THIS MONTH TOPIC:
"Gearing up for cold weather"
Soooo, were you proactive this summer? Did the chimney get that attention it has been needing? A dirty chimney is not an effective chimney, hard start ups or smoky light offs can be a sign of excessive build up or even a blockage in the flue. Cold flues can be difficult enough to establish a strong draft without any other issues. Preheating the flue can be a great help to avoiding some problems. Open the damper (most homeowners call this the Flue) and introduce warm air to the system. This can be done with lit rolled paper, a hair dryer or even candles if left long enough in the firebox.
Next lets address high pressure zones around the top of the chimney. New construction or trees that have grown taller or wider near the crown of the system can cause air flow to stagnate around the flue acting as a barrier for air to exit the chimney. Think of air coming up the flue as water. This "water" flows up stream and hits a cross current at the top and gets carried away. If trees or an addition interrupts this flow, a dam effect (high pressure zone) creates turbulence and prevents the flow from escaping. This shows as back puffing and staining on the profile above the firebox opening. Cutting back plants at lest 10 feet from the top of the chimney is a minimum. New construction is not so easy, making the chimney taller or installing an exhaust fan are your best options.
If you did wait till now to get started you are not alone as this is busy seasons for all sweeps. Just know that scheduling work will typically not be a same day or even same week affair. So be patient if someone can get to you quick chances are there is a good reason for it. Don't get taken by fly by night handyman or part time sweeps. Real CSIA certified technicians are worth the time and money. Thanks .
OFFICE # 757-689-3161
CELL # 757-613-1658