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Signs Of A Chimney Fire

When it comes to chimney fires, you may assume you would know if you had one. Fires tend to be loud, hot, and bright, so, should one occur, it would be obvious, right? Not necessarily!

Signs Of A Chimney Fire Image - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & ChimneyMany fireplace owners discover a chimney fire has happened well after the fact, with no knowledge of it ever occurring. Chimney fires are terrible for the health of your chimney and can lead to extensive damage down the line. They greatly weaken the structure of your entire fireplace and call for immediate action, as far as repairs. A certified sweep can let you know the best steps to take for moving forward and getting your fireplace back to where it needs to be.

If you are worried that you have had a chimney fire, but aren’t sure what signs to look for, check out these clues that may indicate a fire has occurred.

Deformed/Excess Creosote

Generally speaking, creosote is not good for the health of your chimney and, the more of it there is, the higher your risk is for a chimney fire. This substance is highly flammable, which is why having a professional clean it out on a regular basis is so important.

Inspecting the creosote in your chimney can help you decipher whether or not a chimney fire has occurred. If the creosote is puffy-looking or if you notice flakes and other pieces of it scattered throughout your roof or around your hearth, then you should call in an expert right away to take a closer look.

Heat Damage

Too high temperatures in your fireplace can lead to lasting damage down the line. Check your TV antenna, the metal pieces of your chimney, and your roofing materials for potential heat damage. If anything is warped, distorted, or discolored, then you have likely had a chimney fire.

Cracks And Holes

If a chimney fire has occurred, you may notice cracks, holes, or missing pieces throughout your chimney. The brickwork, tiles, mortar, and more will show obvious signs of deterioration that will only worsen if not properly addressed. These cracks will also allow smoke to escape through various parts of the bricks and liner, causing countless ventilation issues.

By getting these problems addressed fast, you save yourself time, money, and loads of stress. Call in an expert as soon as possible, so your fireplace is ready for use all year long.

Give Us A Call!

All in all, having a professional come in and check things over is the best way to ensure your chimney is safe, clean, and strong. If you want to maintain good chimney health for years to come, schedule an inspection today! The staff at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney is ready to set you up right so that you can enjoy your fireplace to the fullest anytime you’d like.

Call on our CSIA certified experts now!

By Jake Johnson on February 23rd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Practice Fireplace Safety This Winter

Brr! Temperatures have dropped and snow is all around, meaning the winter season has officially arrived. If you spend your days out and about in the cold weather, then you deserve a warm, cozy spot to come home to. Does relaxing in front of a fireplace sound like the best way to spend your evening? We think so, too! Yet, it’s important to make sure your appliance is safe for regular use, before lighting anything up.

Practice Fireplace Safety - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & ChimneyTake note of these fireplace safety tips and be sure to educate your family, as well. Staying up-to-date on proper procedures and regulations will help ensure your home is kept as safe as possible this winter.

Schedule An Inspection

First and foremost, have your chimney inspected and swept before doing anything else. Having a certified expert take a look will ensure that no cracks, holes, or other deterioration will make your chimney unsuitable for regular use. Any defect, small or large, could trigger big problems down the line. It is recommended to schedule an inspection once a year. If you use your fireplace often, then consider upping that to two or three.

Check Your Smoke Detectors

Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home? If not, be sure to purchase them and have them installed as soon as possible! These devices have made the difference for countless families and play a vital role in alerting everyone of potential dangers. Should a fire occur, getting everyone out safely is the most important thing – install your detectors today.

Once installed, check these devices at least once a month, and change the batteries twice a year. The regular lifespan of a smoke detector is 10 years, so double check the expiration date on yours if it has been awhile.

Maintaining Safe Fires

Once your home is ready, you can start lighting up your fires. Yet, there are things to keep in mind throughout this process, as well. Keep the area around the fire clear of anything flammable, such as blankets, pillows, holiday décor, clothing, and more. You will also want to keep any children or small pets away from the flame. Set rules right away, so the little ones know the fire is completely off limits.

When you go to light your fire, only use seasoned wood to keep it fueled. Throwing paper plates, leftover food, wrapping paper, and other garbage into the fireplace will send harmful toxins into your air. Once you have a fire lit, never leave it unattended. Monitor the flame at all times and do not go to bed unless everything is completely out.

Call On Us!

For any fireplace-related question or service, depend on the professionals at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney! We can help you out today.

By Jake Johnson on January 5th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How To Spot Chimney Leaks

Recognizing Chimney Leaks - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & ChimneyFire and water simply aren’t meant to mix – and that includes in your fireplace system. Water can be extremely damaging to both interior and exterior fireplace and chimney components. Because of this, it is important to be able to spot chimney leaks as soon as they happen.

What causes chimney leaks?

Chimneys are complex structures; because of this, there a number of areas where water can find its way in. While a chimney inspection is often needed to uncover the source of a chimney leak, the following are four common causes of chimney leaks.

  • Chimney cap: The chimney cap sits on top of the chimney structure and protects the top of the flue from water, debris, and animals. With a metal top and mesh sides, a damaged chimney cap can let water flow directly into the flue.
  • Chimney crown: The chimney crown is the masonry slab that seals off the top of the chimney structure around the flue; the chimney cap sits on top of the chimney crown. Because it is flat, the chimney crown often bares the brunt of the exposure to the elements. If the crown is not slightly sloped, water can pool on top and cause cracks, damage, and leaks.
  • Flashing: Flashing protects the joint between the chimney and the roof. Made of layers of metal, flashing creates a watertight seal that keeps moisture out; if damaged, however, a leak caused by faulty flashing can damage both the chimney and the roof. Repairs to the roof-line, damage to surrounding shingles, or even being installed with too many nail holes can all cause flashing to lose its watertight seal. Many flashing leaks are mistakenly thought to be caused by a leaky roof.
  • Masonry: While bricks and mortar are semi-porous – means they absorb small amounts of water – too much water absorption can cause cracks to form in the masonry. Even water damage to a single brick can quickly spread; the more damaged the masonry becomes, the more water it absorbs and the greater the chance of damage to the chimney becomes. Masonry with too much water damage can become structurally unsound.

Preventing chimney leaks

The best and most effective way to prevent a leaky chimney is through regular preventative maintenance. Yearly chimney sweepings and chimney inspections help make sure there are no damaged areas where water can get in; likewise, regular maintenance can help extend the life of your chimney and keep it burning safer longer.

Chimneys can also be protected against water entry by applying waterproofing products. Products designed specifically for masonry chimneys allow the bricks and mortar to retain their semi-porous properties; gas and water can evaporate out of the brick, but new water is not able to be absorbed. Waterproofing can also be helpful in slowing down deterioration in cases where the masonry has already been damaged by water.

Don’t let water entry cause damage to your fireplace or chimney; if you suspect you have a chimney leak it is important to call a chimney professional as soon as possible. Contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today to schedule a chimney inspection to uncover the cause of your leaky chimney – and prevent the leak from coming back.

By Jake Johnson on September 28th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Prepare Your Fireplace For Use!

In Use Fireplace - Littleton CO - Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Labor Day has passed, football season has started, school is back in session… fall will be here before we know it! After a long spring and summer of disuse, make sure your fireplace system is ready to use again this winter by having it serviced now!

Get your fireplace ready for winter

Once the beautiful weather and warm temperatures of spring and summer arrive, few homeowners continue to use their fireplaces; because of this, most units have not been used in six months or more. To make sure it is safe, clean, and ready to use for winter homeowners should have their chimney and fireplace swept and inspected.

Having your chimney swept and inspected now is the best way to make sure your fireplace is prepared for use this winter. By having maintenance done at the beginning of the burning season, you can ensure your fireplace is clean, free from blockages, and ready to use in the coming months.

Chimney sweepings

A chimney sweeping by a Chimney Safety Institute of America certified chimney sweep is the best way to keep your fireplace and chimney clean. The CSIA recommends that all homes have their chimney swept at least once per year. No matter what kind of heating appliance you have, its chimney or vent still needs to be swept; wood burning fireplaces, gas units, stoves, inserts, and manufactured fireplaces all need to have their chimneys swept.

During a chimney sweeping, the chimney technician will use brushes, vacuums, and other tools in order to remove any buildup or debris in the flue. While soot and ash are often easy to remove, flammable creosote can be difficult, especially if it has been several years since the chimney has been swept. A naturally occurring byproduct of fuel burning fires, excessive creosote accumulation can lead to chimney fires if it is accidentally ignited. Because creosote can damage the flue liner in addition to causing chimney fires, it is important to remove it annually.

Chimney inspections

Chimney inspections are another way to ensure your fireplace is safe to use. During an inspection, a certified sweep will check the accessible portions of the interior and exterior fireplace and chimney for signs of damage or deterioration. Often the problems spotted during regular inspections are still so small no performance problems have even started; dampers that have lost their air tight seal, small cracks in the masonry, or damage to the chimney cap are all examples of small problems that only a thorough chimney inspection can spot.

If any problem areas are identified during the chimney inspection, repairs can be recommended and completed as soon as possible. This gets your fireplace back to functioning sooner – and can save you on repairs and upkeep costs in the long run. Finding damage when it is still relatively minor can help prevent major deterioration – and costly repairs.

Regular maintenance can extend the life of your fireplace system, helping it burn safely and efficiently for years to come. This year, make sure your fireplace system is ready to use by having it serviced before winter arrives. To schedule your chimney sweeping or inspection, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today.

By Jake Johnson on September 10th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Advantages of Keeping your Chimney Cap Clean and Free of Debris

The chimney cap is one of the most important parts of your chimney. In addition to keeping hot coals and embers from flying out onto your roof, it also prevents animals, debris, and moisture from getting into your chimney.

To keep working well, chimneys and chimney caps should be regularly inspected and maintained. A chimney cap that is clean and free of debris will work more efficiently and minimize potential hazards.

chimney-cap-maintenance-image-evergreen-co-mountain-man-chimney

What is a chimney cap?

A chimney cap is a metal covering designed to protect and cover the top of the flue. Made of clay or metals such as stainless steel or copper, chimney caps also have mesh or wire sides that prevent animals or debris from getting into the chimney structure.

Chimney caps are important in that they protect your chimney. Water entry can cause serious damage to nearly every part of your chimney and fireplace, and debris can clog the chimney and become a fire hazard.

How do chimney caps become clogged?

The same wire or mesh that prevents animals or debris from getting into your chimney is also the reason your chimney cap may be clogged. If the spacing in the mesh is too large, small birds or mammals may be able to squeeze through and into the chimney. If the spacing is too small, it may become clogged from the inside with creosote, soot, or ash.

Likewise, over time leaves and debris may blow onto the outside of the chimney cap and get stuck, restricting airflow. During winter storms, the mesh may also be blocked by accumulating ice or snow.

Advantages of keeping your chimney cap clean

Because chimney caps play such an important role in protecting your fireplace and chimney, it is important that they receive regular upkeep and maintenance. A chimney cap that is clean and free of debris allows open airflow into the chimney. This allows fires enough oxygen to start quickly and burn fully. Likewise, a clean chimney cap reduces potential fire hazards as there is no creosote to be accidentally ignited by stray sparks or embers.

Chimney caps that are clean and free from blockages also prevent smoke or gasses such as carbon monoxide from backing up into your home.

How can I tell if my chimney cap is clogged?

Identifying a clogged chimney cap may be difficult because of their location. However, there are a number of signs that you may be experiencing a clogged chimney cap. Because a clogged chimney cap restricts airflow into the chimney, homes where the cap is partially or fully blocked may have issues starting or maintaining a fire in the fireplace.
Homeowners may be able to identify a clogged chimney cap without getting on the roof. Excessive creosote buildup on a chimney cap may cause discoloration to the surrounding bricks and mortar. Likewise, if the chimney cap is visible from the ground, you should be able to see light through the screen. If it is opaque or if there is visible debris on the exterior of the chimney cap, it is most likely clogged.

If you think your chimney cap is clogged or simply need to have an annual chimney sweep or inspection performed, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today!

Have Your Chimney Cleaned In Time for Santa

As the holiday season approaches, the fireplace often becomes the focal point of many family celebrations. Fireplaces have even made their way into several of our most popular Christmas songs and stories as we roast chestnuts over an open fire and hang our stockings by the chimney with care.

Often the most important role fireplaces play during the holidays is to aide in Santa’s arrival. To help the big man in red slide down your chimney without getting covered in ash and soot, have your chimney cleaned in time for Santa’s arrival!

clean-your-chimney-for-santa-evergreen-co-mountain-man-chimney

How often should chimneys be cleaned?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Additionally, the Chimney Safety Institute of America also recommends that all fireplaces, flues, and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year.

Even for fireplaces and chimneys that are only infrequently or seasonally used, an annual cleaning is an integral part of making sure your fireplace system is still able to safely operate. Likewise, most homeowners lack the training, expertise, and tools to be able to correctly clean their chimney systems themselves. Even contractors, roofers, and other handymen may not have the appropriate knowledge to ensure your chimney is properly swept. Instead, homeowners should only trust their chimneys to certified chimney sweeps who can completely remove creosote, soot, ash, and other debris. This allows your fireplace to be able to burn more efficiently and with a greatly decreased risk of chimney fire.

The importance of chimney inspections

Even homeowners who regularly have their fireplaces and chimneys swept should consider having a chimney inspection. A chimney inspection will be able to identify any emerging issues or pinpoint the cause of ongoing problems such as leaks or drafts.

Most homes with well maintained chimneys and fireplaces receive a Level I inspection. During this level of inspection, technicians will inspect the accessible areas of the interior and exterior of the chimney structure. This includes the firebox, masonry of the chimney structure, and fireplace hardware such as the damper and flue. If any additional problems or areas or damage are discovered, a more intensive Level II or Level III inspection may be recommended.

Why is preventative maintenance important?

Homeowners often wait until they are experiencing problems to have their fireplaces or chimneys cleaned or inspected. By this point, however, there may already be extensive damage that will cost considerable time and money to repair.

Instead of waiting until there is a problem, homeowners should have annual preventative maintenance completed. Doing this lengthens the life of both the chimney and fireplace, allowing them to be safely enjoyed for years to come. While an annual cleaning or inspection may seem like an unnecessary expense or a service that homeowners can do themselves, investing in annual preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run by identifying issues before they become major problems.

At Mountain Man Chimney, our CSIA certified chimney sweeps will be able to clean and inspect your chimney in order to keep them in their best possible working condition. If you have not yet had your chimney swept this year, and live around Littleton, contact us today to get your fireplace and chimney in pristine condition before Santa’s big arrival!

Schedule a Chimney Sweep Before the Holidays Arrive

A roaring fire is a part of the holiday traditions for many families. But in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, fireplace maintenance can often be put off or forgotten entirely.Homeowners should schedule an annual chimney sweep and inspection now to ensure that their fireplaces are in excellent condition and will not have any issues arise during the holidays.

Chimney Cleaning Before the Holidays - Evergreen CO

How often should my chimney be swept?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, chimneys should be swept any time there is an excessive soot buildup or at minimum once per year. The CSIA also recommended that chimney structures should “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.” Having an annual chimney sweep prevents any excessive buildup of soot, ash, and creosote. It also ensures that your chimney and fireplace have not deteriorated or been damaged enough to warrant repairs.

What is done during a chimney sweep?

The primary purpose of an annual chimney sweep is to remove any buildup of creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable, foul smelling, and gummy byproduct of wood burning fires. It coats the inside of the chimney structure and is one of the leading causes of chimney fire. In addition to removing any creosote deposits, a certified chimney sweep will also remove any ash, soot, blockages, and debris in the chimney structure.

A chimney inspection is also performed during an annual chimney sweeping. If your chimney and fireplaces work well and have not been damaged since their last inspection, a Level I inspection will be performed. During a Level I inspection, a certified technician will inspect all accessible components of the chimney both inside and outside the home. This includes checking the firebox, chimney structure, joints, and connections for any signs of damage or deterioration.

If there have been problems with or damage to the chimney or fireplace, a more in depth Level II or Level III inspection may be performed. Likewise, if any signs of damage are discovered, the technician can recommend any necessary repairs or a more comprehensive level of inspection.

Why is an annual chimney sweep important?

Chimneys should always be swept and inspected before their heaviest use period, which often coincides with the holiday season. “A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”

While an annual chimney sweep may seem like an unnecessary waste of both time and money for fireplace that work well, preventative maintenance can identify small issues such as cracks or damage to the bricks or mortar. This damage may start out small, but it will continue to worsen over time. This can result in serious structural damage and costly chimney repairs.

Instead, having problems fixed when they are still relatively minor can save a significant amount of money in the long run as well as protect the overall health of your chimney system. Regularly swept and inspected chimneys often have longer lifespans than those that are not regularly maintained.

Getting your chimney inspected before its heavy use period begins ensures that your family can safely enjoy warm fires throughout the holiday season. If you would like to schedule an annual chimney sweep and inspection before the holidays arrive, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on November 14th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What’s Blocking Your Chimney?

It's important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it's already there.

It’s important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it’s already there.

While everyone loves a fire in his or her fireplace, no one wants a fire in his or her chimney. Unfortunately, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimney fires are more common than you may think, and sometimes you do not even know they have occurred. A dirty chimney is the most likely cause of all chimney fires, and usually the same blockages are the culprits in these accidents. The good news is chimney fires are completely preventable with proper maintenance care like regular chimney sweeps from professionals like Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated. Also, knowing what the common chimney blockages are can prepare you to keep these things out of your chimney in the first place.

ANIMALS

Stray animals looking for a dry, warm place to call home may come across your chimney to set up house in the winter. Ranging from nesting birds to raccoons to squirrels, these animals not only cause blockage problems that can lead to dangerous fires, but they can become stuck and create nasty, putrid smells that can invade your home. For your own personal safety, we strongly recommend you call a professional animal removal service to get any animals and nests out of your chimney.

DEBRIS

All year long, leaves, trash, tree foliage, and settlement works its way down into your chimney and accumulates. This may not sound like too big of a deal; however, all of this debris adds up and can cause blockages giving a risk for incomplete combustion and negative air pressure to happen, driving smoke into your house. Settlement buildup can also cause cracks in your flue, which lets dangerous carbon monoxide escape into your home.

CREOSOTE

The most dangerous of the chimney blockages, creosote is the by-product of burning wood, and it comes from the residue of smoke, gases, water vapor, hydrocarbon, unburned wood particles, and other assorted minerals as they exit the fireplace and pass through the chimney. Sticking to the inner walls of the chimney, creosote is brown or black in appearance and can be flaky, crusty, tar-like, sticky, drippy, shiny, or hardened — even all of the above. Extremely flammable and highly combustible, creosote can quickly build up, and if the internal flue temperature is high enough, you have a chimney fire waiting to happen that could possibly burn down your entire house. What’s worse is certain conditions make creosote buildup happen more quickly. Factors that accelerate creosote buildup include restricted air supply from closing the glass doors or not opening the damper wide enough and burning unseasoned wood because the smoke is so much cooler due to the energy being used to burn off the water trapped in the cells of the logs. You can also get a heavier amount of creosote buildup if you overload the firebox in a wood stove in an attempt to get a longer burn.

To ensure your chimney is blockage-free and prevent a chimney fire, schedule an appointment for a chimney sweeping with Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated today. A clean chimney is the best prevention against a chimney fire!