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!
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!
The new year presents the perfect time to check things off of your to-do list. If you haven’t had your annual cleaning and inspection, you should start the year with a freshly cleaned chimney! An uncleaned chimney poses a risk to your home and family. Resolve to maintain your fireplace’s safety by scheduling a chimney sweeping with a certified technician from A to Z Chimney Services today!
Importance of annual chimney cleaning
The National Fire Protection Association advises homeowners to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected at least once per year. An annual chimney sweeping guarantees that your chimney is clear from dangerous creosote. A highly flammable substance, creosote buildup is a leading cause of chimney fires. Creosote also can interfere with your chimney’s draft or cause an unpleasant smell in your home during warm summer months.
Your chimney sweep also inspects your fireplace and chimney for damage and proper function. Your annual chimney sweeping can help you to address minor problems with your fireplace or chimney before they become major problems. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, animals can build nests inside, or debris can build up, causing dangerous or damaging blockages. Your annual chimney sweep will make sure that your chimney is free and clear.
Other considerations for chimney cleanings
Remember, the recommendation for annual chimney cleanings states that homeowners should have their chimneys cleaned at least once per year. The new year can be a good midway point in the fire-burning season to address any problems you may be having with your fireplace or chimney. Your chimney should be cleaned if you notice any problems or change in its function. Water seeping, smoke back drafting into your home or visible cracks can all be signs that your chimney is in need of inspection or cleaning.
If you notice any soot or creosote buildup within your flue, it’s time to have your chimney swept again, even if your chimney was swept at the beginning of the fire-burning season. One-eighth inch buildup of creosote is considered a fire hazard, though any noticeable amount of creosote can cause damage to your chimney, as creosote is acidic and can corrode a metal, factory-built flue. Burning fires frequently, using unseasoned wood or burning pine in your fireplace all can cause creosote to build up more quickly in your flue.
Call to schedule your chimney sweeping!
Call the certified chimney sweeps at A to Z Chimney Services today at (916) 850-2446 to start your year with a freshly cleaned chimney! We’ll make sure your chimney is free from debris, dangerous creosote or damage. When A to Z sweeps your chimney, you can be sure that your chimney is clean and safe for the rest of the fire-burning season!
We all love our chimneys! They add a certain aesthetic beauty to our homes and help keep our families safe from the smoke and harmful gases that would otherwise leak into our homes without them. Since we value them for the protection that they provide to our families, why shouldn’t we protect them a little, too? This is where chimney caps come into play. They’re not required by laws or codes to be on our chimneys; however, it is strongly recommend that you consider having one installed.
THE PURPOSE OF A CHIMNEY CAP
It’s quite simple actually. The basic job of a chimney cap is to cover the chimney’s opening in an effort to keep water, birds and other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris from getting into your chimney and/or house. Water is directed away from the center and off the sides of your chimney. Birds, other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris are blocked from getting to your chimney via the mesh screening on the side, thereby preventing it from becoming a giant trash can. If any of these things were to get into your chimney, they could damage the chimney and cause more problems for you down the road. On the other hand, keeping them all out can increase the lifetime of your chimney liner.
VARIOUS MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE
Chimney caps are made from a variety of materials—galvanized steel, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum—and can be simple or ornate. Stainless steel caps generally give homeowners the most bang for their buck, as they are not impacted by the elements as much as are the other materials. Galvanized steel and aluminum caps can and will eventually rust and need to be replaced, while shiny, more expensive copper caps will slowly weather and eventually end up the same color as the Statue of Liberty (some homeowners may actually prefer copper’s natural patina and will be willing to fork over the extra money for it; it’s purely a personal preference).
CONSIDER HAVING A CHIMNEY CAP INSTALLED
For those who are worried about the cost associated with a chimney cap, basic caps are available at a pretty fair price. Deciding to purchase a chimney cap and have it installed by a professional chimney technician is a choice you won’t soon regret, as it’s much cheaper to add a chimney cap now than to be faced with repairing or replacing your chimney liner much sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
It’s also a lot cheaper to have a cap installed than to hire a pest removal specialist to remove a family of raccoons from your chimney. Unless you just really want to get a visit from Ernie “The Turtle man” Brown or the Verminators, do yourself a favor and have a chimney cap installed. With A to Z Chimney Services, you can be confident that you’re receiving the best in chimney care from experienced and educated technicians. All of our sweeps are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and work to continuously improve their skills and add to their knowledge. We guarantee honest, high quality, clean work every single time we’re in the field.