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Pay attention to your fireplace to keep your home smelling fresh

green-water-drop-rain2We’ve all heard that April showers bring May flowers, but one of the less pleasant things they can bring is odors into your home due to issues with your chimney.

Many folks stop thinking about their fireplaces after the last fire of the season is extinguished, and don’t consider them again until the first chilly day in autumn. While it is tempting to avoid adding one more item to the spring cleaning checklist, there are actually some pretty good reasons to take care of this now.

During the warmer weather, particularly when it is rainy, water may enter through your chimney. This may be due to the need for a protective rain cap, because of gaps or cracks in the exterior masonry, or simply as the result of condensation forming inside the chimney flue. If this moisture comes into contact with creosote deposits in your chimney, a smoky odor may develop, which could enter into your living space if any downdrafts are present.

In addition, standing creosote can degrade the integrity of your chimney liner if left in place over the warm weather months, which could lead to costly liner repairs if not addressed in a timely manner.

Give us a call today to schedule your annual chimney sweep and evaluation, and avoid the scheduling delays caused by the “busy season” rush this autumn.

Springtime thoughts turn to chimneys?

Nochimney swift nestw that spring weather has arrived we are all taking advantage of the lovely weather, opening our windows and enjoying the sounds of springtime. It’s great to see signs of life returning to our surroundings. However, one place where we don’t particularly want to hear those sounds is from inside the chimney!

While you are outside surveying your home, lawn and garden, it would be wise to take a look up at your chimney, to ensure all is in good order there as well. If a chimney cap is missing, or improperly secured, it presents an attractive destination for neighborhood wildlife to seek refuge from the elements.

In addition to four-footed lodgers such as squirrels and raccoons, chimneys can also attract chimney swifts. These birds are unusual, in that they are incapable of perching, but rather cling to vertical surfaces, and build their nests on these surfaces. With the advent of civilization in their native habitats, and the loss of the hollow trees that used to be their nesting locations, they are now mostly found in chimneys.

The key is to address this BEFORE they gain entry. While raccoons and squirrels may be removed by wildlife professionals, you would actually have to wait until the chimney swifts are ready to leave on their own, as they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and neither birds nor nests may be removed without a federal permit.

Just give us a call, and one of our Blackburns chimney technicians would be happy to come out for an assessment of your chimney. If the need for a cap is determined, we can typically install a stainless steel cap the same day. We also have a range of specialty caps that may be ordered for your chimney.

Hearing Sounds in Your Chimney?

Most likely, if you heard sounds in your chimney this spring, your chimney was a home for chimney swifts. Continue reading

5 Reasons to Get Your Chimney Swept Early This Year

Most people wait until just before the heating season to have their chimney swept. Here are five great reasons to get the job done now.

  1. When the heating season is done, it’s only natural for you to stop thinking about the furnace, fireplace and chimney. But there are benefits to getting ready for the next season early. No waiting around! There is always a long wait in the fall – sometimes 60 days or more. We always feel bad that we can’t get to service loyal customers like you, but the demand in the fall is just overwhelming. By doing your maintenance early, you can get service a lot sooner, and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your chimney and flue have been serviced.
  2. Leaving in the residue from the heating season in your chimney flue actually wears out your masonry faster and increases the likelihood that you’ll need costly repairs. Soot and water make acids that deteriorate mortar joints. The process is slow, but leaving the soot in the chimney during the spring and summer months will expose your masonry and flue to the corrosive build up that’s there after every heating season. Having the chimney swept right when the season’s over drastically decreases the likelihood that you’ll need expensive repairs.
  3. Fireplace odors are worst in the spring and summer – the smell can permeate your home and even your clothes! By sweeping and deodorizing your fireplace after the heating season, you can minimize or eliminate that awful smell.
  4. Find the problems before it gets cold. Every year people find that they’ve got heating system emergencies just when they need heat. We trust nothing will be wrong with your chimney, but if there is a problem let’s find out before you need the chimney again!
  5. You will save money, because we offer the Blackburn Chimney Sweeps Spring Sweep Discount. Since we need to pay our people all year, we offer a discount to reward you for helping us stay busy during the warmer months.

Early chimney maintenance is good for you as well as us. Let us take care of your chimney early this year.

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

This a tougher question than it sounds. The quick simple answer is: The National Fire Protection Association standard 211 says, 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.” This is the national safety standard and is the correct way to approach the problem. It takes into account the fact that even if you don’t use your chimney much, animals may build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration that could make the chimney unsafe to use.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned at 1/4″ of sooty buildup, and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system. Factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any appreciable buildup occurs. This is considered to be enough fuel buildup to cause a chimney fire capable of damaging the chimney or spreading to the home.

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