Chimney Liners

Chimney Sweeps vs. DIY for Chimney Cleaning & Service

Chimney Inspection in Fulton, MDWithin the fireplace and chimney services industry, the 2016 scuffle between the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and Angie’s List is fairly well-known. For those of you not familiar with the issue, here’s the thumbnail version.

Angie’s List, a popular article mill, posted a piece that implied that homeowners could properly clean their own chimneys. Knowing this was false, misleading and dangerous information, the CSIA got to work and forced Angie’s List to remove the article titled “How to Clean Your Chimney.”

 

In a letter to the president of Angie’s List, shown here on the CSIA blog, CSIA President Mark A. Stoner wrote:

“Encouraging the average homeowner, who does not meet the (National Fire Protection Association’s) definition of a ‘qualified agency’, to perform his or her own chimney service [. . .] is not only irresponsible and negligent but could lead directly to the loss of life or property due to a chimney fire or carbon monoxide intrusion into the residence.”

Stoner continued: “By posting this article to its website and promoting it via social media, Angie’s List has effectively endorsed this content and it should be held liable for any and all damages ensuing from a homeowner’s adherence to instructions therein.”

Why DIY chimney cleaning is not recommended

Mark Stoner of the CSIA was right in pulling out all the stops to get Angie’s List to remove that article. While there are some fireplace and chimney maintenance tasks the average homeowner can perform safely and effectively (cleaning the firebox; doing a general inspection of chimney masonry or some of the chimney’s components), cleaning creosote out of a chimney is not one of them.

Professional chimney sweeps go through a rigorous process to obtain valued certifications from the CSIA and other hearth-industry agencies. These include:

  • Certified Chimney Professional
  • Certified Master Chimney Technician
  • Certified Chimney Sweep
  • Certified Chimney Reliner

Chimney Sweep in Poolesville, MDIndividuals who hold these and other high-level certifications have demonstrated that they understand the multiple elements of a chimney’s operation and structure and have shown specific expertise in using the tools and equipment that are industry-standard in cleaning chimneys.

Don’t let a “handyman” work on your chimney

When you allow an untrained individual to clean or do other work on your chimney, you’re setting yourself up for some potentially serious problems.

Creosote, which forms in a chimney every time wood burns, is highly flammable and is the cause of most chimney fires in the U.S. each year. Cleaning creosote out of a chimney often is a challenging job – even for a professional. Creosote can present as a flakey, sticky or solid substance. Each form requires specific actions for effective removal.

Certified chimney sweeps make use of electric and hand brushes, specialized solvents, scrapers, vacuums and other equipment to safely remove creosote without damaging the chimney’s interior masonry or liner.

Just as you would only go to a qualified physician to perform an important medical procedure, you should only hire a qualified, certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney. This professional will know a lot more about the cleaning process and chimneys in general than any “average” person.

High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, is staffed with trained, experienced, certified chimney professionals. When we clean your chimney, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing it was done correctly and in accord with all safety precautions. Give us a call at (301) 519-3500 for your next professional chimney service.

 

Fireplace Safety: Why Regular Chimney Cleaning Matters

Professional Chimney SweepThe safest fireplaces and chimneys are those that receive regular cleaning, repair and maintenance by certified technicians. If this service is neglected, it won’t take long for your chimney to experience a dangerous buildup of creosote and soot. Smoke-drafting obstructions, a common problem if you use your chimney without a chimney cap, also can lead to dangerous operating conditions.

Here are the primary reasons regular chimney sweep services are so important.

First, can you do the job yourself?

Some homeowners think they can clean their own chimneys, but rarely is this the case. Professional chimney sweeps have special tools like rotating brushes, hand brushes, vacuums, scrapers and powerful cleaning solvents that work together to rid your flue of flammable creosote and soot. It’s unlikely the average homeowner has this equipment or the skill and training to use it.

Creosote removal

Creosote is a byproduct of smoke and may appear as a flakey, sticky or solid substance. It’s the cause of the majority of chimney fires in the U.S. each year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney sweeping for chimneys connected to wood-burning appliances, because even less than an inch of this compound is enough to start a potentially fatal chimney fire.

Signs of a chimney fire

Not all chimney fires are obvious. Some are small and extinguish on their own. But even small fires can damage the chimney liner and the interior masonry, which leaves combustible materials of your home vulnerable.

Common signs of a chimney fire include:

  • An unusually large amount of smoke pouring from the top of the chimney or flowing into the room
  • A ticking or tapping sound
  • The sound of rumbling, like a distant train

Removal of obstructions

Creosote in ChimneyIn addition to removing creosote, chimney sweeps also remove obstructions in the flue caused by an accumulation of leaves, twigs, small-animal nests and the like. These obstructions will make smoke draft improperly and back up into the home, carrying with it deadly carbon monoxide.

You can keep all debris out of your flue by having a quality chimney cap installed. Chimney caps cover the flue opening to prevent water intrusion (and subsequent water damage), and the sides are made of a material that allows smoke to move through them while keeping outside junk outside where it belongs.

What you can do to ensure the safety of your chimney

Where creosote is concerned, the less smoke your fireplace produces, the less creosote buildup you’ll have to deal with. Here’s how to create less smoke:

  • Burn only dry (seasoned) wood
  • Don’t stack logs tightly together – they need space to gather oxygen
  • Ensure sufficient air within the home is getting to the fireplace (crack a window, if necessary)
  • Keep your flue clean so smoke can travel up it smoothly
  • Make sure your flue opening isn’t too small for the fireplace
  • Make sure your chimney is tall enough (minimum 10 feet high and extending at least two feet from the roof)

By you doing your part and letting a certified chimney sweep do his or her part, you can rest easy, knowing your chimney is clean, safe and working at peak performance.

High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, is ready to help with all your chimney cleaning, chimney inspection and chimney repair needs. We’re certified by the CSIA and guarantee workmanship and customer service that’s unmatched in our region. Call (301) 519-3500 today with questions or to schedule an appointment.

 

Chimney Cleaning Services

certified chimney cleaning dirty chimney in fairfax countyHigh’s Chimney Service strives to offer our clients superior chimney repairs and maintenance plans to ensure their property is safe and efficient. We use the latest technology, such as our high-resolution cameras which help us detect problems for us to find effective solutions. Our company is trusted by over 70,000 in the area. Our competent employees always wear ID badges to ensure your safety. Below we discuss what you can expect from our proper chimney maintenance services.

  • Our company works hard to save you money by looking for solutions to make your fireplace more efficient.
  • We close off openings from the outside through our chimney caps to deter animals from entering through the chimney. Our stainless steel covers are aesthetically pleasing why keeping unwanted critters, debris, and water from entering through your home.
  • We find solutions to remove excess heat from being transmitted throughout your house from your chimney.
  • Our chimney cleaning services lead to a better draft, which leads to a better efficiency of your chimney.
  • When you look to our company for a chimney sweep in Washington, DC you can expect cleaner and less toxic smoke.

Contact our company today at 1 (888) 444-4712 to schedule a comprehensive chimney sweep.