Baby it’s cold outside. During the winter, nothing beats a cozy fire when it comes to bringing warmth and comfort to your home. However, prolonged use of your chimney can lead to creosote buildup, and an increased risk of chimney fires. Preventing chimney fires is easy, though. With a little care and attention, you can safely enjoy the warmth your chimney provides all season long.
When wood burns, creosote builds up in your chimney. Depending on the temperature of the fire and how quickly the air is moving away from the fire, this buildup can look black, brown, gummy, hard, shiny, or even flaky. Certain conditions—improper ventilation, burning of unseasoned wood, or drastic changes in burning temperature—accelerate creosote buildup. Creosote is highly flammable and combustible and if too much builds up in your chimney, a fire can start at any moment. To prevent a chimney fire, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends “any solid fuel venting” system be annually inspected and cleaned with repairs done whenever needed.
Did you know that most small chimney fires often go undetected? If you’ve had a small fire, you are at risk of significant chimney damage and danger to your home and family. Preventing chimney fires requires that you pay attention to the functionality of your chimney: Is enough air coming through? Are your fires struggling to stay lit due to lack of air? Is there a hot, burning smell even when the fire isn’t lit? Is there a lot of dense smoke? Will your damper not close? (Indicating the safety of the damper has been compromised by fire that’s gotten too hot.) If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may have already had a chimney fire.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, there are 9 signs that a chimney fire has occurred in your home:
• “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
• Warped metal of the damper, smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory-built chimney
• Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
• Discolored and/or distorted rain cap
• Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
• Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
• Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
• Cracks in exterior masonry
• Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
If you detect any of these signs, contact a chimney service and repair professional immediately!
The friendly professionals at Admiralty Chimney are here to make sure your chimney is clean, safe, and running properly all season long. If you have questions about preventing chimney fires, or need service, contact us today.
One of the best things about this time of the year is stepping out your door and smelling all of the chimneys gently puffing along. The smell of a wood fire on a winters’ morning can bring back great memories and make the holiday season just a little more complete. We at Admiralty Chimney are grateful for the chance to help you prepare your chimney for the holiday season, and the winter that comes with it.
Chimneys are the heart and warmth of your home, and it’s important to make sure they are running smoothly. Simple steps like having an inspection completed, making sure the chimney cap is installed and fitted properly, or getting a good chimney cleaning can help keep things working properly. Thank you to everyone who chose to have us provide you with a quality inspection or cleaning this year!
Remember, if you have a larger scale chimney project like a lining replacement, or some old masonry that needs fixing, Admiralty is here for you; give yourself the peace of mind of knowing that your chimney has been taken care of by a quality team that wants to keep your home safe and looking fantastic.
Here at Admiralty Chimney, we take our commitment to service and quality seriously, and we know that we wouldn’t be anywhere without our fantastic customers! We’d like to wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. May your homes be warm, and your hearts be warmer throughout this season of gratitude. Happy Holidays from our family to yours, and thank you for your patronage—we love serving you!
As the temperature starts dropping, we rely more and more on the warmth and comfort we get from our fireplaces. Many people look forward to these times by the fireplace, helping to keep the cost of gas/oil/electric down and our spirits up. But before you settle in for the long months ahead, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to make sure your chimney is safe and clear of any dangers that could cause you trouble. So that when you do settle in front of your warm fire, you will know all is safe.
Every time you light a fire in a wood burning stove or fireplace, the condensation that occurs when the smoke is traveling up the chimney creates a substance called creosote. Creosote is highly combustible, and can be dangerous for you and your chimney.
Depending on the temperature of the fire and how quickly the air is moving away from the fire, creosote can look black, brown, gummy, hard, shiny, or even flaky. However it appears, if too much creosote accumulates in your chimney, a fire can start at any moment whenever the temperature gets hot enough.
Factors that cause creosote to form in your chimney lining faster are: restricted air, burning unseasoned wood, cooler chimney temperatures, and slow moving smoke. All of these factors can create the situation that would allow the creosote to ignite within the chimney.
Depending on how quickly the creosote builds up, you may need more frequent cleanings than you originally planned on. There are ways to avoid creosote developing in your chimney quickly, but you’ll never be able to completely stop it from forming.
The most effective way to deal with creosote is to get a trained professional to inspect and care for your chimney. Each home and chimney system is different. Having someone with the knowledge and training to help your chimney stay safe and clean is critical for the safety of your home and family.
Admiralty Chimney is a full-service chimney company, certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Contact Admiralty Chimney today and schedule your inspection and chimney cleaning, so you can relax and have peace of mind knowing your chimney is safe and operational.
Believe it or not, your chimney is not as likely to become damaged from heat, smoke, and corrosion as it is from excess moisture. Water can damage your chimney in a variety of ways, which is one reason that it pays to have a regular chimney inspection!
Moisture is always in the air, but it poses a greater threat during prolonged times of humidity or heavy fog. Water seeps into the cracks between brick and mortar over time, softening and eroding these materials. If preventative measures are not in place, your chimney could lose its integrity and develop a tilt, making it unsafe for regular use.
In order to maintain a functional, robust bond between stone, brick, and mortar, moisture must be kept at a minimum. Water can also get inside your chimney and cause rusting on metal fixtures like dampers and hinges. With the added damages of moisture freezing, expanding, and thawing, New Hampshire chimneys have the odds stacked against them!
There are a few options when it comes to protecting your chimney from water damage.
It’s no secret that chimney maintenance protects the value of your home. As your New Hampshire chimney specialists, we want to help our fellow homeowners maintain safe and effective chimneys before the coming winter months. Contact Admiralty Chimney today to schedule your inspection, cleaning, or waterproofing appointment!
The fall is a great time of year to start thinking about your chimney and fireplace again. We always recommend a chimney inspection or a cleaning to start your winter season off right. As you get your chimney ready for the colder months, fireplace safety is something you should also be thinking about.
When the temperature dips over the next few months, you’ll want your fireplace to keep you warm, but you’ll also want it to be a safe and reliable fixture in your home. Never underestimate the value of safety when it comes to fires. It always pays to be prepared and informed!
Install a firebox screen. Having a screen around your open fireplace will ensure that everyone remains a safe distance from the flames, and that no embers will make it beyond the hearth
Build proper fires. Don’t use too much loose paper when you start a fire. Instead, keep wood shavings and splinters on hand. They’ll light quickly and won’t create burning ash.
Burn the right wood. Softwoods like pine and cedar don’t burn cleanly. They put out resin in their smoke, which forms creosote inside your chimney. It’s best to stick with cleaner burning hardwoods like oak or maple.
When it comes to fireplace safety, everyone in your home should be involved in preventing an accident or a potential tragedy. Make sure your family knows how to operate the fireplace mechanisms such as the flue and damper. Be sure to establish fire safety plans, including escape routes for different areas of your home.
Always remember, common sense is the best way to prevent a fire. Other than the obvious things like keeping kerosene away from open flames, make sure you keep an eye on burning candles. Also, check your chimney periodically to ensure there’s a proper smoke flow, and test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors regularly.
Don’t hesitate to contact Admiralty Chimney. Be sure to schedule your inspection or cleaning appointment before winter is upon us.
As a homeowner, you probably have a decent idea of how your chimney works. If not, here’s a quick run-down:
Fuel is burned in the firebox, and the exhaust and smoke travel through the flue pipe. The flue pipe enters into the chimney body, and is fixed to the chimney liner. The liner travels up the chimney, and the rest is history.
Between the firebox and the chimney top, there are several key features. One of the most important is the chimney damper.
Dampers are flaps that form a tight seal inside part of the chimney, closing off the interior when the chimney is not in use.
Some dampers are made entirely of steel, and others have a rubberized gasket that allows for a tighter seal. Chimney dampers serve two primary purposes: energy efficiency and pest prevention. Let’s take a look at the two types of chimney dampers.
As the name implies, these dampers are fixed to the very top of your chimney. They come either as individual units (as seen on the left), or housed within specialized chimney caps. After they’re installed, top sealing dampers require very little maintenance. A thin steel cable attaches to the shifting mechanism and runs the length of your chimney, allowing you to open or close the damper from inside your home.
Top sealing dampers are considered to be the most effective for preventing wildlife and insects from entering and nesting in your chimney during the off-season. They compliment chimney caps nicely in this aspect, and provide a secure, airtight seal.
Throat dampers are located much closer to the base of your chimney. In gas or pellet stoves, they’re usually fixed just outside the firebox, inside the steel pipe that enters the chimney. In older brick fireplaces, throat dampers are usually not visible, but are operated in a similar way to top sealing dampers.
Because throat dampers are located nearest to the interior of the home, they allow for greater energy efficiency. Rather than allowing your entire chimney to fill with warmth from your home, these dampers create a seal before heat can enter the chimney. When you’re not actively using the fireplace, it’s best to keep throat dampers closed in the winter.
In a word, both. The type of chimney damper you use should be based on where you live. In New Hampshire, both wildlife and energy efficiency are top concerns when it comes to chimneys. With a top sealing damper, your chimney is most effectively sealed off from any type of infestation during the off-season. With a throat damper, your home remains warmer for a longer period of time after each use.
Many New Hampshire homeowners choose to install both types of dampers, and we can’t argue with the best of both worlds! If you’d like more information before you decide, or if you’d like to have a damper professionally installed, give us a shout. Our crew at Admiralty Chimney Service is always happy to help!
Have you ever taken the time to really look at your chimney? Not too many people do. That’s the thing about chimneys…when they’re working like a charm, they’re all but invisible. And during the summer months? Most folks don’t give them a second thought.
When summer comes to a close though, people begin noticing their chimneys again. They realize the masonry looks a bit crumbled in places. The flue is stiffer than it used to be, and there’s an awful lot of creosote inside the fireplace. And what’s that on top of the chimney? Did that really used to be a cap?
If a chimney cap is all rusted away, it’s not doing you any good. Here are the main purposes that a chimney cap serves:
Chimney caps are important for the structural health of your chimney, for preventing moisture damage, and preventing roof fires. They serve so many important safety functions, we believe it’s important for every homeowner to have a chimney cap.
At Admiralty Chimney, we have a saying. You can’t go wrong with a chimney cap. Catchy, right? It’s just plain true. They protect your chimney and your home in so many different ways, and summer is the perfect time of year to install them.
There are several types of caps, and once our experts take a look at your chimney, we’ll know exactly which one is perfect for your needs. The collage above will give you an idea of what chimney caps can look like. Depending on your local climate, type of chimney, and budget, certain caps will be better than others.
Don’t worry, you really don’t have to think much about your chimney this summer. Just give us a quick call at 603-594-0400 to have a cap installed. If you already have one, great! Saftey’s the word, and having a chimney cap is a big step in the right direction.
One of the great aspects of living in New Hampshire is the abundance of old Colonial houses. They stand tall and resolute as testaments to the living history of New England, stretching back for hundreds of years. The problem with houses built over a century ago is that, well, they were built over a century ago.
Before 1900, there were hardly any building regulations, and certainly none to compare with the extensive chimney safety codes of today. When it comes to chimneys and fireplace apparatus, old houses are usually lacking in the safety department. Let’s take a look at some specific chimney issues that are often present in old or unused houses.
Take a look at this image to get an idea of the inner workings of an old, multi-story Colonial chimney. Then keep in mind that the codes of today, such as height and depth dimensions and other safety features, were not common practice in chimney building.
Do you live in a beautiful old Colonial house? Maybe you’ve been eyeing that walled-off fireplace for some time, but you always thought it would be impossible to bring it into working condition. Give us a call, and we can help you find out. At Admiralty Chimney, we know our stuff. Give us a call at 603-594-0400 or contact us online to get started!
Now that the weather is finally warming up, you can start thinking about stowing your chimney for the off-season. At Admiralty Chimney, we recommend that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned as part of your off-season chimney storage.
Close the damper. If you have a wood burning fireplace, the damper should be closed throughout the summer months. If you have a gas stove, it’s best to leave the damper open slightly during the off-season to prevent the buildup of toxic gasses in your home.
Install a chimney cap. Chimney caps are great all year round, as they improve the safety of your home and chimney. They prevent pests from entering the chimney, and they help to
contain sparks and flaming debris during usage.
Clean the hearth. The ashes and soot in your fireplace create
airborne particles that can be dangerous to inhale. Cleaning your fireplace early in the off-season eliminates this issue.
If you haven’t had your annual chimney inspection yet, don’t delay! Give us a call at 603-594-0400 or contact us online today to schedule your inspection or
cleaning. We look forward to hearing from you!
Now is the time to take action. Schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection in the Spring. Now is the perfect time to get your chimney cleaned and inspected to be ready for the next winter season.
Admiralty Chimney Service, along with the National Fire Protection Association, recommends having a thorough chimney inspection and cleaning every year. Most of us homeowners have spring cleaning rituals, a time when the weather allows us to get to those “hard to reach” places. Why not check your chimney off the list this spring, too?
Call the Admiralty Chimney Service experts at at 603-594-0400 or contact us online today to schedule your inspection or cleaning. We’ll see you soon!
March is the time of year when we begin restoring chimneys. Although this winter has been tamer than some, the temperature around New Hampshire has constantly fluctuated above and below freezing. Because of this, chimney mortar and masonry has experienced constant freezing, thawing and refreezing.
Mortar holds up most efficiently when the weather is consistently above 40 degrees. During the winter, the moisture trapped inside chimney mortar freezes and expands, creating tiny cracks and fractures. While this damage isn’t severe enough to ruin a chimney’s masonry in one season, over time it causes serious structural damage.
Each winter, chimney mortar erodes a little more. With the inconsistent temperatures of this past winter, chimney mortar has certainly experienced this effect. When it comes to masonry issues, it’s important to act before your chimney becomes dangerously unsound.
During your annual chimney inspection, the experts at Admiralty Chimney Service will thoroughly examine and assess the condition of your chimney’s mortar and masonry.
We can point out to you areas of your chimney that are experiencing cracking damage. If masonry repairs are required, we will do the job thoroughly and efficiently. Fresh masonry repairs performed in early spring are ideal, as the weather allows for mortar to harden properly, without freezing.
After every masonry project, we spray the surface of your chimney with ChimneySaver, a sealant and water repellent for masonry. This final touch increases the lifespan of your chimney by preventing water absorption and offering freeze/thaw protection.
Got questions? Call Admiralty Chimney Service at 603-594-0400 for more information or a free service estimate. You can also contact us online to schedule your appointment.
Did you know February, March and April are when most chimney fires occur?
At Admiralty Chimney, we try to educate our customers in the proper care of their fireplace, wood, gas, or pellet stoves and furnace flues so chimney fires never have to happen. The National Fire Protection agency (NFPA) strongly urges an annual inspection for all fuel combustible appliances.
When was the last time you had your fireplace, stove or furnace flue inspected?
If you’re not sure, you probably need one – soon! Do you hear falling debris noises in the flue, or has water gotten into your chimney and turned it white? These are indicators of serious problems that need immediate attention.
This cold weather means more burning, more smoke going through the chimney, more creosote, chemical and soot buildup. We provide inspections and cleanings year round. We come to your home and not only provide a service but give you “peace of mind” in knowing that your chimney is in safe working condition.
Don’t wait until you have a serious issue, contact Admiralty Chimney today to schedule an inspection and/or cleaning of your wood, pellet or gas stove, as well as fireplaces and furnace flues.
You can contact us online to schedule your appointment or call our office at 603-594-0400 and our staff will set you up with an appointment. See you soon!
Believe it or not, a lot can happen to your chimney in the winter! In New Hampshire, chimneys go from being unused to being constantly relied upon within a matter of weeks. This sudden constant use can affect chimneys in different ways, particularly if the chimney had existing damage before the winter.
A damaged chimney is dangerous for many reasons, and any problems that arise during the winter should be dealt with quickly. Some of the issues may include:
Our experts will identify issues early on through chimney inspections. You shouldn’t wait until your chimney falls apart, or worse, before calling your local chimney company. Admiralty Chimney is here to keep your chimney safe and efficient, all winter long.
Because of the nature of mortar, we usually perform large masonry repairs when the weather is consistently over 40 degrees. But we are a year-round, full service chimney company, and we’re ready to do what it takes to inspect, clean, or repair your chimney during the long NH winter.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule your appointment, or call us with your emergency chimney repair needs at 603-262-1245.
During the wintertime, everyone wants to just curl up by the fire on a cold December day. It’s important, however, to learn the proper uses and potential safety hazards before starting up that fire. Here are some burning practices for creating that perfect cozy winter atmosphere, while keeping both your fireplace and your home safe.
It’s best to burn wood that has been stored outdoors and kept off the ground. The wood should also be shielded by a tarp or other protective covering.
Use newspaper, dry kindling, or an all-natural fire starter. You can also install a natural gas or propane log lighter in your open fireplace.
Most wax and sawdust logs are made for open hearth fireplaces only. Check the instructions for your wood stove or fireplace before using artificial logs. If you are using manufactured logs, be sure that they are made of one-hundred percent compressed sawdust.
With limited time during a high-pressure situation, it is important for your family to plan ahead by coming up with a fire escape route for your home. Here are some basic fire escape planning tips in case of an emergency.
Draw a map of your house and plan out the different ways your family will be able to exit safely. Review this map with your children so that they will know how and where to exit in case of a house fire.
Find an outside location where you can all meet that is a safe distance away from the house. Mark this location on your escape map so that you will all know where to meet.
Double check that all of your smoke alarms are equipped with working batteries. It’s important that your children can easily wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm going off.
Practice your escape route with your family so that they will know how to respond if there is a real house fire. Planning ahead will prevent you or your family members from being unprepared during a dangerous situation.
In the case of a real house fire, do not go back into the burning building under any circumstance! If someone is missing, let your fire dispatcher know when you make the call. For your safety, allow firefighters with the proper equipment and training to enter the house during an emergency.
Chimneys add to the beauty of a home, but they also protect your family from harmful smoke and gases that would otherwise remain in your house. Many homeowners take steps to protect themselves by having a chimney installed in their home, but chimneys also need to be protected in order to remain functional and safe.
One way of protecting your chimney is by installing a chimney cap. A chimney cap is a stainless steel device fitted to the top of a chimney to improve the airflow. We recommend that homeowners have them installed because of their many benefits.
A properly installed chimney cap will protect your crown and help to prevent harmful moisture from rain, snow, and ice from getting into the chimney cavity. Moisture entering the chimney can lead to rapid deterioration, expensive repairs, and safety issues.
Chimney caps are designed to redirect water away from the top of the chimney and over the sides of the chimney.
Chimneys make a great place for small animals and birds to nest because of their warmth and safety from predators. This can cause serious problems for both the homeowner and the critter. Once they get in, they can’t get back out.
Birds, squirrels, raccoons and other animal nests will block the path of smoke and force the smoke to settle back into your home. This can cause soot damage or even carbon monoxide poisoning. Installing a chimney cap with mesh siding will prevent animals from entering your chimney and your home.
Debris such as leaves, twigs, and trash can easily enter a chimney and clog the flues and the pathway of the smoke. This can lead to blockages or even chimney fires. If you have the proper chimney cap installed, leaves and other debris will not get past the wire mesh, keeping your chimney clear and safe.
Embers and large sparks from fireplaces can travel up and out the chimney flue. A large enough spark could easily exit the chimney, causing a roof fire or the nearby brush or leaves to catch fire. If this happens, it can also cause internal damage to the chimney itself. The wire mesh of a chimney cap keeps these sparks contained until they eventually burn out.
If you want to maximize the lifespan of your chimney and protect your valuable investment, installing a chimney cap is a great place to start. Admiralty Chimney Service recommends and installs stainless steel caps, and all our caps come with lifetime warranties. Give us a call today at 603-594-0400 to learn more!
As a homeowner, having your chimney inspected every year is one of the smartest moves you can make. There’s no substitute for an expert pair of eyes identifying hazards before they become destructive.
Chimney fires are always unexpected and can be devastating. Even when contained, chimney fires can cause massive structural damage to both mortar and chimney linings.
A regular chimney inspection will identify potential fire hazards such as pest infestation, chimney swift nests, soot and creosote buildup, and damage to your chimney lining before these things cause any serious damage.
Chimney inspections are important for your health.
Creosote is a highly flammable, oily brown material that cakes onto a chimney’s interior lining. Creosote can be either crusty or tar-like, and is a byproduct of the combustion of firewood or pellets. Over time, creosote builds up in chimneys, creating a carbon residue that is both a fire hazard and a health threat. If not inspected and removed regularly, creosote can cause skin and eye irritation as well as respiratory disease.
Chimney soot is also formed from the incomplete combustion of firewood or pellets. Made from small particles of carbon, soot is very dangerous to inhale and can cause a variety of respiratory diseases.
Chimney swifts are small birds that prefer to nest in chimneys, as they offer safety from predators. Chimney swifts, like many birds, have been known to carry a fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a dangerous and potentially deadly flu-like infection. Chimney swift droppings often collect inside chimneys over time, releasing airborne pathogens that can infect you or your family.
Carbon monoxide is another silent killer that can originate from a dirty chimney. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct that is released when wood or fuel does not burn completely. While a carbon monoxide detector can alert you when the gas is present, an annual chimney inspection can identify the flaws in a chimney, preventing the gas from ever being present in your home.
It’s never wise to put off your annual chimney inspection. With the winter months approaching, now is the time to identify and address the hazards lurking in your chimney.