Our Current Blog Articles
June 26, 2017
More Reasons Why You Can't Get A Fire Going
Today, Chimney Sweeps of America offers even more reasons why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace. If you were unable to find the source of your trouble with the suggestions offered in the last article, then perhaps one of these tips will help you out.
Cold Air in the Chimney
This is more of an issue for a chimney located outside the wall of the house. Cold air sinks and could be weighing down the draft just enough to prevent the smoke from rising. To combat this, you can ignite a piece of newspaper and hold it up near the damper to heat a bit of the air in the chimney. Do this extremely carefully.
Not Enough Chimney Draft
Fires need oxygen, and if there isn’t enough of a draft coming down your chimney, it will be nearly impossible to get a blaze going. If the problem is a recent one, it could be that an animal built their home inside your chimney or branches are blocking the opening. Both problems can be fixed with the help of our animal removal and chimney cleaning services.
If you notice that you’ve always had this trouble, it could be that your chimney is too short and you could have it enlarged. To give you an idea, a chimney stack should overall be at least 10 feet tall, rise at least 3 feet above the roof and be at least 2 feet higher than any objects within 10 feet of it.
Your Home is Buttoned up Too Tight
In these modern days of energy efficiency, it is possible to go a little too far with buttoning up our homes. Fires need a source of air and if your home is too tightly sealed there is not enough airflow for the fire to draw and send up the chimney. This can be dangerous too with carbon monoxide poisoning. Try opening a window to see if this is the problem. If that works, consider more permanent options.
Wrong Size Flue
Problems with wrong flue size generally occur when installing wood-burning stoves and connecting them improperly to a chimney. Help from a knowledgeable professional during installation will prevent this problem before it even starts.
Especially if it has been over a year since the last time you had your chimney cleaned, it could just simply be that the chimney is dirty. Over time soot builds up in the chimney and begins to create blockages and problems with the airflow. The only way to fix this is to get the chimney cleaned out to allow for proper airflow and chimney stack function.
Well, that’s it for more reasons why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace. From all of us here at Chimney Sweeps of America, we hope that these lists have been helpful. Of course, these issues can easily be detected by one of our professionals during a routine inspection and cleaning visit so you can always just set up an appointment with us and we’ll get your chimney in tip-top shape in no time!
June 14, 2017
Why You Can't Get a Fire Going
Have you ever wondered why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace? The folks here at Chimney Sweeps of America have put together a list of reasons why you might be having trouble--and what you can do about it. Hopefully, these troubleshooting tips will help you get your fire going, and your home nice and toasty, once more.
The Gas isn’t Making it to the Fireplace
Gas fireplaces obviously need gas to function. There are a few reasons why gas might not be making it to the fireplace. The simplest is that the switch may have gotten turned off, so check that first. You may also be out of gas or had forgotten to pay a gas bill. Worst case scenario you have a leak somewhere, and that should definitely be handled by a professional.
The Damper is Blocked or Closed
Sometimes, even though you may have remembered to open the damper, there may be something preventing it from opening up all the way. This could be soot buildup or even water damage. If you can’t find the reason on your own, it may be a good idea to hire a professional to clean the chimney and get the damper functioning properly again.
The Pilot Light is Out
Another reason why you can't get a fire going is that the pilot light has been snuffed out by a downdraft or other occurrence. Without it, there is no spark to ignite the gas and get your fire started. Simply check the pilot light and light it up if that turns out to be the problem.
The Gas Valve is Blocked
There is a device in your gas fireplace called a thermo-coupling. This device opens the gas valve by using a spark that it generates from the pilot light. The spark here is very small, and even a speck of dust can block the valve and cause a problem with your gas fireplace.
Wood is Wet or Green
For a wood fireplace to work properly (i.e. vent gases up the chimney), there needs to be heat in the chimney. If you try to light wood that is too wet or green, you will simply end up with a lot of smoke and not enough heat to create the venting action. Even if you can get the wood to light, wet wood produces less heat than dry wood and the excess; unvented smoke will suffocate your fire. Ensure that you use properly dried or seasoned wood to get your wood stove or fireplace fire going.
Next time we’ll offer a few more reasons why you can’t get a fire going in your fireplace. Hopefully, these tips from our friendly staff here at Chimney Sweep of America Inc. have been helpful. Our main goal is for our customers to be warm and safe. You can always feel free to call and ask questions. If you find yourself with a problem and don’t know how best to fix it, you can easily schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians, and we will get you back on the road to success with your fireplace.
May 23, 2017
Mold in Your Fireplace or Chimney?
While it might sound odd, could you have mold in your fireplace or chimney? According to our Chimney Sweeps of America experts, the answer is yes. While many people are aware of the signs and dangers of mold in other parts of their house, they may never think to check inside their chimney. However, since mold likes dark, damp places, a moisture problem inside your chimney could also mean you have a mold problem! To protect your family’s health and safety, we recommend taking a moment to check it out.
Here’s what you need to know. Mold growth is most common in infrequently used chimney stacks. If you didn’t use the fireplace that often this winter, a quick test is the first step. So, give your fireplace a sniff. If it smells musty, that’s a good indication that mold has begun growing inside your chimney.
How to Get Rid of Mold
The simplest way to properly determine the presence of mold and have it removed is to call Chimney Sweeps of America to clean your chimney and provide a thorough inspection. We can even apply waterproofing as needed to help minimize the growth of mold in the future. If mold is growing inside your chimney, this is your best option.
If the mold is growing on the outside of your chimney, you can get away with a little DIY if you have a free weekend. You can buy a specialized anti-fungus cleaner to be used in conjunction with a wire brush to scrub the outside of your chimney. However, read the instructions carefully. Improper use of these products can be hazardous to your health.
How to Prevent the Growth of Mold
As with anything, the best form of treatment is prevention. As with any mold growth, a giant factor is the moisture. Cut down on the amount of water or dampness inside or around your chimney, and you will see a marked decrease in mold issues.
Chimneys take a beating during severe weather and because of this should be properly sealed to prevent moisture from getting inside. However, if your bricks (or whatever material your chimney is composed of) are already damaged, this should be addressed before sealing. Sealing already damaged materials does very little to help prevent moisture leaks.
Another way to cut down on chimney dampness is to ensure that you not only have a chimney cap but also that it is in good working order. A good chimney cap with expansion joints that allow for expansion and contraction with temperature changes goes a long way toward keeping your chimney safe and dry.
If you've ever wondered, could you have mold in your fireplace or chimney, we hope that this information will be helpful to you. Of course, if you do see any of the issues mentioned here you should call an expert sweep from Chimney Sweeps of America to ensure that your problem is fixed correctly. The peace of mind and knowing that you are keeping your family safe is invaluable. Who knows, you might even find the source of those allergies that you can’t seem to shake.
May 16, 2017
Don't Ignore Your Fireplace this Summer
Here at Chimney Sweeps of America in Denver, we wholeheartedly recommend that you don’t ignore your fireplace this summer! We understand the natural tendency during these warmer months to forget about the things you aren’t using – like your fireplace. However, by putting in a little bit of effort during the summer, you will save yourself from a lot more work and headaches in the fall when it comes time to light up and gather around the fire once again.
Chimney Cleaning and Maintenance
Summer is an excellent time to schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection appointment. Not only do you get your pick of appointment times because the sweeps aren’t as busy, but if a problem is found during the inspection, you have plenty of time to get it taken care of without having to worry about a cold snap rolling in before your fireplace is ready to use. Knowing that your fireplace has been cleaned and inspected gives you peace of mind throughout the summer and avoids that last-minute rush as the temperature starts to drop and you remember that you haven’t yet prepared your fireplace.
Close it Down
If your fireplace was frequently used during the winter, the damper may still be open. However, you’ll want to keep the damper closed throughout the summer months so cool air from your AC unit doesn’t escape through your chimney. You’ll be thanking yourself when it comes time to pay the energy bill.
Clean out and Wash the Firebox
Along with getting the chimney cleaned, you’ll want to take care of the firebox. It’s not a good idea to leave your firebox full of ashes and soot all summer. Rather, once the ashes have cooled and you will not be using your fireplace anymore for the year, thoroughly clean out all the ash and soot. Start with a shovel to get out the majority and then you can switch to a vacuum cleaner.
Once all the ash is out, you can use a cleaning solution with water to wash it out completely. Be sure to select a cleaning solution that is not flammable! Even if you wash your firebox at the start of summer, residue could be left and cause a problem when you light it up again in the fall.
Take Care of Odds and Ends
Take advantage of this time to clean up important odds and ends like oiling the hinges or cleaning the glass on a gas fireplace. All these details are so much easier to manage before it has sat dirty all summer when you’re not feeling pressured by cooling temperatures. Plus, you get the added benefit of a shiny fireplace for the summer months. Also complete a visual inspection inside and out for signs of cracks or damage in your bricks, mortar or other structural elements. Again, it will be easier to get fireplace and chimney repairs taken care of during summer instead of waiting until the temperatures drop.
If you take our advice and don’t ignore your fireplace this summer, we promise that you will have greater peace of mind in knowing that it’s safe and ready to use. Here at Chimney Sweeps of America, we know that fire safety is crucial and ensuring that your chimney is maintained and inspected every year is an important part of keeping your family protected. We always work hard to ensure that your fireplace is in tip top shape so you get to enjoy this feature in absolute comfort.
April 24, 2017
Is a Chimney Inspection on Your Spring Cleaning List?
Chimney Sweeps of America often asks customers, is a chimney inspection on your spring cleaning list? If it’s not, it should be! You might not think too often about your chimney, figuring that it is a sturdy piece of masonry. The good news is that it probably is. However, even the sturdiest of chimneys can develop a problem occasionally, and sometimes chimney problems can have devastating consequences.
Even if you are the type to have your chimney properly cleaned and checked every year, you probably start thinking about it in the fall when you are getting ready to start using it again. While that’s great, Chimney Sweeps of America suggest adding it to your spring cleaning list, for several reasons.
- Your pick of appointments
Since most don't think about their chimneys until fall, chimney sweeps get busy around that time of year. With less competition in the springtime, you are virtually assured to get whatever appointment time works the best for you. Plus, you can be sure that when the technician comes, he will be more relaxed and more able to take his time to ensure a thorough job is done.
- Fresh and clean for the summer
During the winter a lot of creosote and other gunk builds up on the inside of your chimney. It might not be that noticeable, but there is a slight odor associated with this buildup. This smell gets progressively stronger with warmer weather. Having your chimney cleaned in the spring eliminates those odors for the summer and helps keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
- Helps prevent corrosion
In addition to the smell, leaving that gunk inside your chimney can create a favorable environment for corrosion to take hold, particularly if water or even humidity finds its way inside. Left unchecked, it could eventually lead to serious chimney damage that will be much more expensive than a simple cleaning.
- Time to make repairs
If the inspection shows that your chimney has suffered damage, a springtime checkup leaves more time to get the issue resolved. Trying to get repairs done in the fall can be difficult because chimney sweeps are often overbooked. You might not be able to get the repairs done in time so that you can start using your chimney with the first cold snap. Taking care of chimney repairs during the spring, or even early summer, eradicates that stress and leaves you with the peace of mind that even if fall rolls in early this year, you are ready for it!
Is a chimney inspection on your spring cleaning list? Hopefully, you now understand why we ask and why it’s so important. So, if you need an inspection, repairs or simply have chimney related questions, feel free to have a chat with one of our knowledgeable employees here at Chimney Sweeps of America. Our staff is always ready and willing to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns when it comes to heating your home and keeping everyone and everything safe while doing it.