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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! We look forward to providing you with a lifetime of high-quality, professional services!