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Holiday Mantel Ideas

The hearth is likely the focal point of your entire home and during the holidays it becomes the backdrop of every family gathering as well. It’s important to only use your fireplace properly during this time and to make sure all holiday decorations are placed safely around the hearth. One of the greatest joys a homeowner may have is to decorate the fireplace mantel for Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Here are our favorite tips and tricks for safe and stylish holiday hearth decorations.

Safety Firstholiday mantel decor

Make sure your holiday hearth is decorated safely. All freestanding decorations such as trees and figures should be placed far enough away from the fireplace opening so that it will not reach the flame if it falls over.
DÉCOR TIP: Add a fireplace screen, gate, or custom glass door set that will prevent anything from entering your fireplace.

Any hanging decorations should be secured with nails and staples. Commonly used adhesives such as command strips and tape can detach when heat or cold temperatures arise (such as the heat from a fire). If the decorations detach from the mantel, it could fall into the fir. This can result in an accidental fire that can cause costly damage to your home and injury or even death to your family. No decoration or specific look is worth risking your property or your life. Only decorate with proper connectors and attachments that will stay put.
DÉCOR TIP: Install hooks that stay year-round and you won’t have to worry about adhesives that will fail you.

Purchase and use decorations that are non-flammable for your mantel. Using dried flowers, grasses, and other organic materials such as pine cones, branches, and corn can result in disaster if ignited by a stray spark. If you choose to decorate with organic and natural materials, place them in containers such as vases, baskets, and bowls.
DÉCOR TIP: Use vases as well as bowls on the mantel to add height to your display.

Functional Decorations

Photos –

Your mantel may be cluttered with picture frames and to-do lists, but you can make it fabulous for the holidays with a little adjustment here and there. Instead of a mish-mash of photo frames of all sizes and styles, choose a few large frames in the colors of your choice, fill the frame with chicken wire or string with twine and clip a variety of photos to the wire of twine.

Calendars –

Instead of the boring and cluttered calendar and to-do list, put a calendar on your mantel that will make you smile as you pass it. A chalkboard sign that features the day’s to-dos, the countdown to Christmas, a note to Santa, and more. There are also desk calendars that are durable and stylish available each year.

Wood –

You can incorporate firewood into your holiday hearth decorations. Fill a vase with kindling, stow some seasoned firewood at the fireplace opening, and even a decorative fireplace screen can bring the whole look together.

Mirrors –

If you like to look in the mirror when you pass through the bedroom or bathroom, consider putting a mirror or two on the mantel. Choose a decorative one with a frame, or just use the glass. Pair with some traditional decorations, photos, or art.

Books –

Part of the spirit of the upcoming season involves literature. Whether your holiday traditions include reading The Bible or if you prefer Charles Dickens or even Dr. Seuss, your books can bring together a beautiful mantel decoration. Choose your favorite few Christmas books and incorporate colors and themes from their covers or their text.

Lights –

Candles are not the only lights that can bring life and light to your mantel. A kerosene lamp adds height and style to your mantel. If you’re uncertain about putting kerosene in the lamp, don’t. It will still be a beautiful addition to your mantel.

Fruits –

Who said fruit bowls are only for the kitchen? People buy fake fruit to decorate mantels and shelves all the time. Why not use the real thing? Find a bowl that you can’t live without and compliments your mantel and your living space, then fill it with all of the fresh fruits that you love.

Entertainment –

Though some may disagree, the mantel is a great place for the television. To prevent falls and accidents that can cause injury and break your television in the process, mount your television above the mantel. In order to safely mount a flat-screen onto the chimney, have a professional chimney sweep check out the chimney and install a mount. If you’re interested in surround sound or smart device streaming, you can hide a speaker in your mantel decorations as well.

Clean Chimneys for Christmas

When it’s time to decorate for the holidays, consider cleaning it! Scheduling a chimney sweep now will mean a chimney system that works more safely and efficiently, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Additionally, your chimney will not stink of soot and creosote and your fireplace will be free of stains and ash. If you have glass doors on your fireplace, make sure they’re clean for those holiday family festivities. Schedule a chimney sweep with A to Z Chimney Services.

If you reside in the Sacramento area and own or rent a home with a fireplace and mantel, call 916-408-2496 to talk to a chimney and fireplace expert today.

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!

Home fire prevention

When it comes to home fires, most homeowners prefer to not consider the possibility. Ignoring the risk of a home fire, however, could leave your home at risk. Instead of pushing aside the possibility of a fire in your home, look to prevention! Are you doing everything you can to keep your home safe from a fire? Here are several fire prevention elements that are often overlooked.

Chimney Sweepinghouse on fire

Many homeowners neglect their chimneys, especially if they don’t often use their fireplaces or heating stoves. This can be a major mistake when it comes to keeping your home safe from a chimney fire. Chimneys that are clogged from creosote can catch fire. Even if you don’t frequently use your chimney, an animal, bird or debris that finds its way in can create a blockage that could combust. To lower your home’s risk of a fire, the Chimney Safety Institute recommends having your chimney swept and inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least once per year, generally between fire-burning season.

Chimney Relining

During your annual chimney sweeping, your chimney sweep should be on the lookout for a breakdown of your chimney structure, particularly your chimney liner, that could lead to a chimney fire. If there are cracks, holes or weaknesses in the liner, heat and sparks could escape your chimney and gain access to your home’s structure, sparking a fire. Be sure to ask about the soundness of your chimney liner and fire bricks during your annual chimney inspection. If your sweep advises that your chimney or firebox need to be relined or repaired, don’t burn another fire until you have had the necessary work done.

Dryer vent cleaning

Just like chimneys, dryer vents can become clogged over time and cause a fire risk in your home. Like your fireplace chimney, your clothing dryer vents should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year. A professional cleaning will thoroughly remove any lint that leads to a fire. If you do a higher than average amount of laundry, you may need to have your dryer vents cleaned more often; know that it’s a warning sign of clogged vents if your dryer is taking longer to dry a load of laundry or if your dryer or laundry room becomes unusually hot when the dryer is in use.

Install smoke alarms throughout your home

A smoke alarm won’t prevent a fire, but they are your home’s best defense against complete destruction, and your family’s largest protector in case of a home fire. Smoke alarms should be installed on each floor of your home and in every sleeping area. Be sure to check your smoke alarms at least once every six months to be sure that they are still working properly.

Call A to Z Chimney Services!

For chimney sweeps, we know it is part of our responsibility to help lower our customers’ risk of home fires, and at A to Z Chimney Services, we take that responsibility seriously. Whether you need a chimney sweeping, dryer vent cleaning or chimney relining, call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule an appointment today!

Protect Your Chimney from Rain

What’s the biggest danger your chimney faces? Many people assume that a chimney fire is the biggest risk your chimney faces. In fact, chimney water raindamage is far more of a threat. Water damage to your chimney can cause cracks and leaks, and even deteriorate your chimney to the point of threatening its structural integrity. Water is so damaging to a chimney, in fact, that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has declared water chimney’s No. 1 enemy and cautions homeowners to do all they can to protect their chimney’s from water damage. Here are some things you can do to keep your chimney safe.

Put a cap on your chimney.

All chimneys should be outfitted with a chimney cap. A chimney cap shelters your chimney’s flue from falling precipitation. Without a chimney cap in place, water can flow down into your chimney every time it rains, causing damage to your chimney flue and creating damaging puddles in the bottom of your chimney. Installing a chimney cap is the CSIA’s primary recommendation from protecting your chimney from water damage.

Check your chimney crown.

In addition to a chimney cap, a chimney crown helps to prevent water from entering your chimney flue. However, many chimney crowns are improperly constructed from the wrong materials. A chimney crown should slope downward away from the opening of the chimney flue to direct water down away from the chimney flue opening. Your certified chimney sweep can check your chimney crown to verify that it’s been properly constructed to protect your chimney.

Address chimney damage immediately.

Chimney damage leads to more chimney damage. Cracks in your chimney’s masonry or in your chimney crown allows water to gain further access to your chimney and cause more damage. If you notice cracks in your chimney or chimney crown, if you notice that mortar has become soft and begun to crumble away, or if you notice signs that water is leaking into your home in or around your chimney, have the chimney inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent water from damaging your chimney or your home further.

Have your chimney waterproofed.

One of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your chimney from water damage is to have your chimney waterproofed. Masonry materials are porous; they naturally absorb water, which can cause chimney damage. A chimney waterproofing solution can block 99 percent of water from entering your chimney while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture created by your fireplace. Waterproofing your chimney can help keep your chimney protected from water damage for years.

Water can seriously damage your chimney. That damage can spread to your home, and it can compromise the integrity of your chimney, putting your home at risk for smoke or fire damage. A to Z Chimney Services can help keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage. Call today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected to determine if it’s at risk for water damage!

Easter mantel ideas

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.

Think pastels

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

spring wreathWreathes 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.

Incorporate plants

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!

Fireplace draft issues

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

smoky chimneyYour 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.

Dirty chimney

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!