Introducing Our New Security Window Screens

Bill H. from Stockton decided that for his windows, he wanted maximum security without gaudy iron security bars detracting the beauty of his home. With our new security window screens we were able to help him achieve both of these goals without compromise. Bill H. picked out a combination of quick escape and fixed security window screens in a white frame finish along with our Viewguard and sliding security door for total home protection.

guarda security windows
Our screens are made of high tensile strength stainless steel allowing for a clear view of the outside from your home while saving you money on energy with 60% UV blockage and secure protection. Unlike traditional bars on your windows, our security screens allow for an easy exit from the inside, high resistance to impact and tampering from the outside, and an appealing design with unobstructed air flow throughout your house. These screens are available in 9 different frame finishes with several options to match your current home style.

To get security screens for your home today give us a call at (877) 520-3595

For more information on our security window screens, visit our website: Security Window Screens

guarda security window screens

Don’t DIY Chimney Cleaning

Why You Shouldn’t DIY

Your Chimney Cleaning 

 

In the past few years there has been a lot of hype in regards to DIY (Do It Yourself). There are some websites and blogs such as Pinterest that say a homeowner doesn’t need a chimney sweep to perform a chimney cleaning and post videos that teach you how to perform a chimney cleaning.

Many posts online (such as Pinterest) say homeowners can clean out their own chimneys.

 

However there are certain things that homeowners’ shouldn’t take it upon themselves to do, such as cleaning their home’s chimney. There are some homeowners that may do a good job in maintaining their chimney but that’s only to a certain degree (no pun intended). Things such as creosote buildup, a damaged flue, live/dead critters, etc. can be overlooked when DIYing a chimney cleaning, which is why a chimney sweep needs to be called in.

3rd Stage Glazed Creosote

Damaged Flue Liner

 

Chimney Sweeps are certified trained professionals who while cleaning your chimney also look for anything that may be wrong with your chimney. They also use the proper tools and equipment needed to clear out your chimney completely without creating any new problems along the way.

So before trying your hand on chimney cleaning, call one of our professional chimney sweeps today at 1 877 520 3595! or schedule an appointment with us online at mikesmobile.com/chimney-services/!

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Why You Should Get Your Chimney Swept and Inspected

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Getting your chimney swept and inspected are very important for your home. If you are using your fireplace, you should be getting a chimney sweep annually. This will prevent chimney fires as well as maintain your fireplace/chimney safe to burn in. The NFPA suggests that you get your chimney swept after each cord of wood that you burn and/or an annual safety inspection.

One way a chimney inspection can be beneficial is to find water intrusion. If your chimney, cap or flashing is not properly installed and sealed it can lead to a bigger mess. Water can get into cracks a spread. If water freezes, it will expand and further damage an area. If your flashing is not properly installed and sealed it can lead to severe damage on your roof. This can trickle down (excuse the pun!) and cause leaking. Take a look at the pictures to see what water can cause. There will be more articles about this to come! Stay tuned.

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Why Do I Need a Fireplace Grate?

Why Do I Need a Fireplace Grate

Why Do I Need a Fireplace Grate?Let’s start by describing what a fireplace grate is. Shown left, a fireplace grate is the cast iron, or metal, stand that your fire wood sits on. Typically it is centered in your fireplace. If you are having smoking issues you will need to make sure the grate is pushed all the way to the back.

Getting the firewood off of the ground does a couple of importantly thiing.

By raising the wood off of the floor of the fireplace, you are allowing the wood to be burned more efficiently. Air is able to get under the wood causing the fire to burn hotter. When this is achieved you are essentially using less fuel to heat your home, thus saving you money on firewood.

Another benefit of a grate is when your firewood is raised, the coals from burning wood drop to the ground. This allows the fire to burn from the bottom up and subsequently the wood gets completely burned. As the hot coals drop, the need to shift or move the wood is not there because the wood is held by the grate.

A fireplace grate protects the floor of your fireplace. Direct exposure to high temperatures will destroy the concrete ground. The grate slows down the destruction of the ground by lifting the fire instead of the ground getting direct heat.

Fireplace grates are a must when it comes to properly using your fireplace. They help burn a more efficient fire and protect the floor of your fireplace from needing to be repair frequently.

Install an Energy Saving Damper

savemoneyandenergyIf you’re wanting to save money, (via saving energy) an energy saving top mounted damper is something you should take a look at. A traditional damper is metal and closes inside of your firebox. Is yours open or closed? If its shut, often times it doesn’t seal. This presents a problem when running your air conditioning or heater. Air from inside the house that you want, (i.e. cool air or warm air) will end up leaving your house through the chimney. Would you leave a window open while your air conditioner/heater was on?

Lock Top II Dampers are mounted on top of you chimney and offer an air tight seal. This means that you won’t have to worry when you use your air conditioning and heater. Closing a chimney from the top will end the days of having cold air trapped in your chimney. The cold air can cause smoking issues, inside of the house, because of a cold chimney.

Natural Gas Safety: Three Things You Should Know

gassafetyThere are three things you should know when it comes to gas safety. Knowing where PG&E natural gas pipelines are located near you, spotting a leak, and knowing whats below before you dig will keep you safe.

Living in the era of the internet means we have all kinds of information at our fingertips. It has never been easier to find out where pipeline markers are. Markers include an emergency number and indicate the need for extra care around gas transmission pipelines that feed local distribution pipelines. These markers specify the approximate location, but not all pipelines follow a straight path between markers. PG&E has an interactive online map where you can find out about the transmission pipelines in your neighborhood. You can also check out the National Pipeline Mapping System to see the location of all transmission pipelines in the United States, viewable by county, zip code or street address.

Being able to spot a leak is also very important. Spotting a leak requires 3 of your 5 senses. Smell, hearing, and sight.

  • Smell
    • If you smell this distinctive “rotten egg” odor, move to a safe location and immediately call 911 and PG&E at 1-800-743-5000
  • Sound
    • Always pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
  • Sight
    • Other signs of a possible gas leak can include dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.

The last tip is certainly not least. Damage from excavation is a common cause of pipeline accidents. That’s why you must always call Underground Service Alert (USA) at 811 at least two working days before you dig—even in your own yard. USA is a free service that will notify underground utility operators in the area of your planned work. PG&E will then locate and mark our underground gas and electric facilities.

What Kind Of Inspection Do You Need?

levelsThere are 3 Levels to chimney inspections.  Mike’s Mobile includes a Level I inspection with every chimney sweep. Here is a breakdown so you can see what happens during each type of inspection.

 

Level One Chimney Inspection

If your chimney performance, appliance or venting system has not changed and you simply want to be confident in the continued safe use of the system, you will need the Level 1 inspection done on an annual schedule. We usually combine this service with the annual cleaning and sweeping that should be scheduled to guarantee continued safe use of your stove, chimney or furnace.
Our chimney inspection tech will examine the readily accessible portions of the interior and exterior areas of the chimney and the appliance or chimney connection. This includes the firebox, smoke chamber and damper along with the cap and crown on the exterior of your chimney if accessed with cleaning. We will be looking for any chimney structure or flue defect or underperforming areas with the appliance installation or connections. The whole system must be found to be clear of any blockage or deposits that may be combustible.

Level Two Chimney Inspection

A Level 2 inspection is recommended when you have had any changes done to your system. If you have changed fuel type, or had the chimney relined, if you have replaced your furnace or appliance (especially if the rating or efficiency differs from what was there prior). If you recently bought the home and are not familiar with the system performance, plan to do modifications to your chimney, stove or heating system or have had a chimney fire recently a Level 2 inspection is in order.
A Level 2 inspection is an in-depth look at the entire chimney, stove or furnace system. It includes all steps covered with a Level 1 inspection and also includes a visual inspection of all internal surfaces and joints. If necessary, we use a color video inspection camera to look inside the chimney or flue. This allows for a complete top to bottom visual inspection of your system.
A written report is produced that details all areas that may be of concern.

Level Three Chimney Inspection

Level 1 and 2 methods are included with Level 3 inspections, but with this type inspection portions of the structure or chimney will be required to fully investigate the deficiencies that exist. Many areas that are concealed from visual examination may need to be opened up by removing bricks, masonry, metal flue pipes, interior chimney walls, chimney crowns or other components of your system. These inspections are only required when the earlier inspection Level 1 or 2 reveals a serious problem and we need to gain access to the problem areas hidden from view. Level 3 inspections are needed on less than 2% of all inspections when serious problems are suspected that require immediate action.

Does It Meet Code?

angry_codesMost homeowners want to know if the work they will have done to their home “meets code.” This is a tricky question with many answers and many prerequisites that need to be addressed before you answer. Codes are an ever-changing thing. They are written by large national organizations made up by government, and industry officials. The question “Does it meet code” depends on many factors and isn’t a clear yes or no.

Understanding Codes

Codes are a moving object. By that I mean that they are always changing. In fact, codes are changed, adjusted and made about every 3 years. They get changed because we want to improve upon them as well as make structures safer. An indirect result of these changes is the ability to understand how things hold up or deteriorate.

Does it meet code?

The answer to this question depends on when, who and where you ask. Something that meets code perfectly today might not meet code tomorrow. Houses that were built a short while ago could have been perfectly built to meet code, but today they do not. You could also build the same house in two different states or even cities, and one may not pass

Inconsistent Code

As with a lot of things, codes start at the Federal level and trickle down the bureaucratic ladder. State, county, city and municipality codes are enough to make a person scream. Who’s got time to research all of this?

The Code Police

Private home inspectors have no authority to enforce the building code. The municipal inspectors are the only people who can determine whether or not something meets code. And since they are people, even that can vary.

Grandfathered Code

The word ‘grandfather’ does not appear in the building codes. What?! Yes, Grand fathered in doesn’t mean anything since building codes are for new buildings only. Codes aren’t retroactive. In conclusion, safety takes precedent over all things when doing construction. Things that are unsafe are more important than minor changes over the years that don’t present a danger.

Picking Out The Right Firewood

Picking out FirewoodPicking out the right firewood can be just as important as keeping your chimney maintained. The right firewood will help you wood stove, or fireplace burn more efficiently. Picking out the wrong wood that isn’t seasoned can cause smoking problems, odor problems, creosote buildup or even dangerous chimney fires. We’ve teamed up with our friends at the CSIA to help you pick out the right wood.

Click Here to see guidelines for the following:

Seasoned Wood
Storing Wood
Buying Wood
(If you’re in the San Joaquin Valley be sure to check out Dave’s Firewood 209-464-6157)
Top Firewood Tips

Does My Dryer Vent Need To Be Cleaned?

Now that you know your dryer vent should be cleaned semi-annually, here are some things to look out for. You may need a dryer vent cleaning annually or as these issues arise.

  • When it takes longer for your clothes to dry than it used to.
  • If your dryer is running hot. (Check to see if the top surface is hot to the touch)
  • If you cannot remember cleaning your dryer vent in the past.
  • If you dry a lot of fuzzy blankets, or have multiple animals.

Paying attention to these things can reduce the risk of a fire and increase the efficiency of your dryer. These tips will help you keep your dryer working properly for more years.