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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!

It’s time to think about your dryer vents

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!

Fall Begins Sept. 22; Schedule Your Chimney Service Now!

Schedule Your Chimney Services This FallFall 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!

Choose the CSIA Difference

When looking for a chimney company, be sure to look for the CSIA badge

When looking for a chimney company, be sure to look for the CSIA badge

When choosing a chimney sweep to clean your fireplace, a few requirements may cross your mind; neither the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification status nor the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) membership status of the prospective chimney sweeps are likely to be one of them.

Need a little help choosing a chimney sweep?

In an effort to help homeowners with this decision making process, the CSIA recommends taking a cautious approach to selecting a chimney sweep. In order to ensure your job is done right the first time, you’ll more than likely want to ask some or all of the following questions of all prospective chimney sweeps:

1. How long has your company been in business?
2. Do you offer current references?
3. Do you have any unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or BBB?
4. Do you carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
5. Do you ensure that a CSIA Certified chimney sweep will be on the job site?

Asking these questions will usually guarantee that your chimney is cleaned correctly and will decrease the chances of you ending up with a living room full of soot when all is said and done.

What exactly is the CSIA?

The CSIA is one of the only nationally recognized certification institutes specifically for chimney sweeps and chimney inspectors. They have classroom training and standardized testing requirements to receive the certification in the first place:

• Complete a 1 week online review course covering chimney sweeping, inspection and documenting basics.
• Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the 2006 International Residential Codebook with a score of 80% or higher.
• Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the Successful Chimney Sweeping [2009] trade book and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) [2010] codebook with a score of 70% or higher.

What’s more, the CSIA has certain requirements and a code of ethics by which their certified chimney sweeps must abide in order to remain certified. Certified chimney sweeps must also recertify annually and participate in continuing education courses.

What exactly is the NCSG?

It is the mission of the NCSG to promote the success of its members by providing progressive services, encouraging professionalism and ethical accountability, and advancing the chimney and venting industry through public awareness of the trade. All guild members are expected to sign and adhere to the Standards of Practice:

1. To abide by all membership policies and practices,
2. To refrain from engaging in any fraudulent or illegal activity,
3. To refrain from any act intended to restrain trade or suppress competition and to recognize and respect the legal rights of competitors, and
4. To ensure professionalism and ethical accountability in advertising.

When selecting a chimney sweep, there are obviously many things a homeowner must consider. Before you make that final decision, I implore you to heed these words: not all chimney sweeps are created equally. With A to Z Chimney Sweep, you can be confident that you’re receiving the best in chimney care from experienced and educated technicians. We guarantee honest, high quality, clean work every single time we’re in the field.