Fall means cozy fires in the fireplace, but it also means an uptick in home fires. As hearth professionals, we at A to Z Chimney Services take it upon ourselves to educate our customers on fire safety. That’s why we’re taking the time to recognize National Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 8 through 14 and aims to educate Americans on how to reduce the risk of home fires and on what to do in the event of a fire.
Fire Prevention Tips
There are quite a few things you can do in your home to lower your risk of a fire. They include:
• Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected at least once per year. A chimney sweeping ensures that your fireplace is free from flammable creosote or other debris, and in good repair.
• Creating a 3-foot safe zone around your fireplace and other heating appliances. Keep that zone clear of papers, décor and furnishings that could catch fire.
• Using a fireplace screen or fireplace doors. Keep embers and shifting logs from popping out of your fireplace by using a fireplace screen or ceramic fireplace doors.
• Monitoring fire hazards. Never allow candles, fireplaces, portable heaters or stoves to burn unattended.
• Cleaning your clothing dryer vents. Clothing dryer vents are another hidden fire hazard in your home. The lint that builds up can cause your dryer to overheat and ignite. Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned at least once per year to lower your risk.
• Educating children about fire safety. Curious children play with candles and matches or get too close to fireplaces. Make sure that you educate the children in your home about fire dangers, and keep all potential fire hazards well out of the reach of small children.
Fire Safety Tips
Even while exercising fire prevention, there still is the possibility that a fire will occur. Make sure you’re observing fire safety tips so you and your family are prepared in case a fire strikes:
• Equip your home with smoke detectors. You should have smoke detectors on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas. Make sure you check the batteries on your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they’re working.
• Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. You should have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. The fire extinguisher should be kept in an area that’s easily accessible.
• Have an emergency escape plan. You should have an emergency escape plan for your home that includes at least two exit strategies. Make sure that everyone in your home is aware of the escape plan and your meeting point in case of a fire.
Here are some additional fire safety tips by Alarms.org
At A to Z Chimney Services & Dryer Vent Cleaning, we take our role in our client’s fire prevention strategies seriously. Call to schedule your appointment — or to ask about reducing your home’s risk of a fire with chimney or dryer vent cleaning services — today!
Do you know what’s inside your chimney? Many homeowners assume that the chimney structure itself is all that’s needed to vent smoke from their fireplaces and keep their homes safe from a chimney fire. But it takes more than a hollow chimney tube to protect your chimney: Your chimney needs a chimney liner.
Why You Need a Chimney Liner
Since the early part of the 20th century, properly constructed chimneys were built with chimney liners inside. In a traditional chimney, liners are built from specialized clay tiles, though prefabricated fireplaces often include metal chimney liners that are optimal for the appliance. Chimney liners are responsible for several important functions including:
- Keeping your home safe from a chimney fire. Chimney liners insulate the chimney from the rest of the home to keep the building materials surrounding the chimney from igniting. In fact, in laboratory tests, construction materials abutting unlined chimneys ignited within four hours of lighting a fire in the fireplace.
- Protecting your chimney structure. The soot and creosote that build up within your chimney are damaging to masonry materials. A chimney liner helps to protect your chimney structure from breakdown due to soot and creosote.
- Creating a proper draft. When the inside of your chimney isn’t the optimal size, shape, and height for your fireplace, smoke won’t flow properly up and out of your chimney and can leave your house filled with smoke.
How To Know if Your Chimney is Lined
It’s crucial to know that your chimney is lined and that your chimney liner is in good shape. All chimney liners can break down over time, cracking from exposure to extreme heat or crumbling due to exposure to moisture. The only way to be sure that your chimney is lined and in good condition is to have your chimney swept and inspected at least once per year. If you’ve never had your chimney inspected, your chimney sweep can confirm the presence of a chimney liner and that the liner is solid enough to continue protecting your home. Regular, annual chimney inspections ensure that any deterioration within the chimney liner is spotted
What To Do if Your Chimney Liner is Damaged
If your chimney is unlined, or the liner has been damaged to the point of no longer being safe, you don’t need to worry! Lining — or relining — a chimney is a relatively simple process. An unlined chimney, or a chimney with a damaged liner, can be quickly lined with a stainless steel chimney liner. Or, if you have a damaged clay tile chimney liner, it can be fixed easily with a specialized refractory cement. If you’re concerned your chimney doesn’t have a liner or if you’re concerned that your liner might be in disrepair, call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule an inspection today!
Have you been told that your chimney is in need of repair? Have you noticed that your chimney is looking worse for the wear? You might be wondering when is the best time to have your chimney repaired? That time is now!
There are several reasons spring is ideal for scheduling chimney repairs, including:
• Warmer, dryer weather. The No. 1 reason spring is the best time for chimney repairs is warmer, dryer weather. Many chimney repairs, particularly masonry repairs, cannot ideally be performed in cold or wet weather. As cold winter weather yields to sunny spring days, you can finally have your chimney damage taken care of.
• The frequency of winter chimney damage. No season is harder on your chimney than winter. During the winter, your chimney deals with the excess heat of your fireplace. Winter brings a lot of wet weather and colder temperatures. All of those extreme conditions can lead to a host of chimney problems. If your chimney has suffered damage over the winter months, you will want to have your chimney repaired as soon as possible. That makes spring ideal for chimney repairs.
• Easier scheduling. Chimney companies’ schedules fill up fast once cooler weather hits. When you schedule your chimney repairs in the spring, you have the best chance of having your chimney repairs scheduled and completed quickly. That means you won’t have to worry that you won’t have to miss out on enjoyment of your fireplace this fall because you’re still waiting for your chimney repairs.
To have necessary chimney repairs completed this spring, you should know what chimney repairs you need. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform a quick visual inspection of your fireplace and chimney each spring. Once the weather clears up, examine the exterior of your chimney.
Look for cracks, crumbling or gaps in the masonry, discoloration or rust on the sides of the chimney and any signs of leaning or misalignment in the chimney. If you are able to access chimney rooftop, or to view it from the ground or a window, check to make sure your chimney cap remains undamaged and in place, your chimney crown or chase cover is free from damage and your flashing remains snug against the base of your chimney and doesn’t have any cracks or signs of corrosion. Inside your home, you will want to check for cracks in the firebox, rust on the damper, fireplace doors or fire grate and signs of water damage on the walls and ceiling surrounding the chimney.
Because spring is the ideal time for chimney repairs, it’s also the ideal time for a chimney sweeping and inspection.
If you schedule your chimney inspection for the spring, hire a certified chimney sweep. They will be able to spot any repairs your chimney or fireplace will need to undergo before the next fire-burning season. A spring inspection ensures plenty of time to have your chimney repaired and ready for the fall.
If you need chimney repairs or would like to have your chimney inspected by a professional this spring, call 916-850-2446 today!
If you see signs of damage on your chimney, don’t wait until fall approaches to call your chimney sweep. Have your chimney repaired this summer! Chimney repairs can take some time, and chimney companies’ schedules fill up quickly in late summer and early fall. If you wait too long to schedule your chimney repairs, your chimney won’t be ready when temperatures drop, and you will miss the first opportunities to light a fire this fall.
There are other reasons to schedule your chimney repairs this summer! If your chimney’s masonry is in need of repairs, summer is the optimal time to address those repairs. Masonry materials need warmer weather to cure properly, and repairs may not be able to be undertaken if temperatures drop too low or if rainy weather hits. Summer repairs also can save your chimney from further damage. Leaking flashing, missing or damaged chimney caps, deteriorating mortar or chimney crowns, and spalling bricks all can allow more water to seep into your chimney or your home’s structure. Having those repairs taken care of now can save you the headache and cost of more extensive repairs later.
If your chimney needs to be repaired, A to Z Chimney Services can help!
We can repair any of your chimney problems, including:
- Cracked or spalling bricks,
- Crumbling mortar,
- Deteriorating or improperly constructed chimney crown,
- Leaking flashing,
- Rusting dampers,
- Damaged flues, and
- Missing or damaged chimney caps or spark arrestors.
In addition to traditional masonry chimneys, we can repair your prefabricated chimney! Regardless of which make and model of prefabricated chimney you have, we can find the right parts and make needed repairs to have your chimney repaired and safe for your fall fires.
A to Z Chimney Services also can help with preventative chimney maintenance. Summer is the perfect time to have your chimney swept and inspected to identify any chimney problems in time to have those problems addressed before you are ready to light your first fall fire. We also can help you take steps to protect your chimney from future damage. We can install a top-sealing damper atop your chimney’s flue to stop drafts and water from making their way down your chimney. We can apply a chimney waterproofing solution to block water from penetrating your chimney’s masonry and causing damage.
This summer, take a walk around your chimney to see if you can notice any visible damage, such as cracked or missing bricks, or a rusting chimney cap, or call to schedule a chimney inspection to make sure you don’t have any hidden issues lurking within or atop your chimney. If you want to repair and prepare your chimney for the fall fire burning season, call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your repairs, consultation or inspection today!
Homebuyers love fireplaces. In national realty surveys, 60 percent of homebuyers listed a fireplace among the top three amenities they look for in a home. In another survey, 46 percent of homebuyers said they would pay more for a home with a fireplace. According to the National Association of Realtors, a fireplace can increase a home’s value by up to $12,000.
With that in mind, maintaining your fireplace goes hand in hand with maintaining your home’s value. While homebuyers will pay more for a home with a fireplace, very few homebuyers want to take on homes that need costly and extensive repairs, and that includes chimney repairs. Additionally, a poorly maintained fireplace can show signs of water damage and staining, detracting from your home’s aesthetic value.
So what can you do to make sure that your home’s fireplace and chimney remains an asset to your home’s value, rather than becoming a liability?
Chimney maintenance begins with your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. First and foremost, your annual sweeping removes creosote from the inside of your chimney, saving your home from the risk of a chimney fire. You can contact Smart Dry Restoration as they have some of the best restoration services. In fact, these guys are great at water damage repair as much as they are great at fire and mold restoration. On top of that, the creosote that builds up within your chimney is acidic. In addition to being a fire hazard, creosote left within the chimney can eat away at chimney liners, causing their deterioration.
The inspection portion of your annual chimney sweeping helps to identify any minor chimney problems before they become major chimney problems. Your chimney sweep will look for signs of water damage, leaks, cracks and other chimney deterioration. If a problem occurs, your chimney sweep will recommend a course of action for preventing a small chimney maintenance issue from become a major structural problem that could affect not just your chimney, but your home structure, as well.
Of course, preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your chimney boosts your home’s value. Generally, with chimneys, preventative maintenance means protecting your chimney and fireplace from water damage, as water is the leading cause of chimney and fireplace deterioration. There are three primary ways to protect your chimney from water damage:
• Chimney cap. A chimney covers your chimney’s opening like a little roof. It prevents water from running freely down the inside of your flue. You, or your chimney sweep, should check your chimney cap regularly to make sure it is in good repair and firmly in place over your flue.
• Waterproofing. A waterproofing treatment prevents moisture from seeping in to your chimney’s masonry and causing damage while still allowing your chimney to exhaust fireplace smoke and gases as it was meant to.
• Flashing. Flashing should surround your chimney’s base, preventing water from leaking into your home’s roofline. Just like your chimney cap, your flashing should be inspected regularly to make sure that it is secure and free from any holes, cracks or signs of corrosion.
Remember that investing in regular chimney maintenance is an investment in your home! If you are due for a sweeping and inspection, or if you would like to hear more about protecting your chimney and your home’s value, call the chimney experts at A to Z Chimney Services today!