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Winter is coming; have your chimney inspected!

Winter Chimney Inspection Image - Sacramento CA - A to Z Chimney Service As summer officially draws to a close, it means one thing: Fall’s cooler temperatures soon will be upon us, and you will be ready to light the first fire of winter before you know it. Be ready for the coming winter by scheduling your chimney inspection with A to Z Chimney Services!

The importance of your chimney inspection

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that homeowners have their chimneys and heating appliances cleaned and inspected annually. The general rule of thumb is to have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected between fire-burning seasons. That means if you haven’t had your chimney swept and inspected since your last fire of the spring, you should have it inspected before your light the first fire of fall.

During your chimney inspection, your chimney sweep will do several things, including:

  • Checking the chimney’s creosote levels. Dirty chimneys are a leading cause of chimney fires, and as little as 1/8 inch of creosote buildup can lead to a dangerous and damaging chimney fire. Your sweep will use their specialized brushes to remove any creosote that has accumulated on the walls of your chimney.
  • Making sure that the chimney is free from obstructions. Animals, birds and debris like branches and leaves can lead to blockages in the chimney that can ignite and cause a chimney fire or that can cause smoke or carbon monoxide to build up within a home. Your sweep will make sure that your chimney is free from any blockages.
  • Looking for leaks, cracks or other chimney deficiencies. Cracks, holes or other weaknesses in your chimney can lead to a host of problems. They can allow water to leak in through your chimney, damaging the chimney’s or your home’s structure. Cracks can also allow the heat of your chimney to escape and damage the surrounding studs and supports in your home’s walls. Your sweep will look for the early signs of chimney damage so it can be repaired before your home or chimney is in need of major repairs.
  • Evaluating your fireplace or heating stove. Just like chimneys, fireplaces can break down over time or face malfunctions that could put your home in danger of a fire or of a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. During your inspection, your chimney sweep also will check your fireplace and all of its working components to look for deficiencies, signs of damage or malfunctioning parts to make sure that it will be working safely and efficiently in the coming cold-weather season.

Fall’s colder temperatures will be upon us before you know it, and you will want to have your fireplace ready to warm your home. Waiting to schedule your inspection could leave you waiting for a sweep or waiting to schedule needed repairs. If you haven’t already had your chimney and fireplace inspected, call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule an appointment today!

Be on the lookout for common chimney problems

Chimneys can bring on some common home maintenance problems. We’ve compiled a list of the most common chimney problems because being aware of a chimney problem allows you to address it early rather than waiting for major damage or a major emergency — like a chimney fire or carbon monoxide buildup — to occur.Be on the lookout for common chimney problems - Sacramento CA - A to Z Chimney Services

  • Creosote buildup. The most common, and most dangerous, chimney problem is a buildup of creosote along chimney walls. Creosote is an unavoidable byproduct of a wood-burning fire, and it is also highly flammable. Creosote can cause chimney fires, prevent carbon monoxide from venting properly, an unpleasant smell during warm-weather months and corrosion in your chimney. The only way to prevent serious problems from creosote is to have your chimney swept at least once a year.
  • Chimney obstruction. Chimneys, especially unused chimneys, are susceptible to blockages from a variety of sources. Animals can build nests in chimneys, or make their way in and become stuck. Leaves and twigs can build up in a chimney. A blocked chimney can lead to a chimney fire or cause smoke and carbon monoxide to flow back into your home. Again, an annual chimney cleaning and inspection is the only way to be sure your chimney remains unobstructed.
  • Eroding chimney liner. Most new chimneys are constructed with clay tile liners. The tiles are effective and durable, but they can break down over time from the heat of your fires, a buildup of moisture or acidic fire byproducts like smoke and creosote. Even stainless steel chimney liners can break down over time. A compromised chimney liner allows the heat and smoke from your fires to leach into your home’s infrastructure, which can be a serious fire hazard. Your annual chimney sweeping and inspection can help ensure your chimney liner is in good working order. If it isn’t, there are several easy and affordable ways to repair or replace your damaged chimney liner.
  • Cracked or crumbling chimney crown or chase cover. If you have a masonry chimney, it’s topped with a masonry chimney crown that diverts water away from the flue and helps keep water from running down the outer walls of the chimney. On a factory-built chimney, a metal chase cover serves the same purpose. Because chimney crowns and chase covers are exposed to the elements, they can crack, crumble or corrode over time, requiring replacement. An un-repaired chimney crown or chase cover can lead to major water damage for your chimney or your home.
  • Worn chimney cap. A chimney cap covers your chimney like a little roof, generally supported by a metal case. It prevents rain from running down the interior of your chimney and keeps animals and debris out of your flue. Like the crown or chase cover, the chimney cap can become worn or displaced over time because it’s exposed to the elements. Because of its role in protecting your chimney, a worn chimney cap should be replaced immediately.

When it comes to avoiding or correcting chimney problems, the most important thing you can do to protect your chimney is to have it cleaned and inspected annually. When you call the experts at A to Z, we’ll clear away creosote and debris and alert you of any dangers compromising your chimney. We’re proud to serve Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today: (916) 850-2446.

Start your year with a freshly cleaned chimney

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 cleaningStart Your Year With a Freshly Cleaned Chimney - Sacramento CA - A to Z Chimney Services

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!

Beware of Chimney Monsters this Halloween

Beware of the hidden monster hiding in your chimney and dryer vents!

Beware of the hidden monster hiding in your chimney and dryer vents!

October is the month of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. We celebrate this festive fall season by dressing our little monsters up as… little monsters! Then we trek from home to home collecting candy from homeowners who want to avoid having their jack-o-lantern smashed all over the sidewalk by some of the slightly older aforementioned “monsters”.

But monsters who smash pumpkins aren’t the only monsters you should be concerned about in October!
You need to take necessary precautions to avoid the chimney monsters lurking in the night waiting to possess your chimney….

If you are unfortunate enough to cross paths with one of these fire breathing monsters, you’ll know it! A low, rumbling growl coming from your fireplace or wood stove is usually the first indication of this monster’s presence.

Soon, a loud, howling wind is rushing up into your flue and fire can often be seen shooting out the top of the chimney! In the worst case scenario, the fire breathing chimney monster has been known to consume the entire home, leaving only a pile of burn ash and rubble in its terrible wake!

Forget about reciting prayers, hanging a dead chicken or drawing a circle of chalk around your chimney…. Traditional methods of warding off monsters are completely ineffectual when it comes to dealing with these chimney possessing beasts! The only way to protect your chimney from demonic possession is to have your chimney professionally cleaned and safety inspected!

Having the flammable creosote deposits removed from your chimney this October is the surest way to ward off evil fire breathing chimney demons!

To help keep you safe this Halloween, A to Z is offering a 10% discount* on your next chimney sweeping, dryer vent cleaning, or gas fireplace service scheduled on or before October 31, 2015.

So give us a call today and schedule your next chimney sweeping, gas fireplace service, or dryer cleaning. We can be reached at (916) 850-2446. We may not be able to keep your jack-o’-lanterns from getting smashed, but we sure can prevent a chimney monster infestation!

*Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer, or currently scheduled jobs. This offer must be mentioned at the time of booking your appointment.

Help…My Fireplace Stinks!

Your stuck up neighbors invited themselves in again and made a disgusted face as they walked past your chimney. You realize that smell is back and stronger than ever, and the countless amounts of air deodorizing spray and scented candles will not cover it up. Your chimney can produce odors for many reasons, so you should always call for help. A trained professional will ask if you have had all of your required maintenance and go from there to diagnose the problem.

If you have to hand out gas masks whenever you have friends over, you might have a problem!

If you have to hand out gas masks whenever friends come over, you might have a problem!

Why does my chimney stink?

Creosote, a byproduct of the combustion process, is the main reason that your chimney stinks. The first thing that will need to happen is that you will need to have your chimney swept. It is important that you have a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified professional handle all of your chimney’s work, especially cleanings and inspections. If there is any creosote built up on the interior walls of your chimney, they will overtime clump together and absorb into the structure. This can also cause draft problems, which will lead to the smoke not properly exiting the chimney and the potential for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning rising. The smell from inside your chimney will become much more noticeable when heat and humidity increase. One cleaning is typically enough for most users, but if your fireplace receives heavy usage during the heating season, you may want to consider having it swept twice. Mold growth will also contribute to the smell. Mold can grow in any area that water can sit; it can begin forming in 24 to 48 hours. If you see something unusual, call for help, as you may not recognize the many different colors and textures in which mold can come. To provide an additional degree of safety well into the future, you can have your chimney waterproofed as well. The process takes only one to two days and involves a technician spraying a coat of sealant on the outside of the chimney. The second day should be reserved for drying time and the application of a second coat if you live in a wet area.

How do you get ready for the sweep?

  1. Let your chimney cool down by not burning a fire for more than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment.
  2. Clear the area of anything valuable such as breakables, furniture, etc.
  3. Move any pets you may have into another room.

To speak with someone, call A to Z Chimney today! Our highly trained service staff is here to help you with all of your chimney system maintenance needs.