If your fireplace smokes or has draft issues when the wind blows it is usually because the chimney is too short (or too close to nearby structures) Don’t worry, you don’t have to replace the chimney. This can be corrected in a variety of ways; Mike’s Mobile has special wind blocking caps or flue extender caps that can fix this problem at a reasonable cost to you.
Although it’s a small piece of equipment, a fireplace grate should not be overlooked. Fireplace grates maintain consistent airflow around a fire which aids in complete combustion (a cleaner burning fire!). If your chimney tends to smoke towards the end of your burning season, you may be in need of a new fireplace grate. A fireplace grate also performs a variety of other important fire burning and safety functions.
Fire place grates are usually available seasonally at your local hardware store (be sure to get the correct size for your fire box opening) or, we carry a full selection of high quality grates all year around! To get the correct size grate, measure the smallest width of your fire box (usually the back).
It is good practice to check if your damper is open before EVERY fire. Some dampers become loose and can close on their own. Sometimes a relative or child can close a damper without informing other members of the household. If you find a rusted, warped or worn damper when you check it – Call Mike’s Mobile! We have a replacement damper with an AIR-TIGHT seal that mounts on the TOP of your chimney. Old-style metal throat dampers can cost you over $200 a year in lost energy. Upgrading to a Lock-Top damper keeps air inside, so that no heat or air-conditioning gets lost up your chimney.
If you’re having smoking issues you may have a cold chimney. Exterior masonry chimneys are known for giving homeowners fits. However, a little knowledge can go a long way. Exterior masonry chimneys collect moisture when not in use (GREAT reason to have a chimney cap!) and are often much colder than the rest of your house when starting a fire. If fireplace gasses cool off before the smoke exits the chimney, a draft is going to be weak or non-existent. It is important to get a good draft and a strong fire going right away. If this is an issues you are having you will notice that starting fires gets easier the more often you use your chimney since it dries out throughout the season.
Is your chimney clean or dirty? When was the last time you’ve had your chimney cleaned? If you burn often, your chimney should be cleaned after every cord of wood that is burned. Soot and creosote buildup can seriously affect the performance of your chimney. Birds, small animals, leaves, twigs, bees, etc are some of the things we see on a daily basis clogging up chimneys. Chimney caps help without outside debris, but there is no replacement for an annual chimney inspection or cleaning.
Think small when it comes to starting a fire. First be sure that your chimney is ready for a fire. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Once you have determined that you can safely burn a fire, you will need to prepare the fireplace. Make sure that your damper is completely open.
Pick small pieces of wood and make sure that the wood is not over flowing your fireplace grate. This will ensure that you have enough room between the fireplace and the grate on all sides.
Listen carefully. Sizzling is a sign that the wood that you are burning still has water. This will cause extra smoke that can enter into your living room area.
Pick out proper wood for burning fires. Make sure that your wood meets the following criteria:
- Seasoned Firewood (Excess Moisture Takes Energy Out of a Fire)
- Proper size (Pieces Must Not be Oversized or Hanging Out of Your Fireplace)
- Pieces may need to be cut to fit properly
Chimney Sweeps – Winter is Almost Here!
Guess what time it is?!
It’s time to get your home’s chimney and fireplace inspected! Summer has officially drawn to a close and Fall has already begun! Which means your home’s heating appliances will be heavily used this upcoming Winter!
Do you know why it is important to have your home’s heating appliances ready before the cold season approaches?
Well it is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association that homeowners should have their chimneys cleaned and inspected annually. If you haven’t had yours swept yet, don’t wait until the very last minute to schedule your needed inspections and repairs! Here at Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service, we offer a full chimney services. Mike’s Mobile also does the following services to our customers including: chimney cleanings, inspections, repairs, fireplace rebuilds, masonry work and much more! Our company also serves the surrounding areas including: West Sacramento, Davis, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Rocklin, Folsom and more!
Call Mike’s Mobile today and set up an appointment! (877) 520-3595
Mike’s Mobile Chimney Good Day Sacramento
Mike’s Mobile Screen and Chimney Service was featured on Good Day Sacramento this past week! Mike’s Mobile and a special
guest, Santa Claus, showed the Good Day Sacramento crew and viewers how important it is to get your chimney inspected and
cleaned annually. It is especially important to do this before the upcoming holidays when the weather begins to get colder and
people tend to turn on their fireplaces to warm up their homes.
For more information on the chimney services we offer visit: http://mikesmobile.com/chimney-services/
Steps to Start a Fire in your Fireplace
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!
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.