are a great winter accent and in the spring too for Easter. You should look for wreathes with lots of spring greenery, featuring springtime flowers or accents, or even made from decorative eggs. If you don’t want to commit to a wreath above your mantel for Easter, a seasonal wreath can also look elegant on the mantel for spring.
Everyone gets excited to see the first greenery and the first buds of spring. You should capitalize on that excitement as you decorate your mantel for Easter. By using flowers that are usually associated with spring such as daffodils, tulips and lilies, you mantel will be styling with a touch of spring. You can also add fake green grass sprinkled with Easter elements for added effects. Fresh cut flowers are always beautiful, but you can achieve a lovely effect with quality fake flowers from the craft store.
String fairy lights
Twinkling lights aren’t just for Christmas. Many people are incorporating string lights into their décor year round. By adding small, delicate string lights to your Easter mantel or look for lights in a pastel color just for this season can really spice up your mantel decor. Worried about unsightly cords between your mantel and outlet? You can look for battery-operated LED lights.
Add Easter accents
When it comes to your mantel, have fun with your Easter-themed by adding Easter accents such as colored eggs, bunny figurines, chicks and grass. You can go all out with lots of Easter accents, or add one eye-catching piece of Easter décor or a small Easter accents to be subtle. Don’t just enjoy the aesthetics of your mantel at Christmas. Mantels can be decorated to suit any season. Have fun with your mantel this Easter by decorating your mantel.
We hope you enjoyed these mantel decoration ideas. For any chimney and fireplace needs, don’t hesitate to give A to Z Chimney Services today!
One of the most common problems with fireplace is a smoky chimney. As the fire burns in your fireplace, you find your home filling with smoke. If your chimney is drafting properly, you should not notice any smoke in your home. However, if your fireplace does fill your home with smoke, it’s time to evaluate and resolve the issue. Smokey fireplaces are a nuisance, and they can degrade your indoor air quality. Here are some of the most common causes of chimney draft issues. At A to Z Chimney Services, we are here to troubleshoot any smoky issues for you!
Stuck or damaged damper
Your chimney’s damper regulates the air flow of your chimney. If your home is filling with smoke when a fire is burning, the chimney damper often is to blame. The chimney damper could be stuck closed, preventing smoke from rising out of the chimney altogether, or it may not be opened fully. A partially closed damper can restrict the air exchange through your chimney, causing improper draft and filling your chimney and home with smoke.
A dirty chimney can also be a culprit of causing smoke to enter your home. If the chimney flue is restricted because of a buildup of creosote, the chimney won’t draft properly and smoke can fill your home. If your chimney has been recently cleaned, and your fireplace is suddenly smoking without another explanation, it’s still important to call a sweep. This often means an animal or debris could have made its way into your chimney, creating a blockage that prevents smoke from exiting your home properly.
Missing chimney cap
Your chimney cap plays a role in keeping smoke from entering your home when a fire is burning. The chimney cap prevents bursts of air from flowing down your chimney, blowing smoke back into your home. Sometimes, solving chimney draft issues are as simple as installing or replacing a chimney cap.
Cold chimney flue
If your fireplace smokes when a fire is first lit, but the smoking seems to subside once the fire gets going, your chimney might just be too cold. When dense, cold air fills the chimney, it can block smoke from drafting up and out of the chimney. This is often a problem for homes whose chimneys are on an exterior wall. You can solve this problem by warming your chimney before lighting a fire. Twist tight logs of newspaper and light one end. Hold the burning newspaper in your fireplace at the base of the chimney flue. Repeat this with two or three pieces of newspaper, and your flue should be adequately warm to allow proper drafting.
Improperly sized chimney
In some cases, chimney draft issues have to do with the chimney construction itself. If the chimney flue is too wide or narrow for your firebox, or if it is too tall or short for your fireplace, your chimney won’t draft properly and your home will fill with smoke. The only way to restore a proper chimney draft is with professional intervention. Most of the time, we can resolve the draft with a new chimney liner or a chimney extension.
If chimney draft issues left your home unpleasantly smoke this winter, get the issues resolved before you burn another fire! Contact A to Z Chimney Service to schedule an appointment today!
When was the last time you gave thought to your clothing dryer vents? If you can’t remember — or if you have never given thought to your clothing dryer vents — the time has come to think about them. Ignoring your clothing dryer vents can cause you serious problems, and put your home and your family in danger.
You know that your clothing dryer creates lint every time you dry a load of laundry. What you might not realize is that the lint you clean out of your lint trap isn’t the entirety of the lint. With each load of laundry, damp lint bypasses the dryer and sticks to the edges of your dryer vents, then to itself. If dryer vents aren’t cleaned regularly, they will become clogged with lint. Clogged dryer vents can cause the dryer’s heating element to overheat and ignite, leading to a serious fire. In fact, firefighters in the United States respond to nearly 15,000 clothing dryer fires each year.
If your clothing dryer vents have become clogged, it’s likely your dryer will be sending you signs of a pending problem. As you think about your clothing dryer vents, ask yourself these questions:
• Are loads of laundry taking longer to dry than normal? When dryer vents are clogged, your dryer won’t work efficiently, and clothes will take longer to dry than normal. A regular load of clothes should dry within a 40-minute cycle, and a heavier load of blankets or towels should dry within an hour if dryer vents are cleared and the dryer is working efficiently.
• Is your clothing dryer hot to the touch when it’s running? Does your laundry room heat up noticeably when the dryer is running? When the vents are clogged, the dryer vent’s heating element is prone to overheating. Clogged dryer vents can cause the dryer to feel hot to the touch, the laundry room to heat up noticeable and clothes to feel unusually hot to the touch when they come out of the dryer.
• Does your laundry room smell smoky, musty or overwhelmingly like fabric softener? If dryer vents are clogged, the air won’t be exhausting fully from your dryer, which can cause an overwhelming smell of fabric softener. An overheated heating element can cause a smoky, burning smell, and if clothes aren’t drying fully with each dryer cycle, a musty smell can result.
• Do you have a smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in or near your laundry room? Even if you routinely have your clothing dryer vents cleaned, your laundry room should be outfitted with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you and your family of a fire or buildup of carbon monoxide caused by clogged dryer vents or a faulty dryer.
The only way to protect your home from the dangers of clogged dryer vents is with a professional dryer vent cleaning. A professional dryer vent cleaning scrubs the lint from vent walls with high-powered rotating brushes and vacuums it away to keep vents clear. Think about your clothing dryer vents — if they are due for a cleaning, call to schedule an appointment with A to Z Chimney Services today!
In just a few days, the man with all the toys will make his way down the chimney to fill stockings and leave presents under the tree. Don’t make Santa come down a dirty chimney — call A to Z Chimney Sweep to have your chimney swept and inspected before Santa Claus comes to town! Here’s why you need to have your chimney swept this holiday season.
Get rid of dangerous creosote
To lower your home’s risk of a chimney fire, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney swept and inspected at least once per year. Every time you burn a fire in your fireplace, creosote forms on the inside of the chimney walls. This creosote is highly flammable; if it builds up to too high of a level on the chimney walls, a stray ember or excessive heat from your fireplace can cause it to ignite. Having your chimney swept before Christmas won’t just keep Santa’s suit from getting sooty, it also can help protect your home from a fire!
Be sure that your chimney is free from blockages
Santa needs to be able to get down the chimney on Christmas Eve. Are you sure that your chimney is blockage free? When temperatures drop outside, chimneys seem like a warm and inviting place, and animals often will seek shelter inside. Or, high winds can blow leaves and other debris down the chimney that can cause the clogs. Blockages in the chimney won’t just prevent Santa’s passage. It also can ignite in the fireplace, and prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from exiting your home. A pre-Christmas chimney sweep ensures Santa can come down the chimney and helps save your home from smoke, carbon monoxide and a potential chimney fire.
Don’t let foul chimney smells ruin your holidays
Dirty chimneys can be stinky. When your chimney isn’t in use, negative pressure in your home, caused by air-tight windows and other vented appliances, can pull air down the chimney and into your home. That can lead to foul smells that interfere with your enjoyment of the holidays. On top of that, you don’t want to make Santa come down a stinky chimney! Santa hates going down stinky chimneys; the smell is hard to get out of the Santa suit!
Don’t let a dirty chimney ruin your holiday season. A dirty chimney can cause a host of problems for Santa Claus, and it can be a danger or inconvenience from your home. A dirty chimney poses a fire hazard, it can cause smoke or carbon dioxide to flow back into your home, or it can fill your home with embarrassing odors during holiday gatherings. Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your pre-Christmas chimney sweeping today!
Clothing dryer vents, just like any other appliance vents, requires regular, professional cleaning to keep your appliance running safely and efficiently. When clothing dryer vents become clogged with lint, obstructed by outside debris or damaged, they can pose a serious fire hazard in your home. Clogged dryer vents can cause the appliances heating element to overheat and catch fire. If you have a gas clothing dryer, clogged dryer vents can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. At the very least, clogged dryer vents can cause your machine to work inefficiently, costing you time and money every time you dry a load of laundry.
How To Avoid Dryer Vent Buildup
To avoid the dangers of clogged clothing dryer vents and to keep your clothing dryer running efficiently, it’s recommended that you have your dryer vents cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once per year. If you do a higher than normal amount of laundry in your home, you might even need to have your dryer vents cleaned more frequently. To determine whether it’s time to have your dryer vents cleaned and inspected, look for these signs that your clothing dryer vents are clogged:
• Drying time is longer than normal. The first sign that dryer vents are becoming clogged is that loads of laundry will begin taking longer to dry. Generally speaking, a load of clothing should not take more than 35 to 40 minutes, or one dryer cycle, to dry completely.
• Clothes smell musty when they come out of the dryer. Because clothes aren’t drying as quickly as they should be, your clothes might come out of the dryer with a musty smell when dryer vents are clogged.
• A burning smell. If your dryer vents are clogged, your laundry room might become filled with a burning smell when the dryer is running.
• Excessive heat. Because your dryer is working over time to dry clothes when dryer vents are clogged, you might notice an increase in heat in and around your dryer. The dryer itself might become very hot to the touch when it’s running, the laundry room might heat up noticeably when the dryer is running or clothes might come out of the dryer feeling abnormally hot to the touch.
• A strong smell of dryer sheets. Clogged dryer vents meant the air doesn’t exhaust from your dryer as it should. Because the air is trapped in the dryer, you might notice a very strong smell of fabric softer in the laundry room or in your clothes.
• A buildup of lint in and around the dryer. When dryer vents are clogged, lint that’s newly generated by your clothes and linens has nowhere to go. As a result, when dryer vents are clogged, you might notice a buildup of lint around your dryer’s lint trap, on the floor behind your dryer when the dryer vent attaches or outside your home underneath your dryer’s exhaust vent.
If you notice any of these signs that your dryer vents are clogged, don’t wait to have your dryer vents cleaned — You have a serious fire hazard in your home! Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule a dryer vent cleaning and inspection to restore your dryer’s safety and efficiency.
Fireplaces, space heaters, Christmas trees and holiday candles: It’s easy to see why home fires are more common during the fall and winter months. To help keep homes and families safe, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has declared Oct. 7 through Oct. 13 its annual Fire Prevention Week. This year’s Fire Prevention Week is encouraging people across the county to “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere.”
The first step in decreasing your home’s winter safety risk is: Look. Look around your home for potential fire hazards. Hazards include overloaded extension cords or electrical outlets; fireplaces or chimneys that have not been swept or inspected before being used for the season; clothing dryer vents that haven’t been cleaned within a year; appliances like irons and curling irons that are left plugged in and unattended; and candles that are too close to combustible and that could be knocked over by a pet or a small child. Also take a look at your home’s heating appliances. There should be a minimum of a 3-foot “safety zone” around fireplaces, heating stoves, furnaces and space heaters that are left free of flammable items such as furniture, books, pillows, blankets, curtains or other items that could catch fire and spread.
Know to listen for the sound of smoke alarms in your home. According to the NFPA, a working smoke alarm can cut your risk of dying in home fire by half. Make sure any children in your home know what your smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear smoke alarms going off. Check your home to be sure it’s equipped with enough smoke alarms; there should be a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in every sleeping area. Each fall, test your smoke alarm to be sure they are in working condition. Get help when you test your smoke alarms; have someone stand at the opposite end of your home while you push the test button to be sure that they can hear the alarm going off. You should be able to hear at least one smoke alarm sounding from every area of your home and sounding loud enough to wake you up or alert you to a problem.
Just having smoke detectors and listening for the sound of your smoke detectors isn’t enough. You and your family should have a plan of action for what to do when the smoke detectors sound. Your plan should include at least two ways out of every room in your home, a meeting place a safe distance from your home and a plan for calling 911 in the event of a fire. Make sure everyone in your home knows the plan well enough to execute it in an emergency; that might include practicing your fire exit plan, especially if you have small children in your home.
If you need help keeping your home safe from a home fire this winter, A to Z Chimney Services can help! We can sweep and inspect your chimney; service your fireplace or heating stove; or clean your clothing dryer vents to be sure that these appliances aren’t posing a risk in your home.
Fall means one thing: Fireplace season is upon us! Fall officially begins Sept. 22, and that means that homeowners everywhere will begin calling their chimney sweeps to schedule their annual chimney sweepings and inspections. Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your appointment today so you don’t miss out!
Why you need to schedule an annual chimney sweeping and inspection
Your annual chimney sweeping and inspection is crucial to keeping your home safe from the danger of a chimney fire or a malfunctioning fireplace. In wood-burning fireplaces, flammable creosote builds up each time you burn a fire; if that creosote isn’t swept away, it can ignite and cause a full-scale chimney fire. In any fireplace, obstructions in the chimney can catch fire, and any weaknesses in the firebox or chimney can allow the heat and embers from your fireplace to leech out of the chimney and potentially spark a home fire. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association recommends that all fireplaces and chimneys are swept and inspected at least once per year.
Why you should choose A to Z for your chimney services
If you’re searching for a new chimney sweep, look no further than A to Z Chimney Services! A to Z Chimney Services has all of the experience and certification you should look for in a chimney sweep. We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the National Fireplace Institute and the State of California. We are members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild. We are also fully insured! On top of all of our certifications, education and memberships, A to Z Chimney Services has been around for 23 years and has earned a reputation as Sacramento’s best chimney service company.
Why you need to schedule your chimney service now
With Labor Day behind us and the first day of fall fast approaching, homeowners across Sacramento will be rushing to make their chimney sweeping appointments. Schedule now to beat the rush! Waiting too long to schedule your appointment can have you waiting weeks for an available service technician, and you might have to settle for an appointment time and date that aren’t convenient for your schedule. The sooner you book, the less time you will have to wait for an appointment, and the sooner you will be able to use your fireplace this fall.
Your annual chimney sweeping and inspection is crucial for the safe operation of your fireplace and chimney this fall and winter. In the Sacramento area, you won’t find another company with the certifications, training and experience of A to Z Chimney Services. Make sure you’re ahead of the fall rush; call A to Z to schedule your cleaning and inspection today!
Summer will quickly yield to fall — is your chimney ready? If your chimney is in need of repairs, now is the time to schedule them! Scheduling your chimney repair now will ensure that you get your repair on your chimney company’s schedule before the fall rush hits and before colder, wetter weather can interfere with repair work. By having your chimney repaired now, you won’t risk being unable to use your fireplace when temperatures drop. What are some common repairs your chimney could need?
Missing or damaged chimney cap
A chimney cap is your chimney’s best defense against water damage. That’s because having a chimney cap over your chimney opening prevents water from running straight down your flue every time it rains. Often, chimneys are missing caps or chimney caps are in disrepair and fail to protect the chimney. Your chimney should have a sturdy cap in place before fall begins, and your chimney cap should be surrounded by a wire cage to prevent animals and debris from entering your chimney.
Cracks in the firebox or chimney flue
When a chimney begins to deteriorate, the damage is often internal. Faced with the extreme heat from your fireplace, moisture from outside and corrosive byproducts from fires, the firebox and chimney liner can begin to corrode, crack or begin to crumble. This damage is dangerous, as weaknesses in the firebox and chimney can let smoke, heat and carbon monoxide to leak out of your chimney and into your home. If you notice cracks in your firebox, pieces or debris in your fireplace or have been told that your chimney liner has deteriorated, your fireplace and chimney interior should be repaired before you light another fire.
Crumbling chimney exterior
Exterior chimney masonry can fall victim to dangerous damage, too. Porous chimney masonry absorbs water, and over time, that water can cause chimney bricks to crack and mortar to crumble away. Chimney cracks, or crumbling masonry, allow even more water to enter your chimney. If exterior masonry chimney damage is ignored, the chimney structure can fail, and your chimney can begin to lean or even fall.
Rusted or warped chimney damper
Nothing annoys homeowners quite like a rusted or warped chimney damper. The heat from your firebox causes metal dampers to warp, while any exposure to moisture can cause them to rust. Cold air can leak around the dampers when your fireplace isn’t in use, chilling your living space, and they can become impossible to open or close. If you’re combating a warped damper, consider replacing your faulty damper with a top-sealing chimney damper, a superior damper design that completely seals off your chimney to moisture, cold drafts and animal intrusions.
If your chimney requires repairs, don’t wait for the fall chimney rush to strike; now is the time to have your chimney repaired! Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your chimney repairs today!
When was the last time you thought about your chimney? With summer in full swing, the answer is probably not anytime recently. Taking the time to care for your chimney this summer pays dividends this fall. Here’s what you stand to gain by scheduling your chimney sweeping and inspection this summer.
When summer turns to fall, most homeowners turn to their fireplace and chimney systems in anticipation of cooler days ahead. That leads to a fall rush for chimney sweeps, which can have you waiting weeks to have your chimney swept and inspected. When you schedule your chimney sweeping during the summer, you beat the fall rush. You won’t have to wait weeks for a chimney sweep. You will also have an easier time finding an appointment that fits best into your schedule.
Ample Time for Repairs and Improvements
Usually, chimney sweepings and inspections are quick, no-fuss affairs. However, sometimes inspections uncover problems. Or, sometimes homeowners take advantage of their chimney technician’s expertise to discuss the possibility of hearth improvements. Whether your chimney requires a necessary repair or you’d like to upgrade your fireplace or chimney, a summertime chimney sweeping and inspection provides you with all the time you need to have work done. By not waiting for fall, you have ample time to have a repair or an upgrade made to your fireplace or chimney.
Eliminate or Avoid Chimney Odors
Chimneys can be stinky places. The byproducts that accumulate in your chimney can cause unpleasant odors on their own. Sometimes, animals or debris find their way in and cause an entirely different array of smells to emanate from your chimney. Odors often intensify during the summer, when chimneys sit unused and warm temperatures embellish any trapped stenches. Having your chimney swept in the summer can remove the root causes of chimney odors. This will save you from the frustration and embarrassment of having chimney odors fill your home on hot summer days.
Protect Your Chimney
In addition to causing odors, buildup in your chimney can cause damage. If animals make home in your chimney, their nests and claws can damage your chimney liner. In addition, rotting debris can hold damaging moisture against your chimney flue. The byproducts of your fires alone are corrosive and can wear away at chimney liners if allowed to sit in place. Sweeping your chimney as soon as the fire-burning season ends removes any damaging buildup. This in turn extends the life of your chimney liner.
Caring for your chimney during the summer instead of waiting until the fall allows you to conveniently schedule your appointment, gives you time to make repairs or improvements, eliminates chimney odors, and protects your chimney liner. A to Z Chimney Services can clean and inspect your chimney this summer so your fireplace is ready for the fall. Don’t forget about your chimney this summer – schedule your sweeping with A to Z Chimney Services today!
Almost all fireplace dampers are the same, a cast-iron contraption located at the top of the firebox. Many homeowners assume that these dampers are the only type. However, there’s another option and you may want to consider it. Here’s what you need to know about chimney dampers and why you should install a top-sealing damper in your home.
The Problem With Traditional Chimney Dampers
Most chimney dampers use a basic technology. A metal ring or exterior surrounds the opening of the chimney flue at the top of the firebox. A flap either folds or twists to fit into that damper when it is closed and your fireplace is not in use. The problem with these types of dampers is that they are highly inefficient, and they become burdensome over time.
Due to the extreme heat of the fireplace, metal fireplace dampers warp over time and fail to form a tight seal. The warping can also impact the mechanics of the damper, causes it to get stuck or make it difficult to open or close. Once your chimney damper fails, your chimney lose a significant amount of air when not in use. This also makes it easier for cold drafts to make their way down your chimney.
The Solution to Inefficient Dampers: Top-Sealing Dampers
If your traditional throat chimney damper has failed or is allowing cold drafts into your home, the best solution is to get a top-sealing chimney damper. A top-sealing damper is fitted to the top of your chimney, rather than placed inside. These dampers feature rubber gaskets to allow the damper to seal off the chimney entirely when your fireplace is not in use.
When you install a top-sealing chimney damper, a cable runs down the interior of the chimney. The damper is opened or closed with the pull of a chain or a lever. You’ll also notice that warm air is sealed inside your home, while water and cold drafts will never find their way in again. It will also help your chimney flue to block off wild animals and debris!
Call A to Z Chimney Services to learn more about Top-sealing Chimney Dampers!
If cold drafts is coming down your chimney or your throat damper has failed, call our experts at A to Z Chimney Services to schedule an appointment right now. We can answer all your questions about top-sealing chimney dampers, and we can also assess your chimney to find the best one for you!