Tips on How to Prevent a Chimney Fire

If you don’t give much thought on the condition of your chimney before lighting fires to warm you up during the chilly season, you and your home could be in danger. When the winter season gets super cold, there tends to be a sharp increase in chimney fires. So what causes a chimney fire? How do I know if I have one? Well the following text will give you helpful tips on how to identify and prevent any future chimney fires.

 

Chimney-Fire

So what causes a chimney fire?

A dirty, unkempt chimney leads to chimney fires. Which can lead to damaging structures, destroying homes and even injuring or killing people. Chimney fires are usually caused by the accumulation of creosote in the chimney. Creosote accumulates in the flue over time and is highly flammable. Creosote is especially likely to accumulate when wood is not being burned at the proper temperature. When it accumulates on the walls of your flue, hot flue gasses can ignite it, resulting in a chimney fire. Depending on the condition of your chimney, such a fire can pose a significant threat to the rest of your house. Furthermore the flames from the fire can find their way through cracks in your clay chimney liner or mortar and ignite framing around the chimney.

What are the indications of a chimney fire?
  • Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney
  • Loud cracking, and popping noises
  • An intense hot smell
  • Low rumbling

Creosote-Chimney-Fire
I just moved into a new home/property, how do I know if my chimney has had a chimney fire?
A chimney fire can occur without the homeowner being aware so it is really important to have your chimney inspected regularly by a certified chimney technician. These are the signs that a certified chimney sweep looks for:

  • Flaky or Puffy creosote
  • Any warped metal seen from the damper, smoke chamber connector pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or damaged flue tiles
  • Cracks found on exterior masonry
  • Distorted rain cap
  • TV antenna (that may be attached or be near chimney) is heat-damaged
  • Some roofing material is damaged from hot creosote
  • Smoke escaping through mortar joints from masonry/tile liners

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So how do I prevent a chimney fire?

  • Have your chimney cleaned at least annually. The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.
  • Allow your firewood to dry for at least a year before burning it, if possible. Burning fresher (or wet) wood can lead to creosote building up and increases your chance of having a chimney fire.
  • Do not burn too hot of a fire. The hotter the fire is the greater the chance that the creosote will ignite.
  • If you have petroleum or gas heating systems, make sure they have a carbon monoxide near the heat source.
  • Should you find yourself near an active chimney fire, please do the following:
  • Immediately call 911! Even if the chimney fire is extinguished, hot spots still poses as a serious threat.
  • NEVER use water to put out the flames! Direct contact with the hot walls can lead to cracking, which can lead to much bigger problems.
Once you are safely out of that situation and the chimney fire has been put out, call one our certified chimney technicians from Mike’s Mobile Screens & Chimney Service to come out and inspect your chimney so that we can right away start repairs! Call us at (877) 520-3595! For more information on all the chimney services we offer, visit us @ http://mikesmobile.com/chimney-services/

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Window and Door Covering Specialist!

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Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service your window and door covering specialist! These pictures our from a customer that did her entire home with Solar Screens and had a Viewguard Security screen door installed on the front door. This customer will now enjoy savings on their energy bill! Call us today and ask about how we can save you money! Call Toll Free (877) 520-3595

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Sliding Security Doors Are Here!

Sliding Security Doors - Mike's Mobile Screen & Chimney Service

THEY ARE HERE! Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service now offers Sliding Security Doors! This nifty door takes the place of a sliding screen door and offers you and your family much more security.

These doors are also available in several different styles. Pictured on this page is a recent install at a customer’s home. Margaret loves her door and was very pleased with the installation. She chose the Single Door with Stainless Steel mesh. What isn’t pictured, (Coming soon) is the Double Door. The Double Door offer a secure Stainless Steel mesh on the stationary side as well as the moving door side.

Also available are the Single and Double versions in Amplimesh (Similar to what is on the Tru-Frame Door). No matter what the application calls for we have you covered!

More information will be coming soon and we will have it up on our website as soon as possible. For now please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment to have one of these awesome Security Sliding Doors installed on your home.

Waterproofing to Avoid Efflorescence

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What is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence comes from a French word meaning “to flower out.” In chemistry, and in the real world, efflorescence is the loss of water (or a solvent) of crystallization from a hydrated or solvated salt to the atmosphere on exposure to air.

Where does it happen? 

While efflorescence can occur in natural settings it is most commonly seen on built structures. It is especially visible on porous materials like brick. If you do not know what efflorescence is, you may think that it is purely cosmetic. It will appear as a chalky residue on the outside of the brick structure.

What causes efflorescence?

Simply put, if you see efflorescence you have water intrusion. Once water penetrates the brick it will “flower out,” (remember the French definition?) Once water has entered your structure it will freeze and expand causes the integrity of the structure to come into question

What can you do to protect against efflorescence?

Although brick is very durable, extreme weather can have an adverse effect on it over time. Waterproofing your brick/veneer structure will help ensure that your brick work lasts as long as possible. Your brick and your home can benefit tremendously from waterproofing.

“Most sealants are made with siloxane, which chemically bonds to the material and prevents water from passing through it. This type of brick waterproofing sealant is clear, so it does not change the appearance of the building. In fact, rather than staying on the surface of the structure, brick sealant penetrates the material. It will need to be reapplied to older brick structures about every four to seven years, and newer buildings approximately every five to ten years.”

How to Start a Fire

Steps to Start a Fire in your Fireplace

How to start fire steps

1. Before you doing anything else and start fire, be sure to open the damper! You don’t want to accidentally fill up your house with smoke. Hold up a piece of burning, rolled up newspaper in the open damper for about 10 to 15 seconds by using the poker tool. Then light the tinder.

2. You’ll need three things to start your fire: Tinder, Kindling, and Fuel.

You can use small twigs, pine needles or pine cones as tinder. However, old crumbled up newspaper makes the very best tinder when starting a fire in your fireplace.

Kindling such as large twigs, small branches and splits of wood that range from 1/4″ to 1″ in thickness will do.

When fueling your fireplace only use well-seasoned hardwood such as ash, hickory or oak. If you really need to burn soft wood (cedar, fir or red pine) make sure that they are well-seasoned. Signs of seasoned wood are loose bark and cracks at the end of the wood. If you see bubbling liquids in the burning logs, DO NOT BURN!

3. To start the fire begin by arranging 2 (small to medium sized) pieces of firewood on the grate. Between the logs, place the tinder of your choice and cover it with several pieces of kindling.

Don’t be afraid to be generous with the kindling. Place two more pieces of firewood on top of the kindling and two more pieces of firewood at a right angle. Leave some spaces in between for air circulation.

Now you should have a nice burning fire, warming up your home!

Warm Fire Fireplace
 

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Customer Satisfaction is Our Goal!

Mike's Mobile Screen & Chimney Service - Security Door

Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service is second to none with customer satisfaction! Sometimes a customer will have an idea. This idea is sometimes a very custom one. Jose came to us and needed some added security to his home. Our friendly staff showed him several options of Security Doors. Jose wasn’t sure about which style of Steel Security Door to get. He asked if he could have something more custom. A door that he would design and we could make. Sure! We’ve done several doors that have custom components and we’ve always had really great outcomes.

Jose sent us the design for his door. We were able to draw the door and send him back a proof. He quickly approved it and we began fabricating his door. When the door was installed Jose was in shock. The physical door not only met his expectations, it exceeded them. Jose was very ecstatic about his new door.

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Creative Ways to Use Your Fireplace Ashes

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Since Winter season has begun many people have been enjoying the chilly season by warming up next to their fireplaces.But with the constant use of their fireplaces, ashes begin to build up. Most people would just throw out their fireplace ashes however I recommend that you don’t do that right away! Believe it or not ashes (specifically wood ashes) actually have many uses that can benefit your home and garden.

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Use of Ashes Around the Home

  • Did you or your pet get skunked? Rub the affected area with ash onto you or your pet, leave it on for a few minutes.
    Then rinse off the ash, dry and repeat the process if necessary.
  • Besides getting rid of funky skunk smells, fireplace ashes can help neutralize any musky, weird smelling odors
    (much like baking soda).
  • You can use it to melt the ice off of driveways and pathways.
  • Make fireplace ash into a paste to shine/polish silver and make it look new!

 

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Use of Ashes Around the Garden

  • Raise your soil’s pH levels. Using the ashes helps to neutralize the soil (especially if the soil is overly acidic or if you
    have any alkaline loving plants).
  • Use the fireplace ashes as a good nutrient addition to your compost (just be sparse with it as you do not want to
    make your compost too alkaliney). 

 

** Before using fireplace ashes remember to remove them from the fireplace no less than 24 hours after a fire has stopped burning. Be sure store them in a closed metal container until you’re ready to put them to use! **

** Remember the above suggestions are only for wood ashes. Other ashes such as coal ash and charcoal brisquettes contain toxins and heavy metals that can harm plants and shouldn’t be placed in your garden or even used as a replacement/substitute for wood fireplace ashes. **

 

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Why Should You Clean Your Pellet Stove Annually?

pelletPellet stoves are extremely efficient and can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. Fans inside them maximize their efficiency. The fans deliver warm air back into the home, but also present a problem on the other side. Pellet stoves require more maintenance than traditional fireplaces and insert wood burning stoves because the fans push air and soot around to all of the nooks and crannies of your pellet stove. There are several parts to a Pellet stove which makes it prone to malfunction if not cleaned annually. The parts include: A hopper, an auger system, blower fans, main control box and a firebox. Pellets are loaded into the hopper and then the auger system moves them to the firebox where they are burned. Blower fans take in the cool air from the room to provide fuel for the fire, while another fan blows the warm back out into the room. An exhaust fan pushes the soot out of the back to a vent system known as a T-connection. This T-connection has a built in safety feature called the “catch can.” While this safety feature is a good thing (short term), the soot piles up and will eventually present a problem. Soot will clog the vent (T-connection) and will burn out the fan. Fan motors cause costly repairs for homeowners.

Having your Pellet stove serviced each year by a chimney professional is important and will ensure efficient operation. This kind of consumer vigilance will result in being able to enjoy the efficiency of your pellet stove for years.