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National Chimney Safety Week

The first National Chimney Safety Week was in October of 1978, and it was the first recorded celebration of chimney sweeps in the US. Although we at Hudson Chimney are celebrating National Chimney Safety Week this year, it isn’t about us. As certified chimney sweeps, our number one priority is safety for our customers.

Chimney Fires

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there was an average of 22,300 chimney fires annually between 2011 and 2013. Even though this number shows a decrease over previous years, we think this number is too high! With every fire comes a loss of life, health, and property.

National Chimney Safety Week is designed to educate homeowners, communities, and professionals about chimney safety and fire prevention. It occurs October 1-October 7, but the mission is year-round. Hudson Chimney, as a CSIA member, makes it a priority to educate the community about chimney safety year-round and offer services to further this mission.

Safe Chimneys

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient chimney system. A routine chimney sweep will keep your entire system cleaned of debris, soot, and creosote, that can slow airflow and raise fire risk. Creosote is a highly flammable material that will coat the flue if it isn’t cleaned away.

An annual chimney inspection is essential for ongoing chimney safety. The inspection identifies issues that homeowners won’t recognize until it is too late. A technician will identify hazards, weaknesses, and faulty components in all parts of your chimney system. Learn which level of inspection you should schedule here.

Safe Fires

If your chimney is safe and clean, then you are ready for your first fire of the season. It can be an exciting time of year, but it’s important to remember fire safety this fall and through the holidays, until winter is over. When you practice fire safety, and teach your family to do so, you will all be safer from chimney fires.

  • Burn only properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace, insert, or stove. Burning any other items can result in a drop in efficiency, or even a flue fire from a fast-rising material that is aflame.
  • NEVER light a fire using any kind of fuel other than wood and kindling. Using gasoline, kerosene, or oil is not safe in any fireplace or appliance.
  • Use the damper or glass doors to help control the heat and flame. Never close the damper while a fire is burning, otherwise carbon monoxide and smoke is forced into the house
  • Install a screen or custom glass doors to prevent small children from falling into a burning fire.
  • Do not hang decorations on or near the hearth. Keep Christmas trees and other large decorations far enough away that they cannot land in the fireplace if they fall.
  • Practice fire safety habits and teach your children and guests to follow house rules regarding the fire.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, checking batteries monthly.

House fires aren’t always preventable, but chimney fires are! Ask Hudson Chimney about preventative services to help you feel safe this winter.

Dryer Duct Installation

While planning for home safety and disaster preparedness, families often overlook the clothes dryer. While locating exits and the suspected location of a possible fire, the clothes dryer is also a risk. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration there are 2,900 reported clothes dryer house fires per year. These account for five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. These fires and this damage can be prevented by maintaining the dryer vent properly. The best way to have a safe and efficient dryer? Have the dryer vent installed correctly and to have it cleaned regularly!

Dryer Duct Installation Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyDangers of a Dryer Vent

If the dryer vent isn’t installed correctly it can welcome lint buildups, create obstructions, allow gases to escape the vent, and lead to dangerous fires. In addition, most cities have municipal codes that specify how the dryer vent should be installed.

  1. According to most manufacturer’s specifications and local codes, dryer ducts should be 4” in diameter, or less, and as large as the dryer outlet.
  2. Unless otherwise specified by your dryer’s manufacturer or local code, the length of the dryer duct shouldn’t exceed 25 feet. Every 90º turn adds 5 feet for the actual length.
  3. The dryer vent should be independent of all other systems. They should terminate outdoors only, not in a chimney, crawl space, or attic.
  4. Your outdoor exhaust vent’s termination hood should prevent back draft to ensure the exhaust doesn’t come back into the home.
  5. Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and exhaust duct.
  6. Flexible transition ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.
  7. The CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician credential is the only nationally-recognized credential of its kind.

Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians

So, why opt for a professional installation? You have a better chance of your dryer exhaust vent meeting the standards of your homeowners or renter’s insurance. When you schedule with a Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, you can rest assured knowing that your technician is experienced and trained in dryer vent safety, installation, and cleaning. Your technician will use the proper materials in the proper proportions. Afterwards, they would be happy to forward-schedule upcoming maintenance appointments. This ensures that your dryer vent hose stays clear of flammable lint that can cause a hazardous fire!

Hudson Chimney has been serving families in Northeast Florida for nearly thirty years and can help you. Have you recently purchased a new clothes dryer? If so, hire a C-DET professional to install your dryer vent hose. It’s the best way to preserve it’s life and your home’s.

Hudson Chimney makes it our priority to keep our customers safe and warm year round, and part of being safe is making sure the dryer vent is in proper working order. If you’re not sure about your dryer vent, you can schedule your annual cleaning and find out more about your system. Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 or request an appointment online.

Chimney Cap Replacement

The chimney cap is a vital part of the chimney system that has multiple jobs. The chimney cap is often overlooked, but when it’s gone it’s missed.

The Chimney Cap Keeps Weather Out

The chimney cap is placed at the flue opening. It prevents water from rain, snow, or hail from entering the flue. When the cap is missing, the water drops right into the flue’s opening and can cause water damage throughout the entire system in just a short time.

The Chimney Cap Keeps Wildlife Out

At various times throughout the year, animals seek shelter in chimney flues because they are warm and dry. These animals can bring debris with them. Even scratching the liner, damaging the masonry, blocking airflow, and can suffocate and die resulting in foul odors. A missing chimney cap can also allow sticks and leaves to fall into the flue during fall weather.

The Chimney Cap Keeps the Fire In

At times an unruly flame can throw sparks up the chimney along with the smoke and vapors naturally produced by the fire. If sparks are allowed to escape the flue opening, a fire can result when leaves and debris on the roof are ignited. Sparks have even been known to ignite dry grasses on the ground around the home.

Diagnosing a Chimney Cap Problem

The chimney cap is one component of the chimney system that can be visually inspected quite easily. Assessing your chimney system monthly, year-round, you will notice quickly if something has changed with your chimney cap. If it is turned, shifted, crooked, or missing it should be replaced as soon as possible. Do you have sudden downdrafts that push smoke into your living space? You should take a look at your chimney cap. The cap and screening is designed in a way to allow vapors to vent properly while preventing down drafts from blowing down your chimney. Downdrafts can decrease efficiency substantially and make it difficult to heat or cool your home and keep a fire going.

The most thorough assessment you can do for your chimney? Having a CSIA inspection! This is when a certified chimney sweep inspects your chimney from top to bottom. When you schedule an inspection your technician will notice right away if there’s a problem with your chimney cap. Not only will he point it out in the report, but will check thoroughly for damage caused by the missing cap.

Give Us A Call

Hudson Chimney not only replaces standard chimney caps, but we also specialize in custom chimney caps for our customers that prefer a personalized color or shape. Our chimney experts use stainless steel or galvanized metal to create caps that are both beautiful and functional. Call a Hudson Chimney expert today and get started with your chimney cap assessment and repair!

Home Inspectors Are Not Necessarily Chimney Experts

When you buy a home, you have to hire a home inspector to make sure there are no hidden problems with any of the major systems in the house. Your home inspector will check out the electrical and plumbing systems, the structure and foundation, and other parts of the home. After you receive the final inspection report, you may believe everything in the fireplace and chimney system works properly, but home inspectors are not necessarily chimney experts. Many of the national fire safety organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend that the chimney and venting system should be inspected by a professional certified chimney technician before you buy a home. Our CSIA-certified chimney professionals at Hudson Chimney are trained and experienced in finding damage and potential problems in chimneys and fireplaces. You may think you are saving money by not hiring a chimney technician for an inspection before you purchase a house, but there could be a problem with the system that can not only cost you a lot more money in the future, but it could also be a danger to your life. We would like to tell you about the importance of a professional chimney inspection when you are buying a home.

Home Inspectors Are Not Necessarily Chimney Experts - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Home inspectors can miss some major problems with a chimney and fireplace system.

While home inspectors have been trained and certified to professionally inspect the major systems of a house, they usually have not received any professional extensive training concerning fireplaces and chimneys. For example, the CSIA reports that a home inspector approved a chimney and fireplace system, which was found to have some major problems by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The chimney inspection discovered that the height of the chimney was not tall enough to meet building code regulations, the existence of drywall exposure, and the separation of the hearth from the wall. These problems could cause chimney draft issues, fire hazards, and carbon monoxide leaks. If the homeowner had not hired the chimney sweep because the home inspector found no problems, he or she could experience a devastating fire or become ill from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Home inspectors are not required to thoroughly inspect chimneys.

The most a home inspector will typically do to check out the chimney is using a flashlight to look into the flue. A chimney inspection from the CSIA-certified sweeps at Hudson Chimney will include a video scan from a closed-circuit camera that has been designed to be used inside a chimney. We will have a close-up look at every inch of the inside of that chimney, and we can show you any damage or possible problem we may find. You will also have the needed evidence to show to the homeowner of damage that needs to be repaired before you will agree to purchase the home.

Shopping for a new home? Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for a professional chimney inspection to be sure the home you are buying poses no dangerous risks from the chimney and fireplace system.

Fireplace Safety Tips

Did you realize that half of the residential fires caused by home heating systems occur during the months of December, January, and February? Since we use our fireplaces, stoves, and other heating appliances frequently during these winter months, this statistic makes sense, but most of these home fires could have been easily prevented by following fire safety precautions. At Hudson Chimney, fire safety is our top priority, and we like to educate our customers on the best ways of operating their fireplaces and other heating appliances. We would like to tell you a few important fireplace safety tips that will keep you and your family warm and safe this winter.

Remember to have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned and inspected every year.

chimney fire safety - jacksonville FL - hudson chimney

The most important preventive maintenance task you can do to avoid fire hazards is to schedule an annual appointment with Hudson Chimney for our chimney sweeping and inspection services. Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps will reduce your risk of chimney fires by removing all of the creosote deposits that have accumulated on the inner walls of your chimney. We will also inspect your chimney to be sure there are no flue blockages or any damage that could cause your chimney to be unsafe to use.

You should always have your heating appliances professionally installed.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that all fireplace inserts, stoves, and other heating appliances be installed by certified professionals to protect you from hazards such as accidental fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

Keep the area surrounding your fireplace clear from combustible items.

To prevent an accidental fire being ignited by hot sparks and embers that can jump from the firebox, Hudson Chimney recommends that you keep all flammable items such as furniture, curtains, and rugs at least three feet away from your fireplace.

Set up a sturdy fireplace screen in front of your fireplace.

A metal mesh fireplace screen can prevent accidental fires by keeping hot sparks and embers from flying into the room. This will also protect your children and pets from getting too close to the fire.

Ensure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detector alarms installed in your room.

If you do not already, install these essential alarms in the same room as your heating appliance, outside each bedroom, and on every level of your home. Check the batteries for these alarms when you change your clocks in the spring and fall for Daylight Savings Time.

Need more fireplace safety tips? Contact us at Hudson Chimney to have your safety questions answered.

Chimney Sweeping Logs Are Not a Substitute for a CSIA Professional

Have you ever wondered why you need to have your chimney professionally swept annually? Of course, your chimney gets pretty dirty from regular fires in the fireplace, but soot and dust is not the most important reason for this maintenance task. Your chimney should be cleaned professionally once a year to remove the accumulated creosote from the inner walls of the flue. A compound that forms naturally as a result of the combustion process of burning wood, creosote is extremely flammable and is the main cause of chimney fires. It is essential to get all of the creosote out of your chimney so you can enjoy your fireplace without worrying about this fire hazard. You may have seen chimney sweeping logs, a product that claims to remove and reduce creosote from your chimney, and considered that they could be a substitute for a chimney sweeping by one of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney professionals from Hudson Chimney. However, this is not the case, and chimney sweeping logs can even lead to dangers in your home. We would like to tell you more about why you should never substitute a professional chimney cleaning by using chimney sweeping logs.

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WHAT CHIMNEY SWEEPING LOGS DO

Burning a chimney sweeping log in your fireplace or stove releases chemicals that use catalytic action to remove a portion of accumulated creosote from your chimney. These chemicals cause creosote to flake off and break away from the chimney wall. While this product does remove some of the creosote, the CSIA has its concerns. The claims of chimney sweeping logs are not completely accurate and can lull homeowners into a false sense of security.

THE RISKS OF CHIMNEY SWEEPING LOGS

As we said earlier, creosote is very flammable, so when pieces of creosote are falling down your chimney after flaking off, they could easily catch on fire and lead to a devastating chimney fire. Even if the creosote does not ignite on its way down, the pieces end up at the bottom of your chimney to gather on the smoke shelf and form together to cause yet another fire hazard. Any creosote remaining in your chimney, whether or not it is stuck to the walls of the flue, poses a dangerous fire hazard.

WHY A PROFESSIONAL CHIMNEY SWEEPING IS SO CRUCIAL

Firstly, you can trust our CSIA-certified sweeps at Hudson Chimney to completely remove all of the creosote from your chimney. We know far too well the dangers of creosote, and we take great care to be sure we have gotten all of the accumulated deposits out of your chimney. Not only do we thoroughly clean your chimney, but we also provide a professional inspection with every chimney sweeping. Our sweeps will closely examine the interior and exterior of your chimney to look for any damage that needs to be fixed for your fireplace and chimney to function effectively and safely. If any debris such as nests from birds and animals or leaves are blocking your chimney, we will also remove the blockage to prevent any accidental fires or carbon monoxide leaks.

Have you had your chimney professionally swept this year? Stay away from chimney sweeping logs, and contact us at Hudson Chimney to make an appointment for a safe chimney this winter.

Fire Safety: Important Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

You may or may not have a fireplace in your home, but even if you do not have a fireplace, there is always a possibility of a house fire. If a fire does break out in your home, you may only have as little as two minutes to be able to escape. The best way to protect yourself and your family is the identification and removal of all fire hazards from your home. Another excellent way to protect yourself, your family, and your home is to know and follow important home fire safety tips. At Hudson Chimney, we like to educate our customers on fire safety, and we would like to share with you some fire safety tips we feel are essential.

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Install Multiple Smoke Alarms Throughout Your Home.

The Red Cross states that 60% of house fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms installed. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Make it a monthly routine to check your smoke alarms to be sure they are still working properly. Smoke alarms will usually last for at least 10 years; however, you will have to change the batteries to keep them working properly.

Create an Escape Plan to Have in Place for Your Entire Family.

Everyone in your home should know two ways to escape from every room in your home. Designate a meeting place outside the house to be sure everyone has gotten out safely. Use a two-minute time frame when you are planning your escape routes. Practice your escape plan with your family on a regular basis to be sure everyone knows how to proceed if an emergency should occur. Include waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling, and meeting outside during your escape plan practices. Be sure everyone in the house knows how to dial 911. Teach family members how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes happen to catch on fire.

Be Safe in the Kitchen.

Never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking, frying, or broiling food, and do not leave your home when roasting, boiling, baking or simmering food. Set a timer to alert you when your food should be done cooking, baking, boiling, or roasting. Keep all flammable items like pot holders, towels, clothing, and plastic away from the stove. Keep all pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them knocking things onto the burners and to protect them from possibly burning themselves.

Use Common Sense.

Keep flammable items at least three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, and other heating appliances. Turn off portable heaters when you leave the room and when you go to sleep. Never smoke in bed. Talk to your children on a regular basis about the dangers of fire. Always keep matches and lighters out of reach from children.

Know the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide.

Just as you do with smoke alarms, install carbon monoxide detector alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. If one of these alarms goes off to alert you of the presence of carbon monoxide in your home, move quickly to the fresh air outdoors or stand by an open window or door. Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or any other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning devices inside a home, a garage, basement, crawlspace, or other partially enclosed space.

Want to know more home fire safety tips? Contact our staff at Hudson Chimney. Fire safety education is part of our duties as CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, and we take pride in teaching our customers about fire safety procedures and precautions.

Making an Emergency Escape Plan

A disaster like a house fire or a carbon monoxide leak could strike at any moment, but do you and your family have an escape plan in place? Hudson Chimney cannot stress enough the importance of making sure every member of your family is prepared and informed in the event of a fire, carbon monoxide leak, or other emergency. Your entire family needs to know the correct procedures to safely get out of the house or apartment when a disaster has occurred. You also need to designate a meeting place outside of the home as well as make plans on how to contact members of the household who are away from the home. We would like to share with you some tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) about how to create an emergency escape plan for your family to utilize when a disaster strikes.

emergency-escape-plan-jacksonville-fl-hudson-chimney

Sketch out a map of your home.

You do not have to be artistically talented or extremely detailed when drawing this map. The most important things to include are all windows and doors from every room.

Find two ways out of every room.

Go into each room of your house and locate two exits from each room. Take your map with you to mark on the map exactly where these exits can be found in every room.

Ensure all doors and windows work correctly.

The last thing you want to happen when you are escaping from a fast-burning house fire is to get to your designated exit, only to find it stuck and unable to open. Make sure all doors and windows can easily open and close with no problems.

Install smoke and carbon monoxide detector alarms throughout your home.

These live-saving alarms should be installed on every level of your home and outside each bedroom. Test the batteries by pushing the test button on each alarm to be certain they are all constantly working.

Establish a meeting place outside.

Choose a location, preferably in front of your house, for all household members to meet up with each other after exiting the home. If an emergency should be unfortunate enough to happen, contact any family members who are away from the home. They should also go to the established meeting place as soon as possible.

Remember the importance of visibility.

You want the emergency responders to arrive as quickly as possible, but if your house number cannot be seen from the street, they may have a hard time finding your home, which wastes valuable and crucial time. Be sure your house number can be easily seen from the street.

Memorize the emergency number to your local fire department.

You should also program this number into family member’s mobile phones. Another important numbers to program and label as emergency is a designated out-of-town contact. You can also store family members’ work information, school information, all medical contacts, health insurance information, and family members’ dates of birth and Social Security numbers in your smartphone as well as on a piece of paper kept in a safe place.

Practice makes perfect!

Get in the habit of the entire family practicing the home emergency escape plan about once a month or so.

Have more questions about planning ways to escape your home during an emergency? Contact Hudson Chimney to talk to our expert staff on how to design one of these escape plans for your family.

A Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning Can Save You Money and Your Life.

Many of our customers at Hudson Chimney are surprised to learn that their clothes dryer vent should be professionally cleaned once a year. An easily forgotten maintenance task, neglecting to thoroughly clean your dryer vent annually can lead to a dangerous house fire. As stated by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), 15,000 fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries caused by dirty clothes dryer vents were reported to the US Fire Administration each year between 2002 and 2004. To be sure your dryer is not a fire hazard, an annual professional cleaning of the vent is important for the safety of your house and family. Your clothes dryer will also work much more effectively, which will save you money on electric or gas bills. We would like to share with you some of the reasons behind the importance of this yearly maintenance step.

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A Dirty Clothes Dryer Vent Can Decrease the Efficiency of Your Dryer.

When your dryer vent is clogged with lint and debris, your clothes dryer will not work as well as it should. You may notice clothes still being wet or damp after going through a full drying cycle. This is one of the main signs of a dirty vent and should be a clear signal that your venting system needs cleaning. When you must use your dryer at its highest temperature, it decreases the life of the appliance and can also lead to your heating element burning out or a fire igniting. A dirty clothes dryer venting system will also cost you more money as it takes more electricity or gas to dry a load of clothes.

Dirty Dryer Vents Can Also Lead to the Possibility of Carbon Monoxide Leaks.

If you have a gas-powered clothes dryer, you must be sure that it is properly vented and that its exhaust vent is free from blockages from lint and debris. If there are venting problems or blockages, carbon monoxide can be forced back into the home. If you do not have an alarm for carbon monoxide, you could may never realize you are breathing in carbon monoxide until it is too late because this toxic gas is odorless and tasteless. Even if you have an electric dryer, you still have the possibility of carbon monoxide leaks due to a dirty vent.

The Locations of Dryers in Newer Homes Necessitate Annual Dryer Vent Cleaning and Inspecting.

The complex construction of newer homes is placing dryers in bathrooms, kitchens, closets, and other locations with no outside wall. This means a longer venting system must be installed and usually contains bends. This type of venting is harder to access, and its additional length provides more space for lint accumulation as well as a spot for animals and birds to hide. An annual dryer vent cleaning is especially important in these incidents to protect your home from a possible fire.

Just Because You Clean Your Dryer Vent Filter from Lint After Each Load Does Not Mean You Do Not Need an Annual Professional Vent Cleaning.

Although routine removal of lint from the dryer vent can reduce the risk of fire by 90%, you still need to schedule a professional cleaning of the dryer vent every year. Large clogs of lint can be found in the venting ducts as well as in the inner side of the wall. To ensure proper cleaning of your dryer’s venting system, you need to call a dryer exhaust technician from Hudson Chimney to do this task for you.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for your annual dryer vent cleaning, contact Hudson Chimney today. We can send our dryer exhaust vent technicians to your home to be sure your clothes dryer is not a fire hazard.

Dryer Vent Safety

It is very important to keep up with dryer vent cleaning, as the built up lint is a fire hazard that endangers your house and everyone in it. Allow the professionals at Hudson Chimney to help you maintain a safer and more efficient dryer.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 904-282-4159! We look forward to providing you with a lifetime of high-quality, professional services!

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call! We look forward to providing you with a lifetime of high-quality, professional services!

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