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Archive for chimney cleaning

Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year over 400 people across the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Known as the “silent killer” carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas.
Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of carbon monoxide can overcome you in minutes without warning—causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.

Carbon monoxide is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. It is also found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”

How Can You Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Home?
To ensure the safety of your home, the CDC had made the following recommendation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
• Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
• If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
• Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
• Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home or cabin.
• Never patch a vent pipe with tape or other materials. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home.
• Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
• Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal gives off CO.
• Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
• Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

Remember that a chimney that is properly maintained and cleaned regularly – will work safely, effectively and efficiently. To ensure that your chimney is working effectively and safely, you should always have your chimney and fireplace checked and cleaned at least once a year by a professional. It is important to have a reputable and experienced chimney sweep properly inspect your chimney to ensure the safety of your home and most importantly, your family.
Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer complete chimney cleaning and maintenance services that include high powered vacuuming of your entire system, removing hazardous or combustible creosote, eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems and thorough fire prevention and carbon monoxide inspections. Contact Pro-tech Chimney Sweeps at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295 to ensure the safety of your home.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Chimney

Spring Cleaning Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Chimney

After a harsh winter on Long Island that has lasted through the end of March, spring will hopefully be upon us soon! If you are ready to close up your fireplace for the season and head outside to your backyard fire pit, there a few things that you should take care of before you leave your fireplace and chimney behind.

Following are some recommendations for keeping your chimney clean and safe after the long winter and some tips to ensure it will be in great condition when the colder months of autumn roll around once again.
Inspect Your Chimney or Fireplace for Cracks or Damage

Cracks can cause venting problems and become a safety hazard. An annual inspection can detect any dangerous cracks or leaks and they can be addressed or repaired immediately.
Check for Animal Nests or Debris

In the cold winter months, small animals may have moved into your chimney. Animal nests or branches and leaves from trees can cause blockages. If detected, these items should be removed to eliminate the possibility of damage and possible carbon monoxide leakage.
Check for Creosite and Soot Build Up

Every time you use your fireplace a tar-like substance known as creosite is formed. Creosite is highly flammable and becomes more difficult and expensive to clean, the longer it builds up inside the lining of the chimney. Because it is highly combustible, if it builds up in sufficient quantities and the internal flue temperature is high enough, it may start a chimney fire.

Have Your Chimney Cleaned by a Professional
Routine maintenance services should include a complete chimney inspection as well as the removal of any hazardous or combustible creosite and eliminating any accumulation of soot, dirt and debris. Keep in mind that the National Fire Protection Association recommends that that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year or even more frequently if you have a fireplace or wood burning appliance that you use frequently.

Remember that a chimney that is properly maintained and cleaned regularly – will work safely, effectively and efficiently. After the cold winter months, a chimney cleaning, inspection and maintenance appointment should be scheduled at the first sign of spring.
Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer complete chimney cleaning services that include high powered vacuuming of your entire system, removing hazardous or combustible creosote, eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems and thorough fire prevention inspections and maintenance services. Contact Protech Chimney Sweeps today at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295 to schedule a chimney cleaning service and ensure the safety of your home.

Spring Cleaning for Your Home and Your Chimney!

Smiley faceSpring Cleaning for Your Home and Your Chimney!

With the harsh weather of the winter hopefully behind us, it’s time to think about warm weather, getting outside and spring cleaning for your home. It’s time to clean the dust, dirt and build-up that the winter has left behind, but don’t forget – that also includes your chimney.

Many homeowners have enjoyed their fireplaces all winter long – which is a great thing. Keep in mind that you if had a fire going every cold weekend since last November –your fireplace is full of ashes, soot and other possible toxic substances that have been left behind. So it’s important to remember that your chimney also needs a spring cleaning. When you are washing your windows and giving your house a thorough cleaning after the cold winter months – schedule a spring cleaning for your chimney as well.

According to the CSIA, the national safety standard explains that “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Having your chimney cleaned and inspected not only ensures a clean and working fireplace and/or chimney; it protects the safety of your home and family.

Call a reputable chimney company to give your chimney and fireplace a thorough cleaning. A proper chimney cleaning service should be performed by a certified technician that not only cleans your chimney, but also performs a thorough maintenance check to ensure safe and proper performance. In addition, proper care and maintenance of chimneys, woodstoves, and fireplaces can help protect your home from unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. A professional chimney sweep should also be knowledgeable about building codes, trained to recognize any deterioration or venting problems and be able to advise you regarding any problems and the condition of your chimney.
Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer thorough chimney cleaning services that include:

• Removing hazardous or combustible creosote
• Eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems
• Removing any trapped animals, nests or leaves
• High powered vacuuming of the entire system
• Fire prevention inspections and maintenance services

In addition to keeping your chimney clean and running efficiently, safety should always be an important consideration in the maintenance of your chimney. While chimney professionals can advise you regarding safety concerns, you should always take precautions and follow all safety regulations as an informed homeowner.

This year, when the weather starts to get warmer and the days last a little longer, schedule a service for your chimney. Be sure to have your chimney cleaned by an experienced chimney professional like Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps. Call us in Nassau County at 516-284-1295 or in Suffolk County at 631-806-8550 to schedule your spring chimney cleaning today.

Keep Your Chimney Clear of Tree Branches and Debris

Keep Your Chimney Clear of Tree Branches and Debris

Overgrown trees can damage roofs, block chimneys, disrupt power lines or even allow a passageway for animals and insects to enter your home. A tree limb that overhangs your home in the winter months can become dangerous when it is covered with heavy snow. Often these frozen limbs can snap and damage power lines, roofs, or even break windows! If your chimney is blocked by a tree branch or debris that has fallen into your chimney, it can create numerous problems and also be dangerous. Common problems that can be caused by overgrown tree limbs that hang over your home may include:

Chimney Blockages
A chimney blockage can create a dangerous situation in your home. An overgrown tree branch may block the top of your chimney, preventing smoke and carcinogens from exiting the house. Smoke and gases that build up within the home can produce carbon monoxide. This deadly and odorless gas can accumulate to dangerous levels when a blocked chimney or flue prevents the gases from properly venting out and away from the home. If small twigs, branches or leaves fall into the chimney, this debris can fall directly into the flue, creating a risk of fire or blocking the flue as well, causing smoke and gas to back up into your home.

Chimney Damage
A falling branch or tree limb may damage your chimney causing cracks in the structure or bricks to fall off or decay. A damaged chimney will not properly vent smoke and gas which can also cause carbon monoxide to build up within your home. In addition to harboring harmful gases, a damaged chimney can be costly to repair.

Animal Entry
Trees that hang over your roof or the chimney can give small animals like squirrels and raccoons direct access to your chimney. In the spring or summer, overgrown and rotted tree limbs may carry swarms of insects that can get into your home. Trimming branches and limbs away from the chimney – as well as the rest of the roof, can make it more difficult for animals to gain access to the chimney. If you install a chimney cap – this can also help keep animals out of your chimney structure.

Drafting Issues
Limbs or trees that are too close to the chimney can cause drafting issues and problems with your fireplace. The chimney needs to be able to draw in enough air to properly feed the fire and draft smoke and gas out. If limbs are too close to the chimney – the air cannot circulate properly.
The best way to protect your chimney and your home is to trim or prune any branches that are too close to your home or hanging over your roof or chimney. It is a wise choice to remove any overgrown trees or tree limbs and branches before they become dangerous or cause problems to your chimney and home. Keep your home and family safe with well pruned trees around your home.

Maintenance Tips for Your Gas Fireplace

Maintenance-Tips-for-Your-Gas-Fireplace.jpg
Safety Tips for Your Chimney and Fireplace

Gas fireplaces are a convenient and much cleaner way to enjoy a warm fire in your home during the cold winter months. You don’t need to worry about wood or any mess and the beautiful flames appear in the fireplace with the simple click of a switch or remote!

According to This Old House.com, “There’s only one thing better than a roaring fire on a wintry night: a roaring fire that needs no tending, requires minimal cleanup, and doesn’t leave the rest of the house freezing cold. That’s what you get with today’s gas fireplaces.”

While these attractive appliances require very little maintenance, you should always make sure that your gas fireplace is working effectively and efficiently. Following are a few tips and troubleshooting suggestions that can help you address any concerns that you may have so that you can continue to enjoy your gas fireplace for years to come.

Soot
A gas fireplace should never produce soot. If soot has accumulated make sure that the fireplace is properly vented and make sure that the chimney is not obstructed by leaves, debris or the nest of an animal. Make sure the combustion screen is free and clear of soot and that the embers and logs are aligned according to instructions.

Pilot Light
The pilot light is the small flame that ignites the gas fireplace burner. If you have no flames in your fireplace, the pilot light may be off. First make sure that the gas valve on the fireplace is open and if it is not, switch it to the “on” position and then light the pilot according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Dirty or Cloudy Glass Doors
Sometimes the glass doors on gas fireplaces can develop a cloudy white appearance over time. This results in the fire becoming more difficult to see. There is no need to replace the glass. There are gas fireplace glass cleaners available. Use only these types of cleaners to effectively remove the calcium deposits on the glass. They also create a protective coating which helps to prevent future buildup.

Strange Odors
A gas fireplace should not produce smoke or odors, but its flames do create pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Vented fireplaces send these emissions outside, however if you notice a smell there may be a cause. If the glass on the gas fireplace door is improperly sealed, the result could be that odors are released into your home. Sometimes objects placed around the fireplace on the floor or mantelpiece can cause odors when heated. If you think that this may be the possible cause, remove the objects one at a time to see if there is no longer an odor when one of them is removed. If you do smell raw gas however, (which can smell like sulfur) always be safe and call the fire department and your gas provider.

If you are still concerned with any issues regarding your gas fireplace, you should contact a chimney professional to ensure the safety of your home and your family. Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer complete fireplace and chimney maintenance, cleaning and repair services. They can thoroughly inspect your fireplace and address any of your concerns.

Contact Protech Chimney Sweeps today at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295 to inspect your gas fireplace and ensure the safety of your home.

Preparing Your Chimney for the Colder Months

How Do I keep My Fireplace CleanPreparing Your Chimney for the Colder Months

With summer almost coming to a close, we gear up for all that the autumn and winter months have to offer. Cooler temperatures, brilliant fall colors, back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah…Well maybe we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, but before you know it, the warm summer is going to turn into the cool autumn and ultimately the cold winter! We prepare ourselves by getting out our warmer clothes, coats and snow boats; we prepare our cars by checking antifreeze levels and installing snow tires; and we must remember to prepare our home and chimney as well.

Long before the time comes to shovel your driveway after the first snowfall or decorate for the holidays; your chimney should be prepared for the colder months. Make your chimney a priority to ensure that you are using energy efficiently and to ensure the safety of your family and home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that that you clean your chimney at least once a year or even more frequently if you have a fireplace or wood burning appliance that you use frequently. They also recommend that all chimneys, fireplaces and vents be inspected at least once a year. If you have neglected to do this – a good time to prepare is before the weather gets colder and you begin to use your fireplace and furnace for heat. So when you are shopping for school supplies at the end of the summer, make sure you schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection as well.

Even if you think that your chimney is in excellent shape, you need to be sure that there is no creosote buildup. Keep in mind that creosite is formed every time you use your fireplace. Creosote is highly flammable and becomes more difficult and expensive to clean, the longer it builds up inside the flue lining of the chimney. You also must make sure that all of your venting systems (including your chimney) are working properly.

If vents are blocked or not functioning properly, carbon monoxide may build up in your home. And while carbon monoxide detectors are effective in alarming homeowners to unsafe levels of this odorless, colorless gas – make sure that your venting systems are inspected and working safely and efficiently at all times.

In order to ensure the best maintenance of your fireplace, you should always have your chimney and fireplace checked and cleaned at least once a year by a professional. Have a reputable and experienced chimney sweep properly inspect your chimney to ensure the safety of your home and most importantly, your family.

Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer complete chimney cleaning services that include high powered vacuuming of your entire system, removing hazardous or combustible creosote, eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems and thorough fire prevention inspections and maintenance services. So before the kids go back to school and the colder autumn months arrive, contact Pro-tech Chimney Sweeps at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295 to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning service.

Do I need a Chimney Cap?

How Do I keep My Fireplace CleanDo I Need a Chimney Cap?

When we moved into our new home, I was elated to have a fire place. Just the thought of having a warm fire on a cold winter day, made me happy. While I thought about things like collecting fire wood, making popcorn over the fire and all the memories and good times that that this fireplace would bring to our family, I didn’t think about much else regarding the fireplace or the chimney.

A few months after we moved into the house, I was standing in the front yard talking to my neighbor when he asked, “Why don’t you have a cap on your chimney?” I looked puzzled and asked what he meant. He explained that most houses have a chimney cap, which is a small metal or wire mesh box that is installed on the top of a chimney. While he explained that a chimney cap is a minor and relatively inexpensive installation, I questioned whether it was necessary or not.

After doing a little research and asking some friends (all of whom have a chimney cap on their chimneys), I found out that this small piece of metal installed on the top of your chimney can prevent numerous mishaps from taking place and definitely save you money in unnecessary chimney repair or damage expenses. I decided that while you may not need a chimney cap in place for functional purposes, a properly installed chimney cap is a good idea. A chimney cap can prevent animals from entering your home, keep the moisture out, and protect the roof from burning embers starting a house fire.

Some of the best reasons to install a chimney cap include:

Keeping Animals Out

During the colder months, small animals such as birds, squirrels or even raccoons, will feel the warmth around the chimney from the fire below. They often make their nests close to or inside of the chimney flue. It won’t take long for an unwelcomed family of critters to move into your chimney. Installing a simple chimney cap with mesh siding will prevent these animals from climbing in.

Preventing Moisture

The weather can create problems for your chimney. If rain, snow or ice enter the chimney flue, the moisture can cause deterioration problems and when mixed with certain types of soot it can become even more harmful to the inside structure of your chimney. Moisture, and intermittent freezing and thawing can cause problems such as cracks in the structure which can lead to costly repairs. A chimney cap can block the moisture from harsh weather conditions from entering your chimney.

Protect Against Fire.

Burning embers from the fire in the fireplace get sent up and exit the chimney along with the burning gases. These embers are still lit and escape out of the top of the chimney and can cause chimney fires and damage to your roof. These problems are entirely avoidable with the addition of a chimney cap and spark guard to prevent the burning particles from escaping.
Once I realized the importance of having a chimney cap in place, I immediately contacted the experts at Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps. They installed a chimney cap and my home was protected. If you are interested in a quality chimney cap installation, contact Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps at 631-806-8550 or 516-284-1295.

Winter is Finally Over – How Should I Clean My Chimney?

Chimney CleaningNow that we can finally say good bye to the cold months of winter, and as the warm months of spring surround us – we often think about spring cleaning.  While dusting cobwebs and washing windows may not be beloved chores, they are simple enough to do and with a little elbow grease, the effort really makes a difference in sprucing up your home.

But what about your chimney?  While you are blissfully reflecting on all those snowy evenings when you and your family cozied up to the blazing fire in your warm fireplace, what you are often left with in the spring is a fireplace full of dirty ashes and a chimney full of soot!  It’s important to remember that your chimney also needs a spring cleaning.

In addition to creating a clean and dust free environment, keeping your chimney clean helps it to run safely and more efficiently.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you clean your chimney at least once a year or even more often if you have a fireplace or wood burning appliance that you use frequently.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)  also recommends that all chimneys, fireplaces and vents be inspected at least once per year.

Needless to say, cleaning a chimney is a very important but dirty job that you should not attempt yourself.  A proper chimney cleaning service should be performed by a certified technician that not only cleans your chimney, but also performs a thorough maintenance check to ensure safe and proper performance. In addition, proper care and maintenance of your chimneys, woodstoves, and fireplaces can help protect your home from unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisonings.  A professional chimney sweep should also be knowledgeable about building codes, trained to recognize any deterioration or venting problems and be able to advise you regarding any problems and the condition of your chimney.

Pro-Tech Chimney Sweeps offer thorough chimney cleaning services that include:

  • Removing hazardous or combustible creosote
  • Eliminating any accumulation of soot from coal and oil systems
  • Removing any trapped animals, nests or leaves
  • High powered vacuuming of the entire system
  • Fire prevention inspections and maintenance services

In addition to keeping your chimney clean and running efficiently, safety should always be an important consideration in the maintenance of your chimney. While chimney professionals can advise you regarding safety concerns, you should always take precautions and follow all safety regulations as an informed homeowner. The U.S. Department of Energy also provides additional tips to keep your fireplace or wood burning appliance running efficiently and safely throughout the year.