Our Company Blog

Considering Upgrades For Your Chimney?

Is your chimney overdue for some upgrades and replacement parts? Now is the time to get these jobs done! Whether you are looking for a new top-sealing damper, a replacement chimney cap, new flashing, crown repair, a chase cover, or something else, we can help you out, and springtime is the ideal time of year to get in the books!

We are always excited to help homeowners make their fireplaces and chimneys look great and run strong before the cold weather comes back around. And we want everything personalized to your specific tastes! Learn more about the many benefits of scheduling this maintenance now, then give us a call today to make your appointment. We can’t wait to hear from you!

More Scheduling Freedom

Most people put their fireplaces to more frequent use when fall and winter roll around, meaning we stay really busy during these cold months. As people gear up for the holidays and family get-togethers, they want to ensure their appliances are all in the best condition possible and, of course, safe for regular use.

That’s where we come in! We get so many calls for last minutes repairs, inspections, and cleanings that finding time for everyone can be a challenge. That means setting appointments at times that aren’t always ideal for the customer. Yet, if you work with us now, when our schedule is more open, it gives you the freedom to book a time that works best for you.

Ideal Temperature Range

When we do chimney repairs and new installations, we use the best products available. Yet, these materials need the opportunity to properly cure in order to do their job effectively. If temperatures are too hot or too cold, this becomes impossible, and your new products will not likely stand the test of time.

That’s why we always push our customers to schedule this type of maintenance in the spring – so we can do the job as efficiently as possible.

Safer Working Conditions

Without our great staff, we wouldn’t be anywhere! That’s why we ask our loyal customers to help us maintain the safest working conditions possible. If we are doing intricate work on your roof and chimney, we would much prefer to do it in the springtime. This way, we can avoid slippery snow and ice, and our team is at less of a risk for injury.

We appreciate all that our customers do to make our business a success, and we want to serve you the best that we can. Schedule your chimney repairs and upgrades now!

Questions?

If you have questions or concerns about what we offer we encourage you to visit our website or simply give us a call. Our staff is ready and willing to help you out with whatever you may need, and we have a full list of services that we are CSIA trained and certified to perform. When it comes to your chimney and fireplace care, you can count on us!

By Jake Johnson on May 22nd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Start the New Year with a Certified Chimney Sweep

The start of the New Year isn’t just a great opportunity to make resolutions – it’s also the perfect time to have your chimney swept!

Throughout the year our chimneys can suffer from a buildup of soot, ash, and creosote. Having your chimney swept by a certified professional is the best way to keep your chimney system clean and working safely and efficiently all year long.

How often you need to have your chimney sweptCelebrate the new year

Along with regular fireplace care such as cleaning the firebox, chimneys should be swept at least once per year. Having your chimney swept at the start of the New Year means you won’t have to worry about it again until 2017 arrives!

Depending on how frequently you use your home’s heating appliance, you may need to have your chimney swept more often. According to National Fire Protection Association Code 211, chimneys need to be swept any time there is an accumulation of 1/8 of an inch of soot in the flue. This amount of accumulation is typical of burning one full cord of wood; if you go through more than that amount of firewood each year, your chimney should be swept more often.

The importance of having your chimney swept

Having your chimney regularly swept is one of the most important ways to keep your entire fireplace system running safely and efficiently. During a chimney sweeping, the highly flammable substance creosote is removed from the flue. Creosote, a naturally occurring byproduct of fuel burning fires, is the leading cause of accidental chimney fires. Removing creosote greatly reduces the risk of chimney fire, making your fireplace safer to use.

What to expect during a chimney sweeping

When hiring a certified chimney sweep, you can expect to work with a highly trained and knowledgeable professional. Your chimney sweep should take the time to explain what will be done to your home, as well as answer any potential questions you may have.

Before the sweeping begins, interior furnishing and floors surrounding the fireplace will be covered to ensure no soot or ash stains occur in your home. The chimney sweep will then begin to clean the chimney, removing soot, ash, creosote, or debris from the flue. While traditional chimney brushes are still widely used, many homeowners are surprised to see technology such as vacuums and cameras being used!

Why being certified matters

Just as you wouldn’t ask a dentist to set a broken arm, not every home repair professional is equipped to correctly clean your fireplace and chimney. Contractors and handymen often lack the tools and knowledge to sweep the chimney or identify any potential problems. Because of this, it is extremely important to only trust your chimney to a Chimney Safety Institute of America certified chimney sweep!

In order to earn their CSIA certification, chimney sweeps must undergo a rigorous education and testing process. This education gives them extensive knowledge of safety standards, building codes, and fireplace technology. Likewise, in order to maintain their certification they must retest every three year. This means that CSIA certified sweeps are up to date on the most recent advances in the industry.

Start 2016 off with a safe and clean chimney – contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today to schedule your appointment with a certified chimney sweep!

By Jake Johnson on January 16th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Zen and the Art of Chimney Sweeping

If you grew up watching Disney movies, thinking about chimney sweeps may conjure up images of Dick Van Dyke and crew singing “Chim Chim Cher-ee” in Mary Poppins. Unlike their fictional singing and dancing counterparts, modern chimney sweeps are known for their professionalism and high levels of expertise and training.

A brief history of chimney sweeps

Once your chimney is swept and inspected, you can breathe easy, knowing that you’ve been proactive about minimizing the possibility of fire hazards or toxic carbon monoxide leaks. If you’re ready to schedule your annual chimney sweeping appointment, call Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney at 303-679-1601!

Once your chimney is swept and inspected, you can breathe easy, knowing that you’ve been proactive about minimizing the possibility of fire hazards or toxic carbon monoxide leaks. If you’re ready to schedule your annual chimney sweeping appointment, call Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney at 303-679-1601!

While homeowners had been keeping their own chimneys clean for centuries, the chimney sweep profession did not develop until the Industrial Revolution. As the number or homes and businesses in cities steadily grew, master chimney sweeps would hire young boys as apprentices to climb inside the chimneys, scraping the inside of the flue with small, handheld brushes.

This practice fell out of favor around the turn of the century due to several pieces of legislation passed in order to protect the working conditions of chimney sweeps. In addition, new technology and building standards allowed sweeps to more efficiently clean chimneys and flues, eliminating the need to have young boys climb inside the chimney structure.

Since then, the profession has continued to evolve. Modern chimney sweeps are subjected to the oversight of several regulatory groups and must maintain their qualifications in order to be certified. In addition, chimney sweeps are qualified to do much more than just clean chimneys; most are also able to assess the condition of a chimney structure and make some repairs as needed.

How does someone become a chimney sweep?

Many chimney sweeps get their start by finding an older, certified sweep to serve as their mentor. In addition, new chimney sweeps have the ability to attend various industry seminars, classes, and training events to improve their skill sets and knowledge levels.

Professional chimney sweeps traditionally are certified by several different organizations. In the United States, certifications for chimney sweeps are issued by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the Certified Chimney Professionals. In addition, the National Chimney Sweep Guild works to improve the professionalism and perception of the trade by ensuring that high standards of expertise are maintained. In order to become professionally certified by these organizations, chimney sweeps must show a certain level of proficiency in their ability to identify and fix potentially hazardous problems, as well as their knowledge about issues affecting modern masonry chimneys.

What does a modern chimney sweep do?

Modern chimney sweeps are certified technicians who are well equipped to deal with most chimney or fireplace concerns. For most chimney sweeps, the majority of their work involves preventative maintenance and cleaning of chimneys, flues, and fireplaces. While tools such as the traditional chimney brush are still used, chimney sweeps now employ a vast array of more modern tools such as vacuums, cameras, and other electronic equipment.

Certified chimney sweeps have also been trained on how to repair most of the common fireplace hazards, including the removal of creosote, animals or nests, and the repair of dampers or smoke chambers. In addition, some chimney sweeps may be able to complete more extensive or complex repairs including repairing flues, chimney crowns, chimney caps, or masonry structures.

By Jake Johnson on August 29th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Carbon Monoxide Crash Course

What exactly is carbon monoxide?

As defined by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide—also known as (CO)—is a deadly, colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas; these qualities have earned it the nickname “The Silent Killer.” It is mainly emitted by the partial burning of a number of fuel resources; these include propane, wood, coal, oil, kerosene, and natural gases. Most products out in the market and equipment we use on a day to day basis also produce CO.

Why should homeowners know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Your chimney and heating appliance are designed to be long-lasting and safe when properly maintained. For the safety of your home and family, make regular chimney system maintenance a priority!

Your chimney and heating appliance are designed to be long-lasting and safe when properly maintained. For the safety of your home and family, make regular chimney system maintenance a priority!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), learning the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure is also crucial to keeping you and your loved ones safe. At moderate CO levels, you and your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy or disoriented, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. It’s possible to die if these levels persist for an extended period of time. Low levels of CO can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea and headaches, and may have longer-term effects on overall health.

Because many of these symptoms are similar to those of more common ailments like the flu and food poisoning, many don’t even think of CO poisoning. This is the first mistake. If these symptoms only appear when you’re in the house and then get better when you leave home, CO poisoning could very likely be the culprit. Getting fresh air as soon as any of these symptoms surface is key.

What are some preventive measures one may take to remove carbon monoxide from the equation?

  1. Proper skills, knowledge, and tools are required when operating fuel-burning equipment. Check the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning machinery.
  2. Portable fuel-burning camping equipment should never be used indoors or in an enclosed space unless it is specifically designed for such use.
  3. Recognize the need to have yearly inspection and maintenance of your heating systems to prevent the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Having this kind of knowledge relating to what carbon monoxide really is and what it can do to you and your entire family is key; it’s best to be proactive and take action now rather than sit back and wait until something happens to react. If preventive measures are to be taken (the first of which should be to secure the annual maintenance of your chimney or fireplace), then so be it.

Most of the time, a home’s heating system is often overlooked due to the lack of information on its importance to homeowners. Whether it be mild or severe CO poisoning, it pays to be vigilant. Keep two things in mind:

  1. There are no dumb questions.
  2. Failure to ask a question you think is dumb could cost you your life.

There’s no time to waste! Contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, Inc now. We’ll be glad to answer any and all questions you may have. Pick up that phone and schedule an appointment today!

Chimney Safety Saves You Money!

The primary reason that Mountain-area homeowners have their chimneys swept each year is safety – none of us want to put our homes at increased risk as the result of a hostile chimney fire.  Of course, it’s also important to remember that it saves you money to keep your hearth appliances well maintained and operating at maximum performance and efficiency!

If you don't have a chimney cap installed, it is imperative that you act now to divert water from your chimney. Over the long-run, water rots your chimney from the inside; costing considerably more money.

If you don’t have a chimney cap installed, it is imperative that you act now to divert water from your chimney. Over the long-run, water rots your chimney from the inside; costing considerably more money.

Here are some fundamental ways to stay safe and save money at home this Spring:

1.  If you don’t have a chimney cap, get one.  Without a cap, rain and snow enter at the top of the chimney – not too much differently than having a hole in the top of your house.  Moisture in the flue not only damages the interior liner (either eroding the mortar joints or causing rust on the steel components) but it washes some of the combustible soot and creosote down the side of the flue.  Now that it’s warming up again, critters like a quiet place to have a litter away from predators.  All of these conditions are going to cost you some serious money to get fixed, but simply having a properly sized cap will prevent this from happening.

2.  If you have a chimney cap, make sure it’s not getting plugged.  Modern chimney caps have a wire screen to act as a spark-arrestor.  This is a valuable part of the chimney system, but also the first place that gets plugged with creosote.  Check for these two signs; if you’re having difficulty getting a fire started when it used to be easy, it’s likely that your chimney cap is partially plugged.  If the cap is blocking the airflow at the top of the chimney, the draft in the flue will be reduced.  Restricted airflow means lower flue temperatures and increased creosote buildup – and it means poorer efficiency.  A poorly operating hearth appliance means extra money spent on fuel and extra emissions entering the atmosphere.

3.  Don’t forget your dryer vent.  Much like their hearth appliance brethren, dryer vents rely on an unplugged venting system for good airflow.  A common symptom of a dryer vent that needs to be serviced is clothes that take extra cycles to get completely dry – and that means spending extra money for each load of clothes.  Obviously it’s costing you extra money if you have to run your dryer longer to dry the same clothes.  A simple mistake many of our customers make is to assume that their dryer vent will get serviced when they have a new dryer installed.  In fact, it’s rare for an appliance installation crew to remove the lint and debris from anywhere other than inside the room containing the dryer.

4.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas created by the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons – including cord wood, natural gas, pellet fuel and propane.  Medical research has shown that long term exposure to levels of CO once thought to be ‘safe’ can cause serious health problems including memory loss and lung damage.  The best way to prevent CO production is to have all heating units regularly serviced as part of an annual system of inspection and evaluation.  The best way to detect CO after its production is with a CO Detector.

To receive a Free Copy of the CSIA Bulletin: The Facts About Chimney Fires: Causes and Cures and/or a chimney cap brochure, or for more information about heating with wood, gas or pellet products or for service on all makes and models, call us today at Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney – (303) 679-1601. Semper Fi!

Why is My Chimney Leaking?

There are few things more aggravating to a homeowner than having water leaking into their home. Finding the exact source of a leak around a chimney can be particularly frustrating.  The inherent complexity of having a masonry structure pass through a framed roof can turn the proper diagnosis of a leaking chimney into a time-consuming headache.

Annual chimney maintenance is helpful because it alerts you to problems early, before they become catastrophic.

Annual chimney maintenance is helpful because it alerts you to problems early, before they become catastrophic.

To understand the fundamentals of why a masonry chimney will or won’t leak, let’s start at the top of the flue and work down to the roofline.  First, if you don’t have a chimney cap, get one.  An uncovered chimney allows whatever rain and snow are falling to enter right into the fireplace flue.  Over time, that water erodes the mortar joints between the flue tiles and it also damages the chimney as the water is heated into steam during operation of the fireplace.

The chimney crown is the ‘lid’ over your chimney.  It’s useful to think of a chimney as a hollow box built out of cinder blocks or bricks.  To keep water from entering the chimney from above, a crown is poured.  The crown should be concrete that is 4” – 5” thick and contoured to drain moisture.  Lots of chimney crowns in our area were just built with mortar instead of concrete or they lack an expansion joint to allow the top flue tile to expand when the fireplace is in use.  The result is cracks and erosion that allow water to penetrate and cause increasingly larger cracks as the freeze-thaw cycle occurs.

The sides of a masonry chimney are often the least understood culprit when making a leaky chimney diagnosis.  Like all masonry materials, mortar joints will allow water penetration when saturated.  When the mortar joints are cracked or damaged, water easily flows through them and into the space between the cinder block structure and the stone veneer.  It flows downward until it reaches the framing of the roof and into your home.  Even in our dry climate, when a chimney is exposed to excessive rain and snow, it will absorb moisture through the rocks or bricks on the sides. The solution is to locate the weakened joints and cracked rocks and seal or replace them as necessary.

Where the chimney meets the roofline can be the most complicated region of a leaking chimney to diagnose.  Every roof-chimney interface should have an overlapping system that includes both flashing and counter-flashing.  The flashing starts under the roofing materials and runs up alongside the chimney.  The counter-flashing starts out with a ‘cut’ into the side of the chimney and then overlaps the flashing to create a barrier to water intrusion.  Unfortunately, a huge percentage of homes in our community have chimneys that are flashed improperly.  We often see chimneys where the counter-flashing is just placed along the chimney and ‘sealed’ with some type of goop.  WRONG!  Chimneys like these need significant repairs to keep the water out of your home.

To correctly diagnose and fix a leaking chimney, we evaluate the entire chimney as a system: top (cap and crown), middle (stonework or bricks) and bottom (flashing and counter-flashing).  If any of the three sections is leaking, then the chimney has a potential for water to enter the home.  Next month we’ll explain how to find the leaks on a framed chase with a factory-built chimney.

To schedule a fireplace/chimney sweeping and/or inspection – call us today at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, Inc – (303) 679.1601 / 838.3882 or electronically at office@MtnManChimney.com.  Semper Fi!

 

 

 

 

 

All About Chimney Liners

The flue and flue liner of your chimney system is one of the most critical components.  According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the byproducts of combustion to the outside of your home.

Every chimney needs a working liner to usher the deadly byproducts of the combustion process out of your home.

Every chimney needs a working liner to usher the deadly byproducts of the combustion process out of your home.

By Jake Johnson on April 25th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Common Chimney Repairs

Getting Started

The one thing you hear the most in the chimney world is to make sure you keep up with your annual maintenance.  This maintenance consists of an inspection and sweep every year.  When researching for a technician, make sure that they are credible.  You can find out a lot about the people working in your neighborhood through word of mouth of family and friends, or also checking internet websites where customers can leave reviews after the service has been completed.

Over time, water will wear down the defenses of your chimney. Common waterproofing repairs include restoring flashing and replacing chimney caps.

Over time, water will wear down the defenses of your chimney. Common waterproofing repairs include restoring flashing and replacing chimney caps.

Anyone you have perform a chimney sweep should be certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, (CSIA) a non-profit organization that serves as a great place of information for homeowners.  Having this maintenance done can prevent you from having many other problems arise in the long run, so make sure it is done on time and not just when you think it’s needed.  To schedule your appointment call the professionals at Mountain Man Chimney Fireplace & Chimney.

Biggest Threats

There are many things in a chimney that can malfunction, and can potentially cause big problems even though they seem small in the beginning.  First, water can enter your home and cause mold to form.  This is extremely common in areas that have high precipitation levels.  Water can enter when the flashing on a chimney becomes loose, cracked, or missing.  Sometimes caulk can be used to fix the gaps, but sometimes it will need replacing.

Bricks can become cracked which can also be a place for water to collect.  When this happens, call an experienced sweep that can come repair the unit properly.  They will be able to judge the size of the crack and what needs to be used to fix it.  The chimney crown serves as a roof to the unit, so that must also be repaired if cracked.  Lastly, installing a chimney cap will not only help keep water out, but animals as well.

After a chimney has been repaired, toss a little water on it to make sure that it was done properly and no water is still allowed to enter.  If the surface turns a dark color and absorbs into the chimney, you may still be in danger of water damage.

Taking Care of Business

To take care of this, you should have your chimney waterproofed.  There are special chemicals that form a sealant when applied that will repel the water as it hits the structure.  It is important to have a breathable substance so that vapors are not trapped inside of the chimney.  You always want to make sure that the chimney is cleaned before applying the repellent.

What is the Risk?

When these repairs go unattended they can become much worse.  If a crack becomes larger more water can collect inside of it.  This will lead to more mold, which can spread into the foundation of your home and also the air you and your family breathe.  Also, if you do not have your sweep in a timely fashion you can become susceptible to chimney fires and draft problems that could eventually lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or become a threat to the structural integrity of your home.

We recommend an annual chimney cleaning and inspection, so that we can identify and eliminate problems early on. Waiting is more dangerous and much more expensive. Call today!