Month: December 2021

How To Prepare for a Chimney Sweep

Many people brush their teeth before going to the dentist or clean their house before the housekeeper comes.  It should come as no surprise that preparing your home for a chimney sweep is just as appreciated by professionals. There are many times that a chimney sweep arrives to do their job only to find that there are several other steps that must be done, such as moving furniture and removing items from mantels. While a professional will always do what’s necessary to get the job done right, there are a few things you can do to help make the process as painless as possible for everyone involved.

Avoid Using the Chimney for 24 to 48 hours

Chimney sweeps will need a fireplace that is cool to the touch for inspection. A hot fireplace is a hazard for the chimney sweep. If the fireplace is not cool, you risk receiving an incomplete cleaning or delaying your inspection & wasting valuable time.

Preparing for Professional Chimney Cleaning in Windsor CT Put away your knickknacks.

If you have priceless items on your mantel, be sure to move them to a temporary spot away from the chimney to keep them safe from accidents during chimney cleaning & inspection. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and the only way to avoid them entirely is to remove all treasured family pieces from the work area.

Consider removing logs and ash from the firebox

Removing logs and ash can help the chimney sweep provide a thorough inspection. It can also help mitigate the amount of dust and ash that might escape outside of the chimney during cleaning or inspection. Starting with a relatively clean slate will allow your professional to focus on problem areas and make them easier to spot.

Guard your Furniture

Protecting furniture before a chimney inspection in Hartford CTOur chimney sweeps are CSIA certified and will take great care to cover floors and use high-powered vacuums to make sure your home looks exactly the way it did before the inspection. However, if you are concerned about your antique rug or white velvet sofa it wouldn’t hurt to be extra cautious and cover these items before your chimney sweep arrives.

Make Room

Keep in mind that there may be extra equipment needed for your cleaning or inspection. Make way by removing anything on the floor in front of your fireplace. Your professionals will want to put down a drop cloth so removing toys and other items from the floor will make that process easier.

Speak Up

Be sure and let your chimney sweep know of any questions or concerns you may have. Mention cracks, smells, sounds, etc so that he knows where to focus his time. Knowing the exact issues that you encounter can guarantee that your specific needs are addressed.

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Signs You Need Chimney Repair

An old chimney can be a thing of beauty, but how do you know the difference between a little character and a costly problem? Like most things, if a chimney is neglected, minor issues can become major in a short period of time. If you have a fireplace that you do not use regularly or one that has been giving you concerns, it is best to have it looked at by a certified professional. Here are some key signals that your chimney is in need of attention.

Missing Crown or Cap

Chimney Crown Replacement in South Windsor CT The crown of a chimney is just as important as it sounds. The crown surrounds the top of the chimney and serves as an umbrella for the whole structure. Besides being a finishing touch, the crown protects your chimney from the eroding effects of water. A leaky chimney can cause the masonry (brickwork) to crack and break off. This is not just unsightly, the falling bricks can block the flue or eventually cause your whole chimney to fall apart. The cap is just as important, The cap not only inhibits water from getting inside the flue but also acts as a barrier to birds, small animals and other debris. It usually contains a mesh-like material that allows smoke to escape while keeping other material out. A missing cap could be a sign that unwanted debris has gotten into your flue.


Besides being a sign of age, rust is often a sign that water and weather have taken their toll. A rusted cap or flashing may cease to mitigate water damage that can eventually lead to a chimney collapse. Water inside the chimney flue can destroy the chimney liner and the mixture of water with soot and creosote can cause foul odors.

Chimney not Venting

The job of a chimney is to allow smoke from indoor fires to escape the home safely. If your chimney appears blocked, this is definitely a cause for concern. Blockages can occur when small animals get stuck in the flue, birds build nests, or they can occur from soot and creosote buildup. During winter, chimneys can become blocked because of ice and snow. Never light a fire if you suspect that your chimney is blocked. A blocked chimney can send toxic gases flooding your home. Always call for a professional chimney inspection immediately if your chimney is not venting properly.

Chipped Mortar and Damaged Bricks

Chimney mortar repair in Farmington CTThis can point to excess age or water damage. Though bricks are notoriously durable they can deteriorate over time, leaving your chimney susceptible to all the hazards we mentioned, animals, water damage and eventual collapse.

Don’t wait for the tell-tale signs of chimney failure to stack up on you. One problem can very quickly lead to another, especially if the problem begins with the chimney crown or cap. Recently purchased homes may have chimneys that have been out of use for years or that are due for a cleaning, avoid any further damage or hazards by contacting a certified chimney sweep today.


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Winter Fireplace Safety Tips

Enjoy your fireplace safely with a Professional Chimney Inspection in Bristol CTThe weather is getting cooler and the Christmas decorations are out. There’s no doubt that firewood will be chopped for lighting up the fireplace this season. The most important thing is to have a professional chimney inspection and cleaning before that first fire. Chestnut roasting shouldn’t be the only thing on our minds. Safety is always a priority for responsible fireplace owners. The winter chimney care tips below will ensure that your fireplace is a thing of beauty and not a hazard.

Use Quality Firewood

You may get a lot of cheap firewood for your buck but you will pay for it in other ways. For example, woods like Pine leave a lot of residue called creosote in your chimney. This can clog up your chimney, allowing foul-smelling smoke to fill your home. A wood like Oak is dense, burns clean and will also burn longer. This is essential for the air quality in your home and the life of your fireplace. Clear away built-up creosote with a professional chimney cleaning.

Leave your Damper Open

A closed damper will keep smoke and harmful gases inside your home instead of allowing them to escape properly. An open damper is essential for airflow. It will also encourage outside air to come in and keep the fire going as long as you want it to but be sure and close the damper once your fire has gone cold and the embers are completely dead. You know this is the case when all that remains in the fireplace is ash and there are no glowing embers present.

Dispose of Ashes Properly

Have your chimney cleaned for the winter months in New Britain CTMany fires occur because of ashes being dumped in dangerous ways. The safest way to get rid of ashes is to make sure they are properly cooled and then placed in a fireproof container with a lid. The best practice is to keep this container away from anything flammable including wood or linen and at a distance of at least 10 feet from your home or other buildings.

Mind your Fire

Never leave a fire unattended. It may seem that fire escaping from the firebox is unlikely, however, it is completely possible for things next to a fireplace to overheat and catch on fire. Remember, It only takes one ember to start an uncontrollable fire, before turning in for the night or leaving the house, make sure the fire is COMPLETELY out and the damper is closed to prevent outside air from coming in and rekindling the fire.

Be Prepared with The Right Safety Equipment.

If you own a fireplace there are 3 pieces of safety equipment that are a must.

  • Fire Extinguisher – ideally every home should have a fire extinguisher that is effective against all kinds of fires; including wood, paper, burning liquids, and electrical fires. Fire extinguishers today are easy to use and some are available for under $50
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector – many people forget that carbon monoxide can be a danger with fireplaces. Carbon Monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause serious illness and even death when inhaled.
  • Smoke Alarm – This goes without saying but smoke alarms are imperative. They can alert you to dangers while you sleep or if you have stepped out of the room for longer than expected. If you do not have a smoke alarm, get one and if you do have them, be sure and test them as often as every month.

Don’t let the warm glow of a fire lull you to sleep without taking the necessary precautions that will ensure your family’s safety. Our chimney sweeps are CSIA certified and ready to assist you with any issues you may have.

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What You Need to do in Preparation for a Chimney Sweep

A fireplace takes the chill from the cold during winter. However, the age, weather, and combustion by-products like creosote impacts the chimney’s performance and create a safety hazard. Therefore, it is important to schedule with chimney cleaning services for a professional touch. This is to make sure that your heating appliances operate safely and efficiently. While the chimney sweepers will do the majority of the work.

Here are the things you need to do in order to make sure that you are prepared when they come to your house.

Keep Your Pets Away

You might have a pet who wants to be around you all the time, or you might have a pet who thinks that it is their job to protect you from intruders. In that case, dogs must be kept away from when the chimney sweeper works on your chimney. You should enclose the pets in a different room or yard to prevent any trouble from happening. In addition, you want your pets to be safe when they come.

Make Sure that The Fireplace is Not Hot

The fireplace must be cool to the touch so the chimney sweeper can do their job properly. You must not avoid the fireplace or stove between 24 to 48 hours before your appointment to give it enough time for the interior masonry to cool down. You can remove leftover ashes coming from the fireplace that you need to recycle in your garden. Otherwise, the cleaners will get rid of their ashes.

Clear the Firebox and Mantle

In order to prepare for the inspection, you would want to get rid of any decorations or items that come from the mantle, when your cleaner accidentally knocks them over during inspection. If there are logs or ashes left in the firebox, these can be removed once you allow all of them to cool down. You must only directly touch the fireplace if you have already given it enough time to cool down.

Remove Objects Such as Furniture or Toys That Block the Fireplace Access

The chimney sweep brings in professional equipment, supplies, tools, and supplies to scrub and clean your chimney and fireplace thoroughly. The technician will need clear access to your fireplace. This is a great time to make sure there aren’t any toys, furniture, or other objects that block the fireplace. In addition, the chimney inspector is going to put a drop cloth as protection for the firebox while cleaning. You might want to cover any furnishings nearby in case of any soot or dust particles floating in the air from the cleaning.

Open a Path from the Driveway to the Fireplace

The chimney sweep brings you different equipment in your home, so you need to make sure there is a clear path from the driveway, going to the front door, and through the home to your fireplace. A little rearranging of furniture, odds, and ends, and toys will make the trip safer and easier in the area where there is work to be done.

Be Prepared with Your Questions

If you have questions about the chimney or fireplace, you have noticed something off, you should make a note and ask them. The certified chimney sweepers are knowledgeable enough to answer all your questions.

if you need chimney sweep Ellicott City because it is time to hire their services, do not hesitate.  


The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Winter Chimney Risks

For many of us, having a fireplace is part of owning a home.  Some look forward to winter to use it regularly.  Chimneys give us a welcoming environment even though wind and snow are blowing outside. Chimneys need maintenance, like many parts of a home; this is especially true in winter.  If a homeowner hasn’t had a chimney cleaning or inspection in a while, there could be multiple problems.

Some problems can emerge with your chimney when the weather gets cold.

chimney moisture damage, south windsor ctThe freeze and thaw effect.

The weather has a tremendous effect on the brick-and-mortar work in your chimney.  If rain falls and coats your chimney with water, that water makes its way into the porous areas of the chimney.  If the temperature drops below freezing, that water will turn to ice.  As the water turns to ice, it expands the small crevasses in both the brick and mortar.  When that ice thaws, it leaves cracks larger than before the freeze.  Imagine that happening several times during the winter.  If this process is left to its own devices, it’s only a matter of time before your chimney starts to crumble.

Obstructions in your chimney.

Although chimney blockages can happen any time of year, it is especially true in the winter.  If the chimney cap is not functioning correctly, this is an open invitation for animals seeking shelter from the cold.  It isn’t just the animals themselves; it is all the organic material they bring in or leave.  Birds, squirrels, and the occasional raccoon will not just block the chimney; they will leave droppings that are difficult and expensive to remove.

chimney flashing repair, simsbury ctLeaks, mildew, and mold

If you see water intrusion in the chimney brickwork, its next stop will be your roof or ceilings in your house.  If you see yellow or light brown stains surrounding the chimney, most likely, the damage has already been done.  This all comes because of the freezing and thawing effect.  There is a good chance mildew is already growing not just in the chimney but on your ceiling and in the walls surrounding it.  Mildew is bad, but mold, especially black mold, can be dangerous. Leaking water can do more than spread mold; it can rust metal parts of the chimney making it difficult to operate.

Making repairs to your chimney is not a do-it-yourself project.  It is time to call in the pros at Northeastern Chimney, LLC.  Our company has been in the business of cleaning, inspecting, and repairing chimneys for nearly 40 years.

All technicians have continuous training throughout the year.  We require all our techs to be up to date on the latest equipment and techniques for the best customer service.

Our techs have a trained eye to spot any problems concerning your chimney, both inside your home and out.  Our staff is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.  Our company is active in working with the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC is proud to service the West Hartford area.  If there is a problem with your chimney, call us.  Chimneys are all we do.


Northeastern Chimney, LLC

37 Cody Street

 West Hartford, Connecticut 06110

 Phone: 860-233-5770


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How to Safely Operate a Gas Fireplace

new gas fireplaces, canton ctOnce the decision is made to install a gas fireplace into a home, the man of the house breathes a sigh of relief. He is no longer lugging in wood, no more splinters, ashes, cleanup, or all the other menacing chores that accompany a wood-burning fireplace.

However, some precautions still need addressing before a gas fireplace can be used.  Adhering to these few safeguards will make a gas fireplace reliable as well as enjoyable.

Get Your Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected

First things first.  Have a certified chimney company clean and inspect your chimney.  If there is debris in your chimney, it could catch fire.  If enough creosote is present, that too could ignite.

Purchase a Gas Fireplace with All Necessary Sensors

When shopping for a gas fireplace, make sure an oxygen-depletion sensor is installed with it.

The oxygen-depletion sensor causes the gas to shut off if the fireplace gets too cold or a carbon monoxide build-up.  Also, install a carbon monoxide sensor on every floor of the home.  Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas that is odorless and invisible.  Although instances are rare, the gas has killed families of homes without a sensor.

This Isn’t a Do-It-Yourself Project

Working with propane tanks and gas lines is dangerous.  To ensure the family’s safety, start by hiring a licensed gas fireplace installer.

Follow All Local Building Codes

Make sure your new fireplace will be up to local building codes.

Insist your contractor apply for and obtain a building permit for your gas fireplace.  There will be an inspection and another set of eyes on the work your contractor has completed.

Keep Little Hands Away From The Glass

The glass of a gas fireplace gets very hot.  Teach everyone in your home not to touch the glass to prevent burns.

Comply With The 3′ Rule

Make sure all furniture, rugs, toys, etc., are kept three feet from the glass of your gas fireplace. This time of year, especially, as the Christmas decorations are brought out.

cleaning gas fireplace logs, bloomfield ctGet The Gas Fireplace Logs Cleaned

It is recommended that the fireplace logs be cleaned annually.  A gas fireplace retailer can do this.  The technician will clean the logs and make them look their best.  Other functions will be checked, such as the fan and air circulation passages, checking the sensor batteries, ensuring all vents are unobstructed, and cleaning the glass.

Pay Attention

If the flames in your gas fireplace change or there is a funny smell, call your fireplace service professional.  If gas can be smelled, grab the phone, leave the house, and call 911.

No Shortcuts

It is always exciting for homeowners to get something new in their house.  Don’t take shortcuts when installing a new gas fireplace.  When the fireplace is safely installed, sit back, and relax and enjoy the ambiance.

Call Northeastern Chimney

Northeastern Chimney, LLC is your full-service fireplace and chimney company.   Our nearly four decades of service have taught us that satisfied customers are customers for life.  Many of our clients have been with us since we opened our doors.

Our company provides continuing education for our technicians.   Training on new techniques and new equipment are offered regularly to our staff.  Chimneys are at the mercy of the weather, age, and various other conditions.  Our technicians are trained in every aspect of cleaning, repair, and rebuilding.

If a chimney needs care, we will be there.


Northeastern Chimney, LLC

37 Cody Street

 West Hartford, Connecticut 06110

 Phone: 860-233-5770

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Can I Prevent Creosote Buildup?

The chemical reaction that creates combustion when burning solid and liquid fuels produces several natural by-products, including creosote. Although we typically associate creosote build-up with wood-burning fireplaces, even gas fireplaces have some creosote.

creosote found in a chimney, prairie village ksCreosote is of particular concern because it hardens into a dark, tarry, and highly flammable substance that is very difficult to remove without regular chimney sweeping. In addition, the intense fireplace heat or a burning ember can spark a chimney fire that can damage the flue liner and quickly spread throughout the house resulting in significant property damage and injuries. According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics, most residential structure fires are due to creosote build-up in the chimney.

How to Prevent Creosote Build-Up

Although you can’t eliminate creosote entirely when using the fireplace, there are several steps you can take to minimize creosote build-up.

Burn Seasoned Wood

Avoid burning fresh or green wood in the fireplace. The high moisture content in green woods produces smokier fires with more creosote. Instead, only burn hardwoods that have been seasoned or dried for six to twelve months. The lower moisture will make a cleaner, hotter, and longer-lasting fire with a lot less creosote. Some example hardwoods include ash, beech, birch, maple, and oak.

Watch For Airflow Restrictions

The chimney needs to draw sufficient draft to start and maintain a fire in the fireplace. However, small animals, leaves, twigs, and creosote buildup can cause a flue obstruction that restricts the airflow, impeding the performance of your fire. The incomplete combustion also produces smokier fires with more creosote. When flue obstructions are severe, a dangerous backdraft can occur that pushes smoke, creosote, and other debris out of the fireplace.

Warm the Flue Before Lighting the Fireplace

You can also help minimize creosote by warming the flue before lighting the fireplace. When the flue is cold, insufficient draft in the chimney can make it challenging to start and maintain a proper fire, thus producing more smoke and creosote. You can easily warm the flue by lighting a piece of cardboard or rolled newspaper and holding it under the flue until the draft reverses and goes up the flue.

chimney cleaning, leawood ksSchedule an Annual Chimney Inspection & Cleaning

Annual chimney inspections and cleanings are essential to preventing creosote build-up and ensuring your fireplace is safe to operate. When creosote accumulates in the chimney, it can cover the flue liner, smoke shelf, damper, and other critical components in a tarry, charcoal-like substance. You may also notice a distinct asphalt-like odor coming from the fireplace. During an annual inspection, a certified chimney technician will visually examine the entire chimney system, including vents and attached heating appliances for creosote buildup, flue obstructions, leaks, masonry damage, and other issues that can affect the safety and performance of your fireplace. When the chimney technician determines cleaning is necessary, it can often be accomplished during the same visit.

Signs of Creosote Buildup

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), an accumulation of 1/8” or more of creosote is hazardous and should be removed. Some of the signs of creosote buildup include:

  • Black soot around the fireplace
  • Insufficient draft
  • Poorly burning or smokey fires
  • Wood logs are not burning completely
  • Dark tar-like deposits on the damper

If you notice any of the above signs of creosote buildup, contact Fluesbrothers to schedule an appointment with a certified chimney technician in Lee’s Summit, Overland Park, and throughout the Kansas City KS/MO region.

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Can I Prevent Chimney Creosote Build Up?

creosote buildup in pipe, bristol ctThere isn’t any way to prevent creosote build up on the inside of your chimney.  Several feeble attempts were made to discover a process to inhibit build-up; sadly, none were successful.  We have found cleaning and inspection were the only way to make a chimney clean and safe.

DIY “Remedies” Homeowners Have Tried

To prevent anyone from repeating those mistakes, here are some ‘remedies’ some have tried.

  • Soot spray
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning Logs
  • Burning aluminum cans
  • Burning potato peelings

The only technique having any positive results is, believe it or not, burning potato peelings.  Starting with uncooked potato peelings, you need to put the peelings directly on burning logs.  The chemical reaction provided by the peelings softens the creosote; regrettably, it does nothing to rid a chimney of it.  When all is said and done, nothing can replace an annual chimney cleaning and inspection.

Slow Down Creosote Build-Up

There are other ways to cut down on creosote. A frequently used chimney will have creosote regardless of what the homeowner does.  Burning season wood is an excellent start to a cleaner chimney.  Using ‘seasoned wood’ causes the flames to burn hotter and with less moisture.  Seasoning firewood doesn’t mean adding paprika and garlic; it means letting the wood dry, sometimes for a year or more before burning it.  Identifying the difference between the two can be tricky.

Using seasoned wood will slow the progression of creosote. Seasoned wood has the bark separating from the wood itself.  The seasoned wood will be darker in color. Some seasoned wood will take on a gray cast and will weigh less than greenwood.  When stacking the wood, seasoned wood will sound hollow when stacking.

Greenwood or unseasoned wood will have a slightly green cast to it.  Greenwood will be heavier than seasoned wood because of its moisture content.  Greenwood will also produce more smoke and more popping and crackling.  Since green wood will give off smoke, it is the smoke that carries the creosote up and on the walls of your chimney.

If you and your family are interested in finding the amount of moisture in your firewood, there are moisture meters.  An ideal moisture level in wood is around 15%.

video inspection of chimney flue, rocky hill ctChimney Creosote Can’t Be Fully Prevented

Back to our original question, Can I prevent creosote build-up?  The answer is No.  You can slow the build-up but, there is no magic formula.  The only fail-safe process is to have your chimney inspected annually, along with a chimney cleaning.  Not only will you have a clean chimney, but you will also have peace of mind that your chimney is safe to enjoy.


Call Northeastern Chimney, LLC

Northeastern Chimney, LLC has been servicing chimneys in the Central Connecticut area for 35 years.  Our staff is committed to keeping the West Hartford area safe by preventing chimney fires.  Our chimney technicians are customer-focused and results-driven to make sure your chimney is as safe as possible.  We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  An organization committed to training with the latest equipment and services related to every chimney.

Our technicians arrive on time in clean crisp uniforms.  They strive to give all information to the homeowner so decisions can be made about the chimney.  The best part is they always clean up and try to leave the premises cleaner than when they came.

We look forward to serving you.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC

37 Cody Street

 West Hartford, Connecticut 06110

 Phone: 860-233-5770

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