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By mainechimne63644266, Feb 20 2020 04:33PM

Many homeowners are unaware that their furnace flue, boiler flue, and water heater flu also require regular cleaning. (Newer, high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters that have PVC "power vents" are an exception.)

These flues should be cleaned regularly in order to remove buildup and to ensure appropriate draft so that dangerous fumes and smoke have an escape and do not build up inside your home. Uncapped flues especially are prone to clogs from debris and nesting animals, creating a fire hazard.

Mostly what dirties furnace flues is rust scale or gas sediment, which is created during the process of combustion. This sediment is the consistency of beach sand, and, left unchecked, it piles up and can clog the flue.

Various critters sometimes find their way into furnace flues as well, plugging it and potentially jamming the motor.

The biggest danger of a clogged furnace flue is carbon monoxide (CO). When the flue is plugged, pollutants generated during the process of combustion are unable to escape completely. These pollutants, including CO, will backdraft into the house, and this is of course very dangerous for you and your family, as the hazards posed to human health from CO are well known.

All of this risk is of course easily minimized with regular maintenance and checks on your heating appliances and their associated flues, including regular furnace flue cleaning. In this case, a little prevention really does go a long way.

Looking for flue cleaning? Give us a call to schedule an appointment. 618.235.6364

By mainechimne63644266, Feb 6 2020 07:05PM

Annual chimney sweepings are an important part of keeping your fireplace burning as safely and efficiently as possible. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, homeowners should have their chimney swept at least once a year.

During a chimney sweeping, a certified chimney sweep will remove any soot, ash, creosote, or debris from the chimney using special brooms and other tools. Removing creosote is extremely important; creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of wood burning fires, but is also extremely flammable. Because of this, removing creosote can significantly reduce the risk of accidental chimney fire.

Your annual chimney sweeping is also a good time to have your chimney inspected. Chimney inspections are important because they often help chimney sweeps identify small areas of damage before it turns into a major problem. During a chimney inspection, all accessible areas of the interior and exterior of the fireplace and chimney will be checked for signs of damage or deterioration. If any damage is found, your chimney sweep can recommend the appropriate repairs.

Benefits of spring chimney service:

Mild weather: Many chimney repairs cannot be completed if the weather is too cold. Spring’s mild temperatures are ideally suited for many masonry repairs.

No impact on use: In the fall or winter, waiting for an appointment can impact using your fireplace when you really need it. By having your chimney serviced in the spring, it will be ready to go when the weather cools off in the fall.

Available appointments: Because spring is the off season for the chimney industry, it is easier to get an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

Shorter wait times: Along with more convenient appointment times, scheduling during the spring often means shorter wait times before services. This can be especially important if the chimney is damaged and needs immediate repairs.

Contact Maine Chimney Sweep at 618.235.6364 to schedule your spring appointment.

By mainechimne63644266, Jan 30 2020 06:28PM

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is odorless and invisible, CO is the number one cause of poisoning fatalities. Fireplaces and other fuel-burning appliances are the leading sources for exposure to carbon monoxide. With the proper awareness and preventative action, CO poisoning is entirely preventable.

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as wood, gas, charcoal, kerosene, and oil are burned.

A fire which burns efficiently and which has proper ventilation up through a sound chimney does not typically release dangerous quantities of carbon monoxide into a home. But, for instance, if a faulty fuel-burning appliance such as a natural gas burner operates in an enclosed space which lacks good ventilation, dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can be released and cause poisoning. High levels of CO can kill a person within minutes.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide:

If a fire is burning in a fireplace which has an obstructed chimney, exposure to CO is possible due to an accumulation of combustion gases. A broken chimney connector pipe or a rusted heat exchanger can produce the same hazardous result.

A reverse air flow in the chimney when a fire is burning in the fireplace can cause CO to enter the home. The reason the air goes back into the house instead of up the chimney is usually because the house is too tightly sealed and doesn’t allow the air to flow properly.

Using a charcoal-burning barbeque grill indoors can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

If you use a gas stove too long, perhaps to try and warm the room, it is very dangerous because it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

CO can enter the home if a car idles or a lawnmower or generator runs in the garage.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

Call emergency services if you suspect that you or someone in your home may be suffering from

exposure to carbon monoxide. Also, immediately go outside or where there is plenty of ventilation.

The following are common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

Fatigue

Headache

Nausea

Dizziness

Vomiting

Shortness of breath

Disorientation

Loss of consciousness

Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:

Install at least one smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home and near bedrooms. Make sure the alarms comply with local regulations regarding placement in the home and meet the latest Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety standards.

Always open dampers before using your fireplace.

Do not use generators indoors.

Space heaters should only be used in well-ventilated areas.

At least once annually, hire a professional chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney.

Protect your family from the Silent Killer by taking preventative measures. Contact us to set up a chimney inspection. 618.235.6364

By mainechimne63644266, Jan 16 2020 07:06PM

When the weather outside is cold, snowy, or icy, our fireplaces keep us warm and comfortable inside our homes. Unfortunately, winter weather can have a serious negative impact on our chimneys.

Snow and ice can be the roughest weather conditions for your chimney system. The combination of moisture and freezing temperatures can cause major chimney and masonry damage, often in as little as one season. Because of this, it is important to have any damage repaired as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse during winter weather.

How do snow and ice damage my chimney?

The primary way that snow and ice impact your chimney is through water damage. While water damage can occur at any time of year because of rain and hail, it is most common in winter because of the freeze thaw cycle.

The freeze thaw cycle damages masonry by creating progressively larger and larger cracks and holes. Bricks are naturally porous, meaning that they can absorb small amounts of water at any time. While strong, undamaged bricks may only take in a miniscule amount, masonry with cracks or holes – no matter how small – can absorb more than the usual amount. As this water freezes in cold temperatures it expands; this creates a larger area of damage that will allow even more water to be absorbed in the future. The freeze thaw process is so harmful that masonry can crack and spall in as little as one winter season.

How can I prevent damage from snow and ice?

The best way to protect your chimney against damage from snow and ice is through preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance keeps your fireplace and chimney in good condition all year round, making it less susceptible to damage from snow and ice during the winter.

One way to protect your masonry from water damage all year round is through waterproofing. Our waterproofing products block water from being absorbed by the brick while still allowing gasses to pass through. This keeps the chimney venting safely while also protecting the bricks and mortar against damage from moisture or the freeze thaw process.

Another way to keep your chimney in good condition all year round is by having a regular chimney inspection. A yearly chimney inspection can help spot areas of damage long before they turn into major problems.

Snow and ice can have a major impact on the safety and stability of your chimney system. To protect your chimney against future damage from winter weather, contact us at 618.235.6364 to schedule an appointment.

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