Ask Danny | Ep. 11: Retaining a Chimney in Tip-High Form

Mitchell Lovell and Danny Lipford chat about chimneys this week. (Coastal Chimney Sweeps/3 Echoes Content material Studio)

This week, we’re speaking about chimneys and fireplaces with Mitchell Lovell, a second-generation licensed chimney sweep with Coastal Chimney Sweeps

In 2009, Mitchell began working at Coastal Chimney Sweeps, the corporate his father based in 1979. Like his father, Thomas, he’s devoted to doing the most effective work to maintain prospects protected.

Chimney sweep cleaning a chimney
A particular vacuum is used to wash soot from a hearth and chimney. (Henfaes, Getty Photos)

Cleansing and Inspection

What all’s concerned in cleansing a chimney?

Mitchell: First, we transfer all of the furnishings out of the best way and lay down a drop material across the chimney.

Then clear the chimney with a specifically made vacuum with a three-stage filter and HEPA filter. This incorporates the soot and retains the within air clear.

We are able to get anyplace from 5 to 10 gallons of soot out of some chimneys!

At Coastal Chimney Sweeps, we carry out a licensed inspection for each scheduled cleansing. If wanted, we’ll do an inspection with a Chim-Scan Video. This can be a digital camera inspection system that scans each joint and connection to verify every part is functioning correctly.

Stainless steel chimney flue liner
Versatile stainless-steel chimney lining is less complicated to maneuver than masonry liner. (PaulMaguire, Getty Photos)

Relining a Chimney

What’s concerned in relining a chimney?

Mitchell: A chimney liner prevents the switch of warmth to flamable components that encompass a chimney. Over time, the liner deteriorates, and this will increase your threat of a home hearth. 

Principally, there are two sorts of chimney lining: masonry and stainless-steel. 

For a masonry liner, we use a bladder (chimney balloon) to dam the underside of the chimney, then spray firebrick cement inside to line it. As soon as the cement is dry, we deflate the bladder.

With a stainless-steel liner, we run a flex-pipe steel liner by way of the chimney and join it to block-off plates on the underside and the highest. 

Stainless-steel liners work properly in older homes with a number of chimneys or chimneys with lots of offsets. 

wood burning in a brick fireplace
At all times use dry wooden in a hearth. (Angelafoto, Getty Photos Signature)

Preventative Upkeep

What are some common guidelines for preventative upkeep?

Mitchell: Most significantly, have your chimney inspected a couple of times a 12 months should you use it regularly.

Subsequent, make certain your wooden is dry and don’t use pressure-treated wooden. Burning inexperienced wooden, or wooden that has lots of moisture, creates lots of smoke. Not solely will it damage your indoor air high quality, however it should additionally clog up your chimney quicker. 

Additionally, sparingly burn lighter knot wooden, also referred to as fatwood. This sort of firewood comes from the heartwood of pine timber and is saturated in sap, so it burns simply. Nevertheless, it has a robust odor and can clog up your chimney with a creosote coating in a short time.

close-up of a gas fireplace
Gasoline fireplaces have to be inspected identical to wood-burning fireplaces. (DavidPrahl, Getty Photos)

Gasoline Fireplaces

What about gasoline fireplaces?

Mitchell: Gasoline fireplaces have to be inspected identical to wood-burning fireplaces.

The embers and filter sand will dissipate ultimately and clog the gasoline strains and block the warmth sensors.

In case your gasoline fire isn’t lighting, the warmth sensor might be blocked.

View of a metal chimney cap
A steel chimney cap will preserve critters out. (3 Echoes Content material Studio)

Dealing With Animals

What about animals nesting in fireplaces?

Mitchell: Squirrels and birds will typically construct nests on high of a chimney if the display is damaged, which may then result in a build-up of lots of flamable materials inside.

I’ve seen one chimney with eight ft of twigs constructed up inside it from squirrels.

Additionally, these nests can fall down on high of the damper and block the entire chimney.

Have your chimney inspected recurrently to verify nothing is hiding in it and the display remains to be doing its job.

chimney sweep cleaning and inspecting a chimney
Don’t wait till an issue occurs to have your chimney inspected. (Invoice Oxford, Getty Photos Signature)

Finest Time for a Chimney Inspection

When’s the most effective time to have your chimney inspected?

Mitchell: Spring is the most effective time for a licensed chimney sweep to examine your chimney.

Enterprise at Coastal Chimney Sweeps often picks up on the finish of summer time, and by November, we ebook appointments three to 4 weeks out. So, by the point you discover the issue, you’re ready for nearly one other month. 

Clogged dryer vents cannot solely begin a hearth, however in addition they preserve your dryer from working effectively. (JodiJacobson, Getty Photos Signature)

Dryer Vent Cleansing

What about dryer vent cleansing?

Mitchell: In case your garments take longer than one cycle to dry, it’s essential to clear your dryer vent more than likely.

Some dryer vents run 20 or 30 ft beneath a house’s slab basis, which makes it simpler for the vents to clog with not solely lint but additionally water.

Additionally, should you don’t clear your vent out for years, the lint can solidify and fully block the pipe.

We use air strain and agitation instruments together with a vacuum to wash your complete vent. Dryer vent cleansing cleans the road that travels by way of the partitions and ceilings to the skin vent of your property.

As soon as cleaned, we’ll clear out the connection piece, re-attach your dryer and re-check the vent whereas your dryer is working.

Cleansing out your dryer vent extends the lifetime of your dryer, reduces operation prices and makes your property safer on your you and household.

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