Your fireplace provides you with a warm and cozy reprieve from the cold winter weather. But without proper use and care, it can create a hazardous situation–from toxic gases and smoke, to house fires. In this month’s blog, the certified chimney professionals at Admiralty Chimney offer tips to keep your family warm and safe all winter long.
1. Invest in some fireplace tools, including a broom, shovel, tongs, and an iron poker. These tools will protect you from accidental burns, keep your fireplace area clean, and ensure your fire is under control.
2. Use a fireplace screen to prevent embers from landing on your rug or furniture.
3. Use the right cleaners when cleaning the glass or bricks around your fireplace. Choose a cleaner specifically formulated for fireplaces. Other cleaners may contain toxic chemicals that release volatile gases or cause a flammable reaction.
4. Test your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms. These devices, which protect you and your family from toxic fumes and smoke, are especially important during the winter months when windows are closed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that you test your smoke and CO alarms monthly and replace your batteries annually. Smoke alarms should be on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. To save money and space, consider purchasing combination CO and smoke alarms.
5. Keep a fire extinguisher in the house in case of emergency. Make sure all family members know where it is and how to use it.
6. Practice safe burning.
7. Keep a watchful eye on your fireplace and chimney structure.
To ensure the safe and efficient operation of your fireplace, be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year by a certified chimney professional. If you have a chimney cap, it should be checked as part of your annual chimney cleaning and inspection. Contact Admiral Chimney to schedule your appointment. Even small cracks can channel water, which will spall bricks and cause structural damage to your entire chimney.
8. Be mindful of your home and family.
When you properly care for and use your fireplace, you will keep your home and family safe all season long. If you notice something amiss with your chimney, or have questions on how to safely use it, contact the certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney. We inspect, clean, and repair chimneys throughout New Hampshire, including the towns of Amherst, Atkinson, Derry, Londonderry, Merrimack, Nashua, and Windham.
Brrrrr. Nothing can take away the chill in the air like a warm and cozy fireplace. But what if your fire is spilling smoke into your home instead of up the chimney? In this month’s blog, the CSIA-certified chimney specialists at Admiralty Chimney offer draft troubleshooting tips to eliminate excessive fireplace smoke.
Drafting is when your fireplace eliminates gaseous byproducts up the chimney and into the atmosphere. When there is a disruption in your fireplace draft, these byproducts, in the form of smoke, back up and enter your home.
Occasional smoking can occur when wind gusts are high or blowing from a certain direction. Hillsides, trees, or water located near your house can impact wind conditions. Installing a chimney cap can be helpful in tempering these weather forces.
If your fire is smoking right at the start, your chimney and flue are probably cold. In cool weather, exposed bricks create a cold air mass within the chimney. To eliminate that air, preheat your chimney by lighting one end of a rolled newspaper and hold it up to the damper area. Once the flow of hot air warms the chimney, you can start your fire.
If you’ve followed these troubleshooting tips and still see smoke, contact the professionals at Admiralty Chimney. You may have a structural problem with your fireplace or chimney, such as:
Make sure your fireplace is ready for the long winter season with an annual chimney cleaning and inspection. Contact the CSIA-certified and Certified Master Chimney Technicians at Admiralty Chimney to schedule your appointment.
Let’s face it, heating your home is not cheap. The cost of fuel, including cordwood, continues to rise. To get the most bang for your heating buck, the chimney experts at Admiralty Chimney offer a few tips on collecting, storing, and burning your firewood, so you can get the most from your fuel investment.
Before hiring a wood supplier, or cutting the wood yourself, do your research and plan ahead so you’ll have it when you need it most.
If you’re cutting your wood:
If you’re buying your wood:
Storing your firewood away from the weather elements will help protect your fuel investment. Firewood should be stored in a sheltered location, such as an overhang, and sit slightly off the ground. To protect from direct precipitation, the stacks should be covered with plastic or other waterproof material.
Be sure the ground is level and has good drainage so any water doesn’t puddle up. To help prevent rotting, elevate your wood pile on a pre-built wood rack or treated two-by-fours.
How you stack your wood can speed up the seasoning process. There are several firewood stacking structures you can choose from.
Green or “wet” wood that is stacked in a criss-crossed, open-spaced pattern seasons faster than wood piled close together. Stack wood loosely so that air can flow through; yet make sure that all pieces are secured within the pile so they can allow for shifting that occurs when wood shrinks and moves during the drying process. Wood should be stacked in the spring so that it’s dry for the next heating season.
Be sure your firewood is well-seasoned before your first burn. For an efficient fire, all firewood should dry for six months. If you buy plastic bundles of wood at a gas station or supermarket, let the wood dry before you use it. When green wood is burned prematurely, the wood’s energy is wasted in evaporating moisture and won’t burn effectively.
Burning firewood, no matter how seasoned it is, creates by-products, like creosote, that build up in your fireplace and increase your risk of chimney fires. Always keep your fireplace chimney ventilated and have it cleaned and inspected annually.
If you have questions about your firewood or the function of your chimney, contact the experts at Admiralty Chimney. We can answer your questions and help you get your fireplace ready for the heating season. Need an annual chimney cleaning or inspection? Contact the CSIA-certified chimney specialists at Admiralty Chimney to schedule your appointment today.
Thousands of chimney fires occur every year, resulting in costly property damage or worse, injury to families and loved ones. With Fire Prevention Week approaching on October 8-14, the chimney experts at Admiralty Chimney offer timely tips on keeping your home and family safe from chimney fires.
While chimney fires can be caused by defective or improperly installed chimney liners or structures, the most common cause of a chimney fire is creosote build-up. Creosote, a mixture of soot and tar that coats the inside of your chimney when burning wood, should be removed during your annual chimney cleaning and inspection. Otherwise, the creosote can catch fire in your chimney and escape to the combustible areas in your walls, roof, or attic.
There are two types of chimney fires:
A free burning fire is loud and thunderous; it may sound like you have a freight train or airplane in your chimney. Dramatic flames or billowing smoke may accompany the noise, and spill out from your chimney top.
A slow burning fire is a quieter chimney fire, but equally dangerous. You may not even know it has taken place. These undetected fires burn slowly and at high temperatures that can cause structural damage to your chimney and can easily catch flammable parts of your home on fire.
Fortunately, with regular cleanings and inspections, chimney fires can be prevented. So before you start using your fireplace this fall, contact the CSIA-certified and Certified Master Chimney Technicians at Admiralty Chimney to schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection.
Fall and winter in New England is the time of year when we hunker down and stay inside from the abrasive seasonal climate. Unfortunately for homeowners, chipmunks, squirrels, and mice are no different, and look for warm spots, like your chimney, to hibernate. How do you keep these unwanted guests out of your chimney and your home? The experts at Admiralty Chimney discuss the importance of chimney caps in keeping out the critters.
A chimney cap is a stainless steel “hat” or cap that sits on top of your chimney. This finishing element may seem like a frivolous feature, but the benefits of chimney caps can help save you from unnecessary and expensive chimney damage and repairs.
A chimney cap restricts animals from entering your chimney. Wild critters are drawn to the chimney for its warmth and privacy. In many cases, they’ll build a nest in the chimney, which can lead to blockage. This makes for a dangerous situation as airflow is restricted, and embers can’t freely escape. Animals that inhabit your chimney may also eventually perish, leaving unpleasant odors behind in your home.
The importance of chimney caps are far-reaching. A professionally-installed chimney cap from Admiralty Chimney will help ensure the safety of, and preserve the longevity of, your chimney. Contact the CSIA-certified and Certified Master Chimney Technicians at Admiralty Chimney to schedule your chimney cap installation.
When it comes to home maintenance, most of us probably don’t give much thought about our chimney liner. However, a chimney liner is a critical part of the safe functioning of your chimney. Without one, your chimney walls, ceiling, and roof can overheat and catch fire. In this month’s blog, the experts at Admiralty Chimney discuss which option is best for you: clay tile versus stainless steel chimney liners.
If you need a new chimney liner, or need to replace an existing one, a number of materials and choices are available to you. Whether selecting a chimney liner for a new construction, or replacing one in an existing chimney, you have two choices: clay tile or stainless steel.
Clay chimney liners have been around since the early 1900s, and continue to be a strong contender when choosing a liner for a new chimney construction. Clay tiles can withstand extremely high temperatures without damaging or hindering the performance of the liner. Clay tiles also hold up against the corrosive materials that are burned in and pass through the flue to leave the chimney. In addition, clay tiles are relatively inexpensive to purchase and once installed, these tile liners can last for 50 years.
However, using clay tiles has some drawbacks. While the materials are inexpensive, installation is labor intensive and can be rather costly. This makes clay tiles an excellent choice for new constructions, where you have easy access to the interior of the chimney during assembly.
Relining with clay tile is difficult, as the old liner is removed by chipping it out with specialized tools removing damaged tiles. Installing new ones requires breaking portions of the chimney every few vertical feet. For this reason, relining your chimney with clay tiles is usually not recommended. If your chimney expert presents it as an option, be sure to ask:
Stainless Steel chimney liners are more expensive than clay, but because stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, you can expect this liner to last for years—virtually problem-free. The complete seal applied to the liner keeps emissions away from your masonry, allowing them to last longer and reducing required repairs. Although the stainless steel liner itself is more expensive than clay, it is easier to install, so the installation costs are less, making it the best choice for chimney liner replacement.
Because stainless steel chimney liners come in different shapes and sizes, you can choose a liner that fits your chimney. Metal liners are also available in a rigid or flexible format.
Chimney liner installations and relining projects run more smoothly with time and fair weather conditions; making these summer months the right season to get your chimney liner fireplace-ready before the cool fall weather sets in.
If you’re looking to install a new chimney liner or reline an existing one, the CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney can inspect your chimney and make a liner recommendation to fit your needs. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation and inspection of your chimney liner.
this is an endangered bird species, can fly vertical and builds their nests in chimneys. When we find these during inspection, we cannot disturb the nest.
Chimneys are often overlooked when it comes to the routine maintenance and upkeep of the home. But environmental elements, such as snow, water and ice can cause your chimney masonry to deteriorate, leading to costly damage, fire and flue gas hazards, and even chimney collapse. How do you know if your chimney masonry needs repair? In this month’s blog, our chimney masonry repair experts share 4 telltale signs:
Mortar joints hold the bricks on your chimney together and keep moisture from getting inside. However, with repeated exposure to snow, ice, and water, the mortar can become saturated with moisture. As this moisture freezes and thaws in bricks, rocks, and cement, the mortar joints deteriorate. Overtime, they may not be able to support the weight of the bricks, which can put your home and safety at risk. Damaged mortar joints should be repaired as soon as possible. Fortunately, the warm weather and fair conditions of the summer season make it an optimal time for chimney masonry repair.
When a chimney crown is cracked, water is able to seep in. Any freezing and thawing will cause larger cracks. A damaged chimney crown allows moisture to seep between the chimney and the chimney liner, as well as into the chimney, which can cause spalling (described below). Cracked chimney crowns can be detected during your annual chimney inspection.
White discoloration on a chimney is called efflorescence and is caused when water-soluble salts are deposited on bricks. Efflorescence is a clear indication of excess moisture in the chimney masonry. While the staining is easily removed, cleaning it doesn’t solve the underlying moisture problem. If efflorescence isn’t addressed and remedied, other potential problems related to moisture can occur.
Spalling occurs when water enters brick, natural stone, or concrete and forces the surface of your chimney masonry to pop out, peel off, or flake off, and land at the base of your chimney or in your yard. If you notice any of these signs, your chimney masonry has serious damage. Spalling is more prevalent in colder climates, where a freeze-thaw cycle can cause frost to actually break and push off masonry fragments. Spalling bricks also weaken the structure of your chimney, which can be dangerous.
Chimney masonry problems are serious and must be dealt with immediately. If you’re unsure about the condition of your chimney masonry, contact the CSIA-certified chimney technicians at Admiralty Chimney. A chimney inspection can help identify any issues and needed masonry repairs and ensure that your chimney is at peak performance before burning season arrives.
The warmer weather is finally upon us and it’s probably safe to say that your fireplace will be taking a break for the next few months. Summer is a great time to schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection, offering several advantages to caring for and maintaining your fireplace before the cool weather returns in the fall.
Annual chimney inspections are an important part of your fireplace maintenance, and can help identify damage or deterioration before minor issues turn into major problems. As summer is considered an “off-peak” season for chimney care, scheduling your chimney cleaning and inspection during the summer offers several advantages including:
During the warmer weather seasons, it’s easier to schedule an inspection with greater availability.
If your inspection uncovers any repairs that are needed, service appointments can be scheduled and repairs made without delay, well before the weather turns chilly and before your chimney further deteriorates.
In these quieter months, many chimney companies will offer reduced rates and discount incentives on inspections. Schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection with Admiralty Chimney before August 31, and receive our summer rates.
Many chimney repairs, such as replacing flashing and crown repair, require warm, fair or dry weather for best results. Additionally, major chimney work such as complete rebuilding of the chimney and chimney relining, require more time, making it more feasible to do in the summer months.
Masonry repairs are best made during the summer, when the temperatures are well above 40 degrees. The warmer temperature enables materials to cure. Once the masonry is properly cured, waterproofing can also be applied to protect that new masonry for years to come.
In the warmer weather you may begin to notice a bad smell coming from the fireplace. An inspection enables the technician to investigate the cause of the smell, whether it’s from creosote and ash build-up from a long winter of fireplace use, or a critter that got inside the chimney. Once identified, the technician can offer a solution.
By inspecting and tending to your chimney needs, you’re improving the safety, performance, and efficiency of your chimney, which will extend the life of your fireplace. The CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney use the best tools and industry-leading knowledge in their chimney inspections. To avoid the fall rush, schedule your chimney inspection with the chimney care experts at Admiralty Chimney today.
Your chimney may look good on the outside, but when it comes to the safety of your home and family, it’s the inside that matters most. In this month’s blog, we’ll discuss the importance of chimney liners and what you need to know to protect the health and safety of your family.
Chimney liners are vital to the safe operation of your chimney. In fireplaces that burn gas, oil, or wood, a liner helps guide the combustion by-products out and away from your chimney. Without a properly installed and maintained chimney liner, gases and particles can be released into the home, putting your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your chimney liner is worn or damaged, it can affect your health and leave telltale signs in your home. Here are some signs that you may need to replace your chimney liner:
If your chimney liner isn’t properly installed or maintained, it can become damaged and dangerous. Be sure to have it installed and maintained by a chimney professional who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Because there are many types of chimney liners for different conditions, you should be leery of any company that provides you with a quote over the phone. To properly quote the costs involved in relining a chimney, a certified professional needs to go to your home, thoroughly inspect your chimney, take measurements, assess the conditions of your chimney, and discuss your overall usage.
Chimney liners are vital to the safe operation of any chimney. If you’re looking to install a new chimney liner or repair an existing one, the CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your no-obligation quote!
Most people know that keeping their chimney clean is essential to the safe and efficient operation of their fireplace. But there are many myths and misconceptions about chimneys and how to keep them in proper, working order. In this month’s Admiralty Chimney blog, we’ll discuss 5 common chimney myths and misconceptions. Some may surprise you.
1. I don’t use my chimney that often so I don’t need to have it cleaned or inspected. Although creosote buildup may not be an issue, you might be surprised about the amount of debris that can fall into your chimney, or how quickly your structure erodes over time. While cleaning your chimney, your chimney sweep will remove any debris and check for dangerous cracks the chimney and flue.
Spring is a great time to schedule a chimney cleaning. Hold off until fall and you’ll have to wait in line for an appointment with everyone else.
2. I have a metal chimney liner so I no longer need annual inspections. While metal liners help protect the interior of your chimney, they are still subject to soot and creosote build-up. Regardless of your liner type and condition, an annual inspection is still recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
3. Cleaning a chimney is easy and something I can do myself. Some household maintenance jobs are best left to the professionals, and chimney sweeping happens to be one of these. For the non-professional, cleaning a chimney can be extremely messy, time-consuming, and dangerous. You need the appropriate equipment, including a respirator (to protect your lungs from soot and creosote). Make it easy on yourself and schedule your chimney cleaning with the CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney.
4. Masonry chimneys are indestructible. Unfortunately this is not true. While doing chimney cleanings and inspections, the Admiralty Chimney team frequently finds cracks in masonry chimneys caused by the freezing and thawing of water.
5. Burning pine and other softwoods (which contain large amounts of sap) can cause creosote damage to your chimney. A University of Georgia study put an end to this long-held belief. Creosote forms from burning low-temperature fires, not sap-rich wood. If the wood you burn has dried for at least a year, creosote shouldn’t be a concern.
Don’t be misled by these common chimney myths and misconceptions. Even if you only use your fireplace just a few times a year, it’s important to have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Contact the CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney today to schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning.
Brickwork taken to new levels.Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas Performance Piece, Dennis Oppenheim 2000 24’ H x 12’ W x 12’ D Steel, galvanized steel, epoxy, pigments, cement, bugles, fire brick, foam and fiberglass This piece invites one to consider the fusion of architecture and musical performance. A chimney is turned into a wind instrument, suggesting one could play or perform it. The cavity of a functional object (chimney) is considered for its sound producing qualities. In the same way, one could consider playing or performing a building by walking through it.
Ahhh…springtime. There’s no better season to get your home in order. When you start your spring cleaning, don’t forget about your chimney—it’s been working hard for you these past several months! Here are four reasons why spring may be the best time for cleaning and inspecting your chimney:
By scheduling your annual chimney cleaning and inspection during the spring, you avoid the fall rush. Most people don’t think about their chimneys until the temperatures start to drop. By scheduling your cleaning now, you won’t have to wait for an appointment.
The creosote and ash that’s been building up in your chimney can cause unpleasant odors. By having your chimney cleaned after the long winter season, you’ll keep your home smelling fresh.
When acidic creosote buildup is combined with the moisture from the rain of spring and summer, it can cause deterioration of your chimney’s interior. By removing creosote buildup after the burning season, you can significantly prolong the life of your chimney.
To protect the safety of your home and family, the Chimney and Safety Institute of America recommends annual inspections and cleanings by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. By having your chimney cleaned and inspected in the spring, you’ll have time to take care of any needed repairs before the start of the burning season. Doing so will allow you and your family to safely enjoy the warmth and comfort your chimney all season long.
The CSIA-certified professionals at Admiralty Chimney are here to keep your chimney in good working condition and your family safe. Contact us today to schedule your spring chimney cleaning and inspection.
As our New England winter days are growing longer and warmer, we’re reminded that spring is just around the corner. And with the dawn of this season of renewal comes spring cleaning! As you clean and maintain your home in preparation for the warmer months, don’t forget about your chimney–it’s been working hard for you all winter long. Before you schedule your chimney cleaning and inspection, follow these guidelines for hiring the right chimney sweep:
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is a non-profit organization with a mission of educating and protecting homeowners, and a dedication to providing continuing education for chimney sweep professionals. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps pass two exams and renew their certification every three years. Roughly 1,800 chimney sweep professionals are certified nationwide.
In addition to confirming that your chimney sweep is CSIA-certified, be sure to ask the following questions:
1. How long have they been in business? When it comes to the safety and maintenance of your home, experience matters.
2. Do they offer current references? Talk to other customers about their quality of work and level of professionalism.
3. Does the company have unresolved complaints filed against them? An unresolved complaint is, of course, a red flag.
4. Does the company carry valid business liability insurance? Never allow anyone to work on your home without proof of insurance.
5. Does the company ensure that a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site? All chimney inspections should be signed off by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep.
Unfortunately, many chimney sweeps lack the education and experience required to protect the safety of your home and family. Following the above guidelines will help you in hiring the right chimney sweep for your home.
At Admiralty Chimney, we take your home and your safety very seriously. We aren’t just licensed chimney service professionals, we are certified by and committed to the standards and ethics of the Chimney Service Institute of America (CSIA). Whether your chimney is in need of service or an annual inspection and cleaning, our certified professionals are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
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.