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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.

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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

What’s A Chimney Crown And Why Is It Important

When it comes to their chimney, many homeowners wrongly assume it is a singular structure. However, chimneys are actually complex structures with a number of different parts that all work together to keep your fireplace system functioning. One of the often forgotten chimney components is the chimney crown; even though you may not pay it much attention, the chimney crown has an important function.

What’s a chimney crown?What's a Chimney Crown and Why is it Important - Evergreen CO - Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimne

The chimney crown is the masonry or concrete slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney. The top of the flue extends through the top of the chimney crown, which is then covered by the chimney cap. Chimney crowns play an important part in protecting the chimney system against water damage by keeping moisture from ice, rain, sleet, or snow out of the chimney.

Well-constructed chimney crowns should be made of concrete as this is the most resistant to moisture. Likewise, chimney crowns should be slightly sloped or domed to prevent moisture from building up on top of it around the top of the flue. Lastly, chimney crowns often have a lip of two to two and a half inches; this edge, known as a kerf, prevents water from flowing from the chimney cap directly onto the sides of the chimney structure. Instead, it drains harmlessly onto the roof.

What causes chimney crowns to deteriorate?

Even if the rest of the chimney structure is sound, the chimney cap may be damaged or need to be repaired. This happens because chimney crowns often bear the brunt of the elements. Because they are flat or slightly sloped, snow and moisture are able to accumulate on the chimney crown; the masonry of the chimney itself is often saved from this kind of deterioration because of its straight vertical sides.

Another major issue that can occur with chimney crowns is deterioration due to the building material. Chimney crowns should never be mortar based or constructed using brick. Both of these building materials are too porous to be able to effectively keep water out of the chimney. Chimney crowns should be made of concrete – or in some cases metal – as it is best able to withstand moisture without being damaged.

 

Chimney crowns can also be damaged by exposure to changes in temperature. During the winter, for example, the flue itself may be extremely hot even when the masonry of the chimney is cold. This temperature difference can cause the chimney crown to expand and contract, losing the seal around the flue and potentially letting moisture into the chimney.

Why is a chimney crown important?

A well maintained chimney crown is an important part of keeping your entire chimney system in good condition. Without it, moisture can enter the chimney structure, putting everything from the flue to the firebox at risk for water damage. Chimney crowns are checked for signs of damage or deterioration during your annual chimney inspection; to schedule your chimney inspection, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on December 15th, 2015 | 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.

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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!

Fireplaces and Feng Shui

Fireplaces can make a beautiful addition or focal point to any room. Their comforting appearance, soft glow, and warm heat create a homey atmosphere that invites others to sit down, relax, and enjoy the ambiance.

What many homeowners may not know is that fireplaces can also serve another purpose. Fireplaces can influence the Feng Shui of a room, representing the five elements. Even if you’ve never studied Feng Shui before, you may be surprised at how it can influence and impact the design choices in your home.

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What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of balancing energy. Developed over 3000 years ago, good Feng Shui is said to bring good luck wheras bad Feng Shui can bring misfortune.

The practice of Feng Shui involves using the compass to balance the five elements: fire, wood, earth, metal, and water. Placing items representing these elements at different points on the compass – North, South, East, or West – can have different effects. The placement of these elements throughout your home can influence its Feng Shui and bring harmony into your home.

How do fireplaces influence Feng Shui?

A fireplace can represent multiple elements for practitioners of Feng Shui. They are primarily used, however, to represent the element of fire. The fire element is also associated with the colors red, yellow, orange, purple, and pink.

According to tradition, the best position for a fireplace is in the South. This placement will bring you luck, fame, and recognition. Other good positions are Southwest (increase in romance) and Northeast (success in education and a clear and calm mind). If your fireplace is not in one of these positions, don’t stress – you can balance the Feng Shui of a room by adding representations of other elements.

What causes bad Feng Shui?

Bad Feng Shui can be created when the elements are unbalanced. With regard to fireplaces, bad Feng Shui can be caused by a vacant hearth from a fireplace that is no longer used. The easiest way to improve the bad Feng Shui of a non-working fireplace is to have it fixed. If your fireplace is working but it not used frequently, considering using design elements such as faux logs or candles to fill the hearth.

Designing with Feng Shui

In traditional Feng Shui, fireplaces send energy out of a home. To combat this, place a mirror over the fireplace to bounce energy back in. If you have décor on your mantle, choose design elements that come in pairs, such as placing a vase on each end of the mantle. In Feng Shui, pairs like this represent love and nurturing.

Other themes and motifs to include in a room are circles (which have no beginning and no end and represent the flow of the universe), plants (which attract positive chi and represent prosperity), and aquariums (which are said to attract wealth and abundance).

If you want to add a fireplace to increase the Feng Shui of your home and live near Littleton, CO, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today! We sell and install a wide variety of fireplaces, stoves, and inserts. Our expert staff can help you select the appliance that is right for you style, budget, and the Feng Shui of your home.

By Jake Johnson on January 15th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

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!

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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!