In the heart of the giving season we chimney sweeps find ourselves receiving. Receiving requests to sweep chimneys. This season Midtown has continued to enhance its online presence and grow its online reviews. From chilly Des Moines, Iowa to frigid Grand Rapids, Michigan, back down to Denver, Colorado and out to sunny Southern California and the high desert, our desire is to provide you the service you need for your wood burning stove and fireplace.
We often associate Old Saint Nick with fireplaces and chimneys because that is historically his most commonly used residential entry point. Interestingly enough we have also given thought to how he enters single family residences with forced air heating with no fireplace. This has caused quite a stir of discussion among our staff and key leadership at the home office here lately. Not everything we know about Santa Clause’s tricks has been revealed to our executive team; however, we will continue to dig for answers. Just as a mind-bending guess, our current hypothesis is the dryer vent. (Incidentally, we clean those too.) See bottom of page for our phone and contact form. Another concern we have is how he enters through top seal dampers. We are currently designing a Santa-Friendly top seal damper add-on clip that will release the spring (without damaging the mechanism) via an exterior handle. Just one of the many ways Midtown Chimney Sweeps and Dryer Vent Cleaning is keeping ahead of the competition.
In the meantime we will present you with 3 Steps to Prepare a Santa-Clause-Friendly Chimney This Year and help you get ready for the Great Red One himself.
1. Regular Chimney Sweeping
I know what your thinking already. I am on a chimney sweep website (a for-profit business that sweeps chimneys) and you are telling me to sweep my chimney. Yep. Just wanted to put that out there right away. Also, we have big guns talking about this. The National Fire Protection Association Document 211 covers the code for all wood burning appliances and it says you’ve got to inspect it every year and sweep it as needed, which is usually every year. Wood burning fireplace sweeping logs, chimney sweeping logs, etc. do not replace the abrasive action of a brush. A ‘regular’ chimney sweep means annually to me, but for some clients they need it swept every 4 months because of the sheer volume of material they burn. Some clients burn 8 cords per winter- wow! The regular brushing of the flue removes the soft flaky soot and slightly heavier creosote and it falls to the bottom where we vacuum it up with our cool vacuum. So the lesson here is, if you leave the chimney dirty you have not created a Santa-Friendly environment and in fact you might just get coal in the stocking for it.
2. Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood
Recently, I was at a client’s house where we identified a clogged chimney. It was a brand new Jotul free-standing woodstove. The client was saying that the stove had become clogged less than two weeks after it had been installed. Suspecting a clogged cap, I went to the roof to confirm the reason. (It isn’t too hard to figure out that if there is a fire at the bottom and no smoke comes out the top that we have a problem. But I accept the praise nonetheless as a “brilliant chimney guy”… ahem, anyways…) Yes, the cap was clogged. My screwdriver could hardly pry off the black tar-like residue. Hmm. First question to ask here is, “May I see your wood pile?” Sure enough. They had cut down some Jefferson pine trees this summer and were burning them right then. So I advised that they purchase a moisture meter on Amazon for $20 and check that the moisture content be between 15-25% moisture. So a Santa-Friendly chimney would be one that has a conscientious homeowner who burns dry, seasoned wood all year round and covers the wood pile with a tarp as required.
3. Regular Inspections
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that fire destroys stuff. In fact, if you simply stand behind a rocket you will discover that truth. Stick with us and there is no end to what you might learn – no joke. But back to inspections– the visual inspection we perform with your annual chimney sweep is totally awesome and find lots of interesting things out about your chimney. But seriously, there is no replacement for good old-fashioned common sense on your part – the homeowner. Take a flash light and look around inside. Look for scary, big cracks. Look for buried treasure, the usual stuff. And when you get tired of crawling around on your knees contact us using the form below and we will get back to you soon about scheduling.
So the Santa Friendly chimney this year should definitely be well inspected, not only by the pros, but by you the operator and owner of said fireplace and chimney.
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